Faces of Myanmar
Travel reveals a lot about the world we live in and if there is one thing that I’ve learnt, it’s that no country is perfect. I’m having a hard time reconciling the wonderful time I had in Myanmar with what’s taking place there now. It’s difficult to ignore the atrocities that the Rohingyas are being subjected to and above all, I cannot believe that the place I visited just a week ago is the same as the one where this is happening.
As much as I would prefer to only be reminded of the happy bits about my travels, the Rohingya issue is proof that no country is perfect.
That’s a little painful for me to swallow because the people I encountered were among the friendliest I’d ever met. Here are some photos of the locals I bumped into during the nine amazing days I spent in Myanmar.
These men were waiting for customers near the port on the Yangon River and are wearing a traditional Myanmar sarong called a ‘longyi‘.
I bumped into this adorable little girl at the Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay. She was carrying flowers in her basket, but she immediately put it on her head when she saw my camera.
This incredibly friendly lady started chatting with me at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bagan. She guessed correctly that I was from Malaysia and said her brother was working in Kuala Lumpur. If you’re wondering what’s on her cheeks, that’s thanaka, a kind of paste (extracted from the bark of a tree) which women use as a sunblock and to keep their skin smooth.
I loved this girl’s smile so much I had to take a photo of her. She was selling cloth bags and longyis at a village on Inle Lake.
This man owned a food stall just next to the mosque in Nyaung Shwe, the main town at Inle Lake. His lips are red from the juice of the betel nut, which the locals love to chew on.
I spotted these women at Nam Pan market on Inle Lake, just having a good time and catching up with old friends.
These young nuns were taking a break outside what seemed to be their hostel in Nyaung Shwe. A few others were busy chopping wood, but these two were very happy to be photographed.
This photo was taken at the Golden Rock Pagoda on Mount Kyaikto. This old monk was in a bit of hurry but he somehow slowed down when he walked in front of me.
This young man was lighting candles at Golden Rock Pagoda. This photo was taken shortly after the sun set, which is when prayers appeared to intensify in volume. Mount Kyaikto is 3,615 feet above sea level and it was actually chilly up there that evening.
These children were sitting near the viewing area at the pagoda and were minding their own business until they spotted us and our cameras. The girl was the most enthusiastic of the three- very obvious from the way she was posing- while the boys were a bit more reserved.
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