We went to the Shwedagon Pagoda one night in Yangon. It was the most ridiculous 2 hours of our trip thus far. These monks came up to us and talk to us forever. We weren't sure what the rules were exactly, as we both thought different things from past experiences. We felt super uncomfortable because they kept joking and sort of flirting. haha. They were giggly and we could not control our giggling. We finally got out of the situation and then they came and found us as we were trying to take one last picture. They asked for my email and have emailed me twice so far. One of them said we should meet again, but where we would go, I would have to pay because monks cannot. WHAT?? It was way strange. Either way, they were funny and our experience was definitely unforgettable.
Here is that last picture we tried to take. This is what happens when you trust someone else to take a picture. They cut out the only thing you want in it. They Shwedagon is incredible, but you will not get to see it because the man cut it off!
This is what Bagan looks like! I seriously couldn't believe I could be in someplace like this. Climbing through ancient temples with flashlights. The sunsets and sunrises were to die for.
This is at the top of Mt. Popa, an old volcano outside of Bagan. We are with some French friends we met. I love them- they were so interesting and fun. We spent a couple days with both of them. I'm pretty sure I'll be taking a trip to France just so I can visit the incredible places they live! This trip also brought my first encounter with monkeys. terrifying. We are walking up the 750 stairs to the top surrounded by monkeys. One mommy monkey was holding her dead skeleton baby and almost attacked me as if I killed the baby. I swear I did not- but, she did not believe me. The burmese ladies had to run over and move it away with their brooms. I attached myself to one of them for awhile after. Now I have no good feelings towards monkeys, which is just too sad.
This is some kid who decided to be our tour guide through one of the temples. We kept trying to ditch him so we didn't have to pay him money, but he would not leave. He was great though. At the end, he pulls out about 20 different bills- from ALL over the world: Trinidad and Tobago and Uzbekistan to name a couple. We gave him a crisp one dollar bill to add to the collection.
Here is Ubein Bridge. It is the longest stilt bridge in the world I believe. AND, I was terrified walking across the whole one hour it took. There is rotted wood and holes in the wood. Yet, there are tons of locals who seem to care less that the thing looks like it is going to fall down any second.
The three men here are called the 'Moustache Brothers.' Look them up. Seriously. They perform this comedy routine inside their house every night but Sunday. Before one of their performances at Aung San Suu Kyi's house, they drew straws to decide which brother would say the joke about the govt at the show. Par par Lay drew the straw and made the joke and 2 days later was in jail for 7 years. After the movie 'About a Boy' came out (where they mention his name), he was released. They are so proud of their fame and continue to have this show, only in English since they are banned from speaking Burmese in their shows. They continue to talk and inform anyone who comes about the govt. They are great examples of continuing to do something they believe to be so important. They said the govt. would just put them all in jail so they would stop doing the show, but tourists and Americans will get too mad, so they don't.
This is a fisherman on Inle Lake. It is a sight of rare beauty. Seriously though. We rode a boat out and saw hundreds of houses, all on stilts. Temples in the middle of the lake, floating GARDENS, beautiful weather, jumping cats, houses on stilts and mud piles, etc.
We had a random day with nothing planned so we walked (which we do very often). We kept walking and ended up in this village way on the outskirts of the small town we were staying in. We walked up to this little monastery where all these boy monks were working. One of them came up to us and motioned for us to take pictures and then just took us on this random walk through the hill, into a creeeeepy cave, to a reclining buddha, and then next to a cave where he picks up some snake skin. I pretended to go into the cave and that monk was not having it.
We got a chance to do a short internship with CARE Intl. We got permission to go into the Delta region where cyclone Nargis hit really hard. One of the towns had 40,000 before the cyclone- after 5,000. It was quite overwhelming to hear their stories. We got to go into villages and ask questions, visit with the people, see the work CARE did. I learned sooo much- it is really quite fulfilling to learn so much after college is over! We spent the night in CARE housing on a mat on the floor. One of the days we had to take a 2 hour boat ride just to get to the village! The picture above is of our CARE supervisor of sorts- He was super awesome and loved to talk. As we were driving on the most horrible roads I've ever experienced in my life in one of the remotest areas in the world, I hear the Star Wars theme song. I start laughing and trying to figure out where it is coming from. And then he pulls out this gigantic office phone from his backpack. It had a huge atenna and he just talks on it like it was no big deal. Kami and I were dying in the backseat. It probably doesn't sound very funny but I promise it was!
Here is one of the groups of women. They have a commitee where they try and continue to improve their community. They told us it would be another ten years before their community was anywhere near like it was before.
Here is the crew. CARE put in latrines throughout many villages and gave pigs and ducks to women headed households. (you can zoom in and see one of those pigs!).
Myanmar was a dream trip. It exceeded all all of my expectations and more. I've made dear friends for life and will never forget the things I saw there.