Part 1: What is Burma Like?

 

Six years ago, I had never heard of Burma. It wasn’t until a friend told me she was part Burmese that my world opened. She spoke of the country with such adoration and longing that I began to long for it. When I arrived in Asia, the first thing I did was apply for a Burma visa. I knew I had to go.

What is Burma/Myanmar like in 2014?

It is a poor country. The people, government officials excluded, have the necessities but not much more. Many have less. Yet, when you see the poverty, you don’t see the despair. Yes, you see it in their living conditions but you don’t see it in them. They don’t become their condition. There is a strength, an acceptance, a completeness about the Burmese people.

bathwater

Burmese children love foreigners. When locals alert each other of your presence (very common), the kids run outside or to the window screaming “hello” and “bye”. I’ve never been greeted with such raw enthusiasm. And smiles!

girlsmiling

Celebrations are a big deal. Thanaka is strategically applied and only the best longyis are worn. The longyi is standard dress for the Burmese. Yes, it’s a “skirt” but it’s gender neutral. The men wear longyis, too.

ceremony

Burmese people are extremely resourceful. You’d be shocked at what can be carried on a motorbike. On two occasions, I saw a motorbike carrying a motorbike. No lie. Check out this guy coming from the market. There is not an unused space on his bike! And, he is rocking the everyday, I’m running errands, longyi.

skirtandbike

All of the men are muscular, even the monks. I saw so many ripped monks, it was overwhelming. Yeah, I feel guilty for the ogling but good lawd!

buffmonks

Burma is an attraction without trying to be. You will see things you’ve never seen. And, you will never forget.

pagodaview

What do you think? Have you been to a place that felt special? Where?

Next week, I’ll share more from my Burma adventures – including a wedding!

[Burma is officially recognized by the U.N as Myanmar. But the Burmese people I met still refer to it as Burma. So I use both names.]

16 Comments

  • Angel

    @Lauren. Hey, girl, hey. Your taste buds will be fine when you hop over here. I have no food porn. I take awful food pictures. I miss your glamorous swag!

  • Angel

    @FVR. Every time I look at her pic it makes me smile. Yes, I’ve been warned about Vietnam. They told me the motorbike situation is unlike ANYWHERE in Asia. I will find out for myself very soon…
    I miss all of you but I feel your love!

  • Angel

    @Ween. Yes, I have a ton of amazing pictures. I should probably start a insta account. :/ Honestly, Burma is such a magical place.

  • FVR

    That kid!!! Nothing but cuteness. I won’t comment on the monk … 🙂 On the motorbike, the same thing happens in VN. I bet he loaded up that bike and THEN his whole family got on too! It’s crazy. We miss you so much but are so happy that you’re having such a great adventure!

  • Slomo

    You and lil bit with the purse HAVE to be related somehow. How do you say “trill” in Burmese?

  • Ween

    These pictures are everything. I knew you were hiding some gems over there. Your description of the Burmese is wonderful, such a special place with people that hold characteristics that you don’t hear of this day and age. Also, I cannot handle that loaded up bike! xx.

  • Angel

    @Nomi. You KNOW I bought a longyi. Although, I could never keep it up. It’s not like a traditional skirt. It’s a cloth that you wrap around and secure in a way that apparently only the Burmese know. 🙂 I had many ladies giggle at me and offer to fix it. It’s a wonderful place.

    Yes, little mama was everything.

  • Nomi

    Ah! I just love how you’re living. These pictures. My gosh. I can actually envision you rocking the longyi. Please tell me you got yourself one.

    Side note: The little pumpkin with the black purse…could she be any more precious?!!!