It is a fascinating country with stunning sunsets over breathtaking temples, luscious lake and postcard beaches. Surprising sunrises as we scramble onto a local train to rattle and laugh our way through a 15 hour ride, or sit waiting for our 12 hour ferry to depart enshrined in fog. Magic temples, chaotic markets, agile fishermen, angelic monks, cheeky monkeys stealing water bottles, delicate women bearing fruit…..endless curiosities in a blaze of colour, and lots of feet washing!
Nimble fingers and toes produce exquisite handicrafts. Poverty in our terms abounds, yet locals show with pride their homes, and welcome us to their local festas and schools. Children sing ‘Brother John (Frere Jacques)’ and giggle at our ‘Waltzing Matilda’ response.
The countryside held it’s own surprises, far more beautiful than I had expected – an idyllic lake with floating gardens, a paradise beach of silky bleached sand and palm trees, and golden temples beckon on crazy hilltops.
Our local guide could not have been better, giving an insight into the country of today and entertaining us with his stories. It wasn’t easy for me to play a back seat role as it was my first time on tour as a participant and many a time I caught myself checking on luggage and recounting the group! Words cannot describe it all so I hope my photos will do it justice.
I stick with Aung Sang Suu Kyi calling it Burma instead of its current Myanmar and look forward to election results in 2015. There is even an Italian connection as the name Ngapali (silent ‘g’) is said to have come from the similarity to Napoli beaches….but take it from me, no Naples beach looks anything like this paradise coastline!