Archive | June, 2012

Mission of Burma

28 Jun

Sunset over the temples of Bagan

It’s been a while (OK, over a month) since my last post, I know — I always mean to blog on the road, but I’ve yet to make that intention a reality. Anyway, I’ve got a great excuse for not blogging during my recent jaunt to Myanmar (née Burma), a nation that truly feels like a bit of a timeslip. Imagine a week with no mobile phones (locals usually have them, but it’s not nearly so widespread as in the rest of the world), no ATMs, no Katy Perry, and internet connections that run at modem speeds, if you’re lucky to get any.

I think most SOK readers are familiar with Myanmar/Burma’s troubled history, starting with the fraught issue of what to call the country. Suffice to say that it’s been ruled for many decades by the iron fist of a military junta who have done their best to plunder the nation’s vast resources, both natural and human. In the past year, however, there have been signs of reform, most notably with the release of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who seems confident enough of the changes to travel to Europe, something she hasn’t done in over twenty years (much of which she spent under house arrest, anyway). So it seemed like an ideal time to visit: before the country is overrun by tourists seeking the “real Asia” but after it’s been opened enough that I don’t feel too guilty. As you can see, it’s a beautiful country, so I’m glad we got a chance to visit.

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