Friday, October 13, 2006

#54 Auspiciousness to you

Mingalar bar!

That’s how we say hello in Myanmar. Literally, it means “auspiciousness to you.”  In each port, we learn how to say hello and thank you. Then we continue to use our new language skills until we replace it with another new language.

Myanmar is a poor country. That hits us hard as we step off this gated community we call a ship.
2039 Oxcart

But Myanmar is rich in pagodas. Known as the Golden Land, Myanmar has countless religious monuments/pagodas/shrines/temples/stupas, due to a series of devout Myanmar kings and their citizens.
2100 Bagan Pano

We spend our time in Yangon, Mandalay, and Maymyo with a surprise trip to Bagan. Yangon is our port city, flat, hot and humid on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. We fly to Mandalay, the former capital - flat, hot and humid on the banks of the Irrawaddy River upstream. From there, we drive 2 hours to Maymyo, the old British hill station, elevation 4000 feet, mountainous cool and comfortable with deep green forests, and surrounding fields of strawberries and chrysanthemums. We find it easy to like Maymyo.

Our surprise came when high water blocked our return to the Mandalay airport.
2004 Mandalay flooding

So we revert to the old reliable Irrawaddy River, now in flood stage, and a sleek passenger boat to whisk us 6 hours downriver to Bagan, where we catch the first flight out the next morning and arrive back at the MV Explorer just an hour before on-ship time. (For more on Myanmar experiences, don't forget to check out Erika's blog.)

Yours in not missing the boat,

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