Travel Perspectives – Bagan, Myanmar

Nietzsche said that there are no facts, only interpretations.

That is the sentiment Bagan reminds me of.  Visits to the ancient ruins of Bagan year after year make me realize how I have palpably changed.

Bagan is heralded as the epitome of the Burman national superiority in Myanmar.  The military draws its inspiration from Bagan heroes, proudly placing their statues as a backdrop in official ceremonies.  When I was a young kid, I was told that there was nothing quite like Bagan anywhere else in the world.  I was told that Angkor Wat was great, but it was just one temple.  Bagan is all other civilizations combined and on steroids.

Then we travel to places and read books outside of classrooms only to find out that my childhood teachings have been a lie. Continue reading

Meet Ko Nyan Lin Aung & Co. – A Family of Pathein Umbrella Makers

When you hit Pathein on your way to Ngwe Saung or Chaungtha beaches, make a slight detour to this umbrella maker to score the best deals and support a traditional handicraft maker directly.

This neighborhood of four or five umbrella-making households send their finished products to as far away as Bagan tourist markets, where a medium-sized umbrella will fetch a good $20, when you can get it at the source for a quarter of the price.  Make sure you bring extra cash.  Even better, call ahead, so Ko Nyan Lin Aung’s family could paint that extra layer of coating on their umbrellas before you arrive.

Aww… he won’t look at our camera. Photo Credit: May Thway

Craftswomanship at her best…

At family house turned umbrella workshop

Photo Credit: May Thway

Cell Phone: +959-422444601

Directions: Go along Mahabandoola Road after a roundabout. Take a right turn at the lane where a statue of senior citizens sits. There is a group of four or five umbrella making households at the end of the lane.

Happy shopping!

Exquisite Corpse, but Interfaith

Exquisite Corpse is a game that writers and poets sometimes play to gain inspiration. On my weekend Interfaith backpacking trip to South Mountains State Park, my nine lady friends and I sketched around some words by the bonfire before bed. The photo credit goes to Miss Jessie B. Enjoy.

It is the dearth of inspiration that causes loneliness.
Yet inspiration is all around me – if only I could access it.
I search into the sky; down into my heart
Both hold great treasures
One the treasure of becoming an amoeba
The other the treasure of friends.
I cried when you left like smoke in a closed room.
Haven’t been this alone, or this FREE, in a long while
And a bag of apples; the giant, fresh,
Organic and locally grown kind.
Apples make the world go around;
Newton proved it.