A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about burma

The Village People

Check out another installment of photos from Thaunggok, a tiny village in Western Myanmar and stay tuned for an entry about ending up in a cave with a naga baba aka naked guru.

(Don't worry, I kept my clothes on.)


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http://blog.micahbrubin.com/?p=436|Myanmar 5

Posted by bucketbath 07:12 Archived in Myanmar Tagged market shopping burma hat myanmar vendor wicker thaunggok taunggok Comments (0)

Shopping Fever

Photos from Thaunggok market, a tiny Burmese town with amazingly friendly smiles

Getting stuck in Thaunggok, a tiny town in Western Myanmar turned out to be some of the best days traveling through country.

With no foreigners around but me (and the people not yet jaded by tourism), I had amazing time exploring and meeting the locals.

Getting stranded couldn't have been more fun!

Follow the below link for more photos.


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http://blog.micahbrubin.com/?p=423

Posted by bucketbath 06:18 Archived in Myanmar Tagged market shopping burma hat myanmar vendor wicker thaunggok taunggok Comments (0)

The Faces of Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar's an amazing place where people's inquisitive personalities contrast the governments reclusive tendencies.

Things are changing there fast as the government peels open up the country to the west.

Check out a few photos - the first in a series I'll be adding - from Yangon, Myanmar's former capital and current economic hub.


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Posted by bucketbath 06:43 Archived in Myanmar Tagged burma nut portrait face yangon myanmar rangoon betel Comments (0)

Burmese Sweat

Staying out of trouble while jogging in Yangon, Myanmar

Crumbling buildings, stained with ages of soot and mold, sag under the weight of their colonial past and the present’s dictatorial rule.

The Burmese walk the streets with deathly-pallid faces, painted with a powdered sun block to fend off the scorching sun. Their teeth and lips often stained blood red from chewing betel nut, a mild stimulant.

I arrived in Myanmar’s capital Yangon on Saturday to explore this misunderstood and demonized country, expecting to feel like I’m in the North Korea of SE Asia. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find the people warm, inquisitive and friendly. I cannot walk down a street without receiving a “hi” or smile.

At times it feels like life here is freer than in China since the Burmese government has less resources to truly constrict its people. With that said though, the government continues to subjugate the minority populations and enslave people in forced labor camps.

Everything I read said photography taking photos is risky – you can’t photograph government or military buildings (I wish I could have photographed the baby-faced soldier guarding a hotel armed with a bazooka), any infrastructure (train stations, bridges, etc.) and who knows what else.

Huge swaths of the country remain off limits to foreigners and even parts Yangon (Rangoon of old), the reason I was afraid I’d run into trouble during yesterday’s morning jog.

I stepped onto the betel-spit stained street, busses and taxis belching fumes into the morning’s chilly air. No motorbikes ply Yangon’s bumpy roads since a government ban went into effect a few years ago.

I headed south, then onto Strand Road, full of forlorn buildings, which parallels the murky Yangon River and hidden from view by the port’s towering, chalky white perimeter wall.

Past the bustling ferry jetty with vendors hawking fruit, razors, and vegetables. Crowds of loiterers crouched, drinking tea or eating breakfasts of noodles or rice.

Further down, men and women stood in lines, awaiting admission to the port and begin their workday.

I ran until the port ended and low-slung government buildings crouched behind barbed wire fences.

Nearby a line of parked gasoline tankers, some vehicles from the 60s or 70s with chunky front grills, waited outside a fuel depot.

People crooked their necks, scowled, smiled, laughed, pointed as I ran by. But fear curdled my gut: would I end up where I shouldn’t be?

I always carry a passport photocopy when running just in case of injury – but here in Myanmar it was my insurance card Uncle Sam’s got my back should something bad happen.

I kept running along the river, patches of shadows cooled the blazing sun until a man waved his hand in warning to turn around – up ahead was a barbed wire gate with soldiers patrolling.

I backtracked, ran down a dusty street, past a few police posts, ignoring them (and they ignored me) and found the bridge I’d earlier missed.

You’ve seen Boston or Tampa’s iconic suspension bridges, the ones that look like tipped modernist harps. Yangon has it’s own, the Pazundaung Mahabandoola Bridge, except it’s squatter and painted camouflage green. I bolted across, past 2 military garrisons surrounded by sand bags and barbed wire, over the Pazundaung Canal’s churning current into Dawbon, a suburb of Yangon.

Saffron robed monks walked down the street collecting alms and offering blessings.

I continued on the busy road with pickup trucks full of passengers crammed onto their beds and hanging off the back, to the Thaketa Bridge and back into Yangon. As I ran, I hopped around on the sidewalk, as if playing four square, to avoid the cracks and gaping holes.

The streets were dusty, red earth blew through the air. At times I pulled my shirt over my nose to avoid the grit and scrum of Yangon life. Past the police station, a red-bricked colonial-era building with dark windows and surrounded by two barbed and electrified fences.

Past Sule Paya, a 2000 year golden temple in the middle of a clogged traffic circle whose name means “the stupa where a Sacred Hair Relic is enshrined” and that might house one of Buddha’s hairs.

Past streets buzzing with vendors selling watches, tools. sweets. Past men wearing plaid lungees (a male dress), women in colorful hijabs.

Overhead the colonnaded buildings stood stoically, a silent witness to the travails that have befallen this country: war, oppression, dictatorship, poverty.

Maybe after Hillary Clinton’s visit here last month, things will change and life will improve. Maybe the fear I felt exploring the city’s streets, that the Burmese must feel and at times roils in protest (that the government violently suppresses) will ebb, leaving behind a people, a country, a nation ready for a better future.

Check out the map of the run below (and don’t forget to click satellite view).

Click here!

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And don't forget to pre-book your authentic Thai massage for April!

$30/ 30min, $50/1hr, $75/1.5hrs

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Posted by bucketbath 07:03 Archived in Myanmar Tagged street travel square burma dirt smile asia myanmar running four betel jogging lungeel Comments (6)

Cambodian Hoedown

A video from Angkor Wat

And don't forget to pre-book your authentic Thai massage for April!

$30/ 30min, $50/1hr, $75/1.5hrs

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Posted by bucketbath 06:43 Archived in Cambodia Tagged people trees temple travel ruins cambodia thailand indian new map fun burma angkor ta wat funny roots trip thai myanmar reap pictures siem silly massage bucket moving brochure prong lara croft jones rambo slapstick Comments (4)

New Years Resolution: Magic Hands

Buckets splitting up? A Thai Masseuse? The intrigue continues.

We have gotten so good at bucket bathing that we’ve decided to temporarily split up and cover more ground. That means we are about to have 2 half full buckets for all you optimists out there.

Micah is itching to navigate the tough infrastructure of Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladesh and I’ve found the distraction of a 5-week Thai Massage certification in Chang Mai, Thailand. I can’t pass up the opportunity to advance my holistic knowledge and get a certification directly from the source.

The next leg of our trip is Cambodia. From there, Micah will fly onto Yangon, Burma and I’ll bus it back to Thailand. My course goes from Jan 9-Feb 10. Our buckets will reunite in New Delhi, India around mid February. That’s double the adventures and double the blog posts. Micah will rough n tough it through 2 countries while I study (giving and getting massages) for 5 weeks. This bucket split will allow him to take some amazing photos without me impatiently waiting under the shade of an over sized Buddha and it’ll provide me with the skills to come back to the states and dish out some kickin' souvenirs from Thailand!

I’ll be taking levels 1-5 at the Thai Massage School of Chang Mai. It includes 90 hours of comprehensive study and a 60-hour internship working with special needs children and the senior community. On top of that, I’ll have an additional 2 months to practice on Micah (a tough critic), which means you are sure to be putty in my hands come April.

To help defray some of the cost of the course and living in Chang Mai for a month, I’m preselling massages that I’ll give upon my return in April. Buy ‘em up while I’m selling at Thai prices. As soon as we get back to NYC, I’ll have to switch back into competitive business survival mode!

Buy a few for yourself and while you’re at it, buy a few as gifts! I’ll travel to any of the boroughs in NYC. (Sorry Staten Island and NJ-you don’t count). I’ll be in Meyersdale sometime in April to see family, so PA isn’t left out either. And, (for all you massage newbies out there) Thai massage is done in comfortable clothes, you don’t even have to go through the unsettling experience of getting naked. I’ll meet you at the park, or sit behind you at the movies, or stroll into your office on your lunch hour. You name the place. (Ok. Maybe not the movies, but you catch my drift.)

I’ll offer these prices until April 1. You can pay through the PayPal link (below) and then I’ll reach out to you via email. Help me love you up…Thailand style!

$30 for 30min
$50 for 1hr
$75 for 1.5hrs

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Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Posted by bucketbath 09:29 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand new year up burma mai chang myanmar bangladesh break massage bucket Comments (6)

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