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Video Myanmar Monks say Grace

Apr 8, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Myanmar-Burma, Videos  //  1 Comment


Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok

Apr 8, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, February, Thailand  //  Comments Off

If you’ve been to Bangkok, you’ve see Wat Phra Kaew. What follows are a few unusual sites:

The monk on the right asks to be photographed with us. Sure we say. His escort then pulls out an i-pad for the photo.It’s not that an apple is a new requirement for frugal living. Many monks are supported by patrons and family.



































The man on the stairs is repairing intricate mosaics.







Luang Prabang, Laos

Apr 8, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Laos  //  Comments Off


more photos below

Please scroll down



















Laos style mascara








LP International Airport. Fourteen flights total today.








A side building of the old palace








Colonial Architecture of Luang Prabang. This is the three Nagas.









Soup again. I like this system.








Avia going through a movement routine we developed








Luang Prabang International Airport. I love these small airports. The baggage handlers literally walk the bags alongside you to the terminal.










Apr 8, 2013   //   by Eva   //   Blog, Myanmar-Burma  //  Comments Off

Yangon is a city of contrasts on the move. It has in one vision modern concrete and glass buildings and at street level typewriters ready to produce documents for the illiterate. Notaries sit roadside among fortunetellers and bird sellers. A mix of ethnicities is everywhere. Old buses, their instruments out of order drive alongside modern air-conditioned tourist buses. Negotiation is a way of life. Honesty and Buddhist symbols are prevalent. The Shwedagon Pagoda, a place of pilgrimage, towers over the city. We visited it twice. Amazingly, no soldiers or policemen are evident. We saw no guns. People tell us that the secret police are all around. We couldn’t tell. (In Russia of old it was much more obvious. A shaven haired stern looking man in an overcoat would stare at you.) Perhaps in Yangon we were watched. We think not. This is a place on the move.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

To prevent people from touching her, Avia visits the market in disguise. At this market, stalls were the street but the fish was so fresh it was moving.

Contemporary fashion. $2 per shirt. Get shopping!

In the bus. No chickens but no space either. The floor is wooden.

In the bus. Check out those instruments.

Shwedagon’s Stupa is typical. Buddhist symbols are used. Begging bowl at the bottom, bell, rings, lotus flower, teardrop (pineapple or banana bud), umbrella, jewel















































Avia with a friend who was visiting from Thailand.





































If you were born on Tuesday then on Tuesdays you get the honor of cleaning the floor.




















More birthday cleaners








Worshipers believe that the spirit of Buddha actually lives in the statue. This is the idol worship we learnt of in our youth.









Little pagodas surround the main stupa.








At night the Pagoda takes on a new persona.






































A stroll around the Monastery. He’s practicing his English. We’re learning about life in a monastery.















Nuns wear pink robes and shave their heads. Novice nuns and monks enter the Monastery between the ages of 7 and 18 to learn Buddhism. It’s part of everybody’s life.












Here’s a 65 meter reclining Buddha. On his feet are carved symbols of his life and the story of his birth. Theravada’s Buddha is thin and sometimes feminine. The fat Buddha is in fact not a representation of Siddhartha Buddha but of a Chinese monk who claimed upon death to be a Buddha.

Reclining Buddha’s face


The legend says that when Siddharta was born, he was born with many signs on his feet ( in the photo). His father called all the fortune tellers of the Kingdom to ask them for the meaning. All the fortune tellers said it means that he would one day become the Emperor of the universe or the Buddha. The youngest fortune teller said that one of the signs on his feet was the sign of the Emperor and therefore he must become the Buddha.




Road from Mandalay to Hsipaw, Myanmar

Mar 31, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Myanmar-Burma  //  2 Comments

Mandalay is a dusty town with impressive temples. Going east into Shan (Thai) country …

click on a picture to enlarge it

Side Street, Mandalay









Gold is pounded into thin leaf then sold to Buddhists to add to Buddah statues in local temples. It’s an act considered meritorious.









Workshops 1: Wood Carving












Workshops 2: Saygin White Marble Sculpture








Not shown: puppet workshop, material mosaic workshop


Psychedelic Buddah












Temple Golden Ceiling








Initiation Ceremony. Boys aged 7 and up are initiated into Monastery life as Novice Monks. There they live like monks up at 4am, eating only until 12pm, learning to pray, meditate and repeat Buddhist mantra and suryas. The initiation ceremony is like a Bar Mitzvah. They dress up, visit the Temple, tell the head monk that they are ready and celebrate with family and friends.











Novice Monk Ceremony 2: note the Buddhist symbols like the umbrella.














Road making by hand








More road making by hand. Preparing the tar.














Gardens at Pyin-OO-Lwin








I don’t think its called Veneration.








Cheese sales on the road side








The Rice Pancake Factory









HSIPAW an interesting outlying town on the way to China

Madahya Monastery at the entrance to Hsipaw








More of the Madhaya Monestary








Hsipaw mandarin seller. Cart, straw, mat, mandarins
















Hsipaw. Still using the old wooden wheeled cart and bulls with the ring through their noses.









Hsipaw. Smart chess players even in the remotest place
















Hsipaw’s local market








Hsipaw’s rice merchants. Each box a different rice type.

























Inle Lake, Myanmar (one month ago)

Mar 31, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Myanmar-Burma  //  1 Comment

Photo essay.


Floating Island, Vegetable cultivation. Farmers use boats to tend to their crops which grow on floating islands made of Lake debris. Usually one wouldn’t stand on the island. It sinks.

Sinking onto the floating island

This home cost $100 to build

But the house needs wood for cooking fire bought from this market.
As in North America, people try not to burn their house down.

Making a Living 1: Rice Noodles drying

Making a Living 2: Rice Wine factory 40 and 80 proof. I think that these guys do well.

Making a Living 3: the silversmith. He’s copying the drawing onto the container.

Making a Living 4: Bringing the market to you.

Making a Living 5: Cloth made from Lotus stems. Sacred Cloth. Everyone should aspire to own one.


Avia apprentices in Lotus cloth making.










































Making a Living 6: Blacksmith “all together now” see video.








Making a Living 7: Fashion photography








Making a Living 8: Hotel (Hospitality)








Making a Living 9: Flower impregnated paper and parasols








Making a Living 10: Massage














Making a Living 11: Two robes, a towel and alms













Making a Living 12: Italian Restaurant








Making a Living 13: Tourism. Hat Model.













Making a Living 13: Rice Paper Home Factory








Hospitality from Rice Paper Making Family. People are especially hospitable and friendly.









There’s got to be a temple or a stupa somewhere








Temple Mural.








David sees Africa wherever we go








Back to the Airport. All our bags. And some of our journeyers.
































Myanmar’s Rosetta Stone

Mar 31, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Myanmar-Burma  //  Comments Off

In Bagan, Myanmar there lives a stone. Captured in 1112 and now in jail for a thousand years, it tells of … it doesn’t matter… the point is that it has four sides each written in a different language: Mon, Pali, Old Burmese and Pyu. And as a result of this linguists were given insight into these ancient languages. This  Myazedi inscription can be seen near the Myazedi stupa, in it’s own cell.

People come from far and near to be photographed with foreigners next to the inscription.

Cambodian Village Soccer

Mar 30, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, Cambodia, Videos  //  1 Comment

When David was a boy he’d get to school early for a game of pre-class soccer and then stay late for a game of post class soccer. Here’s an unedited video snippet of how the game is played in a Cambodian village.


Angkor Wat and Pa Trom (two month ago)

Mar 30, 2013   //   by Eva   //   Blog, Cambodia  //  Comments Off

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a Hindu Temple to Vishnu (the Protector God) so it is built to resemble Mount Meru the holiest place in Hinduism, hence the three peaks. As the Khmer king is god on earth it is a fitting place for him to live.

It is not easy to enter Angkor Wat. You need to travel from Earth to heaven. You need to cross the primordial waters and arrive at the inner courtyard from where you ascent to heaven.During your ascent you see murals which tell famous Hindu tales and on your leaving you see murals which tell of the warrior prowess of the Khmer king.

Here in pictures, “To Heaven and Back”



Bagan, Myanmar – must see (one month ago)

Mar 30, 2013   //   by Eva   //   Blog, Myanmar-Burma  //  Comments Off

Bagan is one of the world’s gems.

Bagan is situated on a red earth, scrubby, plain. Over the course of 250 years (from 1044 to 1287), Bagan’s rulers and their wealthy residents showed it off by building over 10,000 religious monuments in an area of 104 square kilometres (40 sq mi).  (about 1000 stupas (towers containing Buddhist relics also called pagodas). Today, about 4,000 remain.

In twenty years Bagan will be a must visit place on any itinerary to Asia. Today it is a place of sand roads, run down hotels and home based restaurants.

It cost $3 to rent a bike for a day which coming after Vietnam’s $1 per day felt like a rip-off. Nevertheless, feeling strong-armed, we took the bikes out.










Following are a few views from Shwe-san-daw Paya

Shwesandaw Paya








Everyone wanted Daniela in their photo








Peaceful place








View from our hotel








More views








More views












Stopped by the cows








On we went























Heading for the village. Man against beast.










Villages have no running water and no sewage. This village has a well sponsored by the Japanese government which pumps water into a trough every day at 5pm. All the village children then carry water in very heavy buckets to their homes.