October 26, 2015

final thoughts on Myanmar

one guide book says, don't visit Myanmar if, 'you don't like to compromise on such things as food and hotel quality and/or have a low tolerance for last-minute changes of plan or being denied conveniences such as round-the-clock power, use of ATMs and credit cards, your mobile phone and the internet.' if that isn't enough to discourage you they add 'in Myanmar, like many developing countries, there are questions around travel safety and health'

to that i would add ... there are areas of restricted travel, constant planning around how to avoid paying the government fees, open sewers, flooded streets, drivers that will run your ass over in a heartbeat, opium warlords with armies, trains that run on tracks for which they haven't been designed, the money grab associated with new access to revenue streams, a nightly foot cleaning ritual and an excess of peanut oil used on all foods.  did I mention the heat, mud and humidity?

what's not to like?

in reality the people of Manmar are adjusting to the changes in their government and responding for the most part very well to the tsunami of tourists that have descended on them.  the people of Myanmar have much to be proud of .... the rich history of the Bagan kingdoms, the strong cultural identity they are striving to maintain, the resilience that is required to survive a military regime.  

there is much work to be done to provide sustainable economic, social and environmental progress in the country but it is a very exciting time to be in Myanmar and i am thrilled that i was able to spend so much time here.

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