Personal Impressions

The "Personal Impressions" section is a collection of thoughts and personal experiences.

Flying the Flag

Most dictatorships prohibit flying flags other than the national. In Myanmar, the Myanmar flag is a rare sight. In its place on nearly every boat, bus, and pagoda flies the multi-colored checkered Buddhist flag.

Road Rules

Despite the fact that Myanmar was once an English colony (left side driving) and most vehicles operating today are Japanese discards with steering wheels on the right (also for left side driving), the Burmese drive on the right. We find this absolutely illogical.

Fewer the Tourists, the Friendlier

Many areas in Myanmar rival Syria in friendliness. In Yangon, a man paid our bus fare when we only had large denomination notes. In Kyaiktiyo, a family guided us through the sites. In Inle, villagers offered samples from their factories. Not until Bagan did the people change. Accustomed to large tour groups, the people in Bagan asked, "Where are you from?" as a pretense to "Buy a souvenir! Cheap price! How much you pay?" In Bagan, Wes answered "Where are you from?" with "WhatAreYouSelling." "Where is Wateruseling?"

Man's Worst Invention: the Megaphone

Don't choose accommodation near a large pagoda. At best, prayers will blare for several hours before sunrise. At worst, priests will alternate in shifts to broadcast monologue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Buddhist Burmese, Islamic religion, and Asian politicians should all discontinue their overuse of megaphones to make the world a better place.

Loaded Bus

The Burmese would consider a full bus in North America or Europe to be half empty. Burmese transports are filled to the extreme. Long distance buses are packed with people in the aisle and by the door. Moderate distance pickup trucks squeeze 15 in the truck bed, 15 on the roof, 2 over the cab, and 5 or more hanging off the back. Wherever we traveled, the locals assured us a seat, be it a comfortable chair, hard wooden bench, or on the roof.

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