Active in Myanmar

In our last post we spoke of the wonderful people of Burma that make this country a great destination, but of course we also visited sites and regions that are worth mentioning. It gets very hot here though in February and March, so we instaured a different rythm that consisted of visiting in the morning and afternoon, with a big rest in the middle between 12 and 3 PM to avoid the worst heat. A little bit like the Spanish have their siesta (now we understand why… :-) ).

One of the highlights of this trip was the visit of Inle Lake. We walked from Kalaw to Indein, at the south of Inle Lake, with our local guide Kyi and his friend Mio who taught us about life in Myanmar. Like this we learned that the Burmese have a strong preference for fat and/or sweet food, with the most popular combining both. The favorite local snacks consist of fried beans, palm sugar, sugar cane, honey and peanuts. Mix and fry all this together and you will get the standard Burmese snack. No wonder that a lot of people here develop diabetes when they are 45 years old…

Another definite highlight of our trip was the visit of Bagan: the ancient capital of the first Burmese empire from which all that is left now is a huge plain dotted all over with temples and pagodas. Now, when visiting Myanmar (and South-East Asia in general) you run the risk of developing a syndrome called “temple-overload”. Basically you cannot see another temple, read or think about visiting temple gives you a headache, and taking a picture of them is just too much effort. The phrase “Yeah, whatever, it’s just another temple…” prevails (independent of their beauty, grandeur or historical value). But at Bagan, despite the heat (easily about 40 degrees Celsius sometimes) we just got this new sparkle of motivation that made us going around on our bicycles for 3 days. It’s just enough to look at the fine, subtle details of the temples to realize that they were way, way ahead of us at a time where Paris or Amsterdam were still villages. And sitting on top of a temple, watching the sun go down while its last rays give the hundreds of temples a magical shine, we got just only once more remembered of the fact how lucky we are to be here. :-)

Vera & Jean-Christophe