un huis-clos

i´ve been longing to visit burma since i had seen a big colourful image of the temples of bagan in a german newspaper around 10 years ago. it was one of the most beautiful images i had seen and remembered me to the tv series i used to watch when i was a teenager. called something like king of siam with yul brynner playing the king of siam…..
back then i immediately started to find a way to visit burma but had to realise that it was closed to tourism due to political instability and issues within the country. burma being first under british colonial power it is not anymore since 1948. in the 80s it suffered under its military regime,which hasnt changed much since although the demokrats are on a good way into the countrys future. its history reminds a bit to the former DDR.
while the neighbouring country thailand made use of its strategically perfect position of bangkok at the harbor naming it as the capital and being open for trades with the outside world, burma shut its doors completely and changed yangon as the capital to naypyidaw.burma didnt want to know anything about the world and the world knew little about burma.
this changed completely when 1988 news about burma shocked the world. the people against demonstrating against oppression and mismanagement of the country by the military regime.
this was the chance for the political partie NLD with aung san suu kyi being the leader who got the peace nobel price for her non-violant protest against the military regime.
burma or myanmar how its called nowadays is having a make over these days. while now it is opening more and more to tourism,most parts still remain closed and one need speacial permitt to travel to those regions.
things are changing very fast and the major places of interest seem to be one big construction. tourist facilities popping up like mushrooms, everywhere in order to cater for the big interest of the travelling world to burma.
the majority of the recent tourists here are elderly europeans,mainly french on the vestiges of their indochine past,travelling in big groups on package tours.
the burmese women and men wear longyhis, a big piece of pretty colourful cloth wrapped around their waist. both,men and women love to chew on betel tobacco mix.
the nut is mixed with tobacco and wrapped into a the leaf of the betel nut which smells to dentists…
the streets are all covered in betel spits which look like fresh blood! i had never heard of it before and when i first saw the red spits on the streets i was confused why people spit constantly blood….quickly i realised its because of the betel….there is in every corner a betel stand where,most of the time a man, is rolling the mixture into leaves.you can smell the white paste they use to glue it from far away. as i said,it smells to dentist….freshly prepared when ordered it looks like s.o. is cooking. usually they buy three at a time and its quickly prepared and put in a plastic bag. while one is placed into the cheek.
once i have reliable internet connection again i will post some pictures of it.
right now we are enjoying ourselves and the beautiful burmese people at the picturesque inle lake. about the burmese people with us i will write in another post as it would go way beyond the scope….
it was our dear friend richard who brought burma back into memory when we met him in new zealand and inspired us with his trip 2 years ago.
thanks richie,i am deep in love with burma!!!!!!!!

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