Only once a year do lions dance through the streets of Yangon. They dance to celebrate Chinese New Year, the festival that marks the turning of the Chinese calendar. Since January, we had been looking forward to participating in some of the festivities to mark one of Southeast Asia's biggest holidays. When the big day finally rolled around I was giddy with excitement at the uncertainty of what I would witness. The difficulty of finding out any information on any large event in Yangon meant that we did not know what was happening or when. All we knew was that it was Chinese New Year and we were headed to Chinatown.
*For video footage of the Lion Dance scroll to the bottom of the page*
Our 'go with the flow' attitudes paid off because as soon as we got downtown we heard drumming. We followed the loud banging and clashing of cymbals to the entrance of a hotel where there was a large crowd gathered. In the center we spotted our very first lion! It was a spectacular site, fluffy purple puffs were accompanied by gold and silver sequence that sparkled as the lion danced around. It was controlled by two extremely skillful and acrobatic performers, martial artists who train long and hard to receive the privilege of performing. A troupe of supporters from the same martial arts studio accompanied the lions in their dance. This lion was visiting the hotel in a customary tradition that involves performing a special dance called Cai Qing which means "plucking the greens."
In this dance the lion must "pluck" greens from an area in the establishment. It stalks the greens like a cat in hunt and then eats them a bit before spitting them out (see the ground of the picture below). Along with the greens the lion will also "pluck" a red envelop which customarily contains money to compensate for the performance. The purpose of this is to bring good fortune to the establishment for the coming year.
After our serendipitous find, we made the short trip over to Chinatown (which is between 20th and 18th street) to make our first official stop at the Chinese temple. I'm not sure how many Chinese temples there are in Yangon but I do know that this one is the largest and grandest.
Bonus points if you recognize what the containers with sticks in them (right side of the picture set above) are ^ . If you don't know or don't remember, check out when we visited the Chinese temple in Bago and our friends Alex and Meme showed us how to use the traditional Chinese fortune telling sticks.
As we were approaching the temple, we could smell it before we could see it. When we arrived there was a cloudy, smokey atmosphere that was so strong Kim had to stay outside. Come to find out, it was coming from all of these HUGE incense spirals. There were hundreds of these hanging up inside and outside of the temple, each one accompanied by a small purple tag. I couldn't read what was written on the tags but my guess is that it was a person's or family's name that donated to the temple.
The main section of the festival was held on Sinn O Dann street and featured a Lion Dance competition. Although the signs said that there were Dragon dances we did not see any during our time. We were lucky enough to see a lion practicing his dance. This was exciting for me because I was able to get up close and grab these great shots of the lion in motion!
We took a few hours as the day turned into night to wander the streets of downtown with our hearts set on our usual search: the quest for new, tasty food. This time we were hoping to try some special cuisine for the Chinese New Year celebration, maybe some Chinese food (?) but with no avail we settled for a tasty bowl of our favorite shan noodles instead.
It's not just the lighting here, the picture above is of an actual golden watermelon. Bellow is a stall of small bite-sized candies that were all over the place during the New Year Festival.
We left the vibrance of the night market and returned to the main festival to wait for the competition to begin. Sure to arrive early, we grabbed some seats (tiny plastic stools) on the sidelines and watched the small street fill in with more people than I could have ever imagined could fit in the space. After a long wait, a parade of all the competitors, some sort of performance that I think was the lion performers paying their respects to the temple or the association or someone, the dance finally began.
There are many legends about how the lion dances began, my favorite involves a fierce creature named "Nain" who liked to terrorize villages and kidnap children. One year, a lion was stalking near a village when the Nain creature appeared. The lion attacked the Nain and frightened it away. After the lion also retreated, the villagers decided to make a costume of a lion to scare the Nain away if it were ever to return. The dance is accompanied by loud banging, music, and fireworks to continue to frighten the Nain. Since this the dance became a yearly ritual, the word Nain has become the Chinese word for Year. Happy New Year everyone!
Inle lake is a serene body of water nestled between two mountain ranges in the mid-west of Myanmar. About 10 hours north of the central city of Yangon, the name, Inle Lake, often refers not only to the lake itself but also to the many villages that rest along the shore that depend on the lake for survival. A true fishing town, the lake is famous for the traditional fishermen who row their long wooden boats by wrapping a leg around an ore and using a specialized cone shaped fishing net.
Taking advantage of a few days off from work thanks to a full moon holiday, Kim and I took the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and search for some peace in one of Myanmar's "must see" areas. We took an overnight bus through the twisting dirt roads and got dropped off at 4am at a road-side stop in the seemingly middle-of-nowhere. Blinking our sleepy eyes awake we flagged down a pick-up truck taxi, with two rows of wooden benches in the bed, and squeezed in with a couple other weary travelers. The air was cool and the sky was blacker than we have seen it in months, all signs reminiscent of the quite country landscapes we left back in Maine.
After a few hours of rest in our sparse but comfortable room at Zawgi Inn, we woke up ready to explore. Following the advice from the aged Burmese Inn keeper, we borrowed two of his bicycles and, hand drawn map in hand, began our trek around the lake. Welcomed sites of dirt trails, stretches of green fields, and mountains in the distance, greeted us at every turn.
After a couple hours of biking we had rode around the top of the lake over to the other side where we hired a boat to take us across. This was our first glimpse into life on the lake which was filled with houses on posts, children playing in wooden boats, and an expanse of water perfectly reflecting the sky above it.
When we reached the other side we stopped at a small side stand for a bowl of Shan Noodles, a traditional Burmese dish that originates from Shan State - which is exactly where we were! It was a tasty little snack but our tummies were still rumbling as we began the trek back up to the hotel. Luckily we spotted a well-known winery along the way that I had been looking forward to stopping at. We followed the long and steep road up to the top of a hill where we were rewarded with a beautiful surroundings at the Red Mountain Estate Winery. We soaked in the day as we sipped the delicious wine and indulged in tasty dishes, finishing it all off with a slice of decedent chocolate cake.
Chasing the sunset back to the hotel, we passed small pagodas positioned precariously next to gas stations and continued on the single dirt path back into town. It was a truly adventurous day filled with equal parts wandering and serenity and we simply could not wait to see what the next day was going to bring.
Valentines Day in Myanmar
The day of love has arrived and it is very apparent in Yangon. Shop fronts with heart decorations, bakeries with pretty cookies, red roses for sale on every corner, lovers holding hands as they walk down the sidewalk, and restaurants filled with couples enjoying special treats. Although this may sound like any western city around Valentines Day, I am speaking of the sights I saw walking around Yangon today. The young generation of Burmese just love to celebrate western holidays and Valentines Day is certainly no exception.
Kim and I don't usually do anything too special for Valentines Day. We have made the occasional meal for one another and exchanged cards or small items of sentiment but the day has always stood as more of an opportunity to have an excuse to be extra thoughtful towards each other. Since this was our first Valentines Day as a married couple and the first major holiday we have been able to spend together in a while, I thought it would be nice to start a new tradition: Valentines Day Scavenger Hunt!
Step 1: Go to the Japanese $1.60 Store and buy each other funny gifts
Step 2: Get picnic food
Step 3: Go to the park and enjoy a quiet picnic
Step 4: Hide the gifts from each other in the park and create a note/picture/treasure map to the gift
Step 5: Exchange said note/picture/treasure map, find gifts, and laugh
What actually happened:
Step 1 went off without a hitch. We made it across town to the Japanese $1.60 Store and went in one at a time to buy each other gifts.
Step 2 was a little more challenging. We then went to purchase some food for our picnic but when we got to the grocery store it was very difficult to find food that would be suitable for picnic eating. We were at a different grocery store than usual and had a hard time finding anything that would transport well. Instead we decided to wander the streets and pick up some street food along the way. As we were looking for something tasty we stumbled upon Spaghetti Italian Kitchen. As you probably know, Kim and I are BIG Italian fans so it was just meant to be.
Step 3 After our super tasty lunch we walked to the park only to find a huge festival there. See today is the 100 birthday of Bogyoke Aung San who was a Burmese general back in the 1940's. He was responsible for bringing Burma's independence from the British and is well praised by all Myanmar citizens. Throughout the park there were booths selling food and merchandise, concerts, photo exhibits, tributes to Aung San, and other celebratory areas.
While we were there we found a caricaturist who happily drew cartoon versions of Kim and me as a crowd of interested bystanders looked on. The final product is quite . . . um . . . interesting. Introducing: Gangster Kim and Long-Faced Alisa
The park was very busy due to the festival, the fact that it was a Saturday, and that it was Valentines Day. Going to the park is a favorite activity for young couples, they usually pick a nice grassy spot and set up an umbrella or two for privacy then spend the afternoon smooching and cuddling. This made it impossible to follow Step 4 of our plan because there was no way we would be able to hide anything without someone running after us to return what we obviously left behind.
On the bright side the busy park made for great people watching. I noticed two prevalent Valentines Day themes. The first being GIANT teddy bears. Seriously, I think the requirement for buying a teddy bear for your significant other is that it needs to be at least half of their size.
The second custom I noticed was matching clothing. All over the city we saw couples with matching shirts, or specifically designed two part shirts. For instance, a man was wearing a shirt that said "Will you marry me?" and his partner's shirt said "Yes, I do." Sometimes I noticed a mother and daughter following the trend, or two friends, or even a group of people. I tried to be sneaky and grab a few shots of these shirts as we walked through the park.
Step 4 Since we couldn't complete our scavenger hunt at the park we decided to finish it in our apartment building later in the evening. We took turns going out into the building and hiding the gifts then making our notes/drawings/treasure maps. I was giddy with excitement as we exchanged our notes and followed each other around the building. It was so fun, I think as Kim got close to her gift I was literally jumping up and down.
Step 5 Kim's note said "It's up high, you can see gold and hear lots of noise from the street."
This led me up to the top floor of the building where we had gone up once and noticed that we could see Shwedagon Pagoda. I found a bag tide to the railing with my gift inside. Kim had picked me out a funnel which is simply perfect because I make my own juice every morning and have the hardest time pouring it into the bottle that I drink it from. She is so thoughtful.
For my note I drew a treasure map along with this riddle:
"You will find your gift on the floor above the fifth
but don't be fooled, it's not on the sixth.
You will know you are in the right spot
if you hear singing and see 3 plants in pots.
Behind what you would use if a fire was in sight.
Don't be distracted by Shwedagon, the bright."
I hid the gift on the fourth floor (the third floor elevator door has a 5 on it) behind a fire hose. For the gift I chose a funny Japanese game that involves a gorilla who shoots out of a barrel when a certain peg is pulled out. The last picture is of Kim's face after she finally pulled the peg and the gorilla shot up to the ceiling and hit our kitchen light.
It has been such an eventful day. A fantastic random restaurant find, a surprise festival, Myanmar culture mixed with western traditions, a warm day in the park, a caricature of ourselves, a SUPER fun scavenger hunt, and starting a new holiday tradition with my love. Happy Valentines Day from Myanmar to you!
14 Adventures of 2014
There is only one word that can truly summarize this year: adventure. There has been more change in the last 365 days than any other point in my life and with change comes spectacular opportunities. The year was filled with family, culture, food, photography, travel, celebrations, and huge life changes. It has been a beautiful journey and I have loved sharing it with you. Here are 14 AMAZING things that made 2014 an epic year.
14. Rode an Elephant & Got Chased by Monkeys
Not too far from my new home is a park where you can visit a variety of different animals. Halwga National Park is most well known for it monkey filled area where you can drive through and meet creatures along the way. We spent an afternoon feeding monkeys out the car window and getting to know the elephants that we were lucky enough to get a chance to ride on.
13. Help Portrait & FotoMarathon
I participated in two photography events this year. The first was FotoMarathon Yangon where we were challenged to go out in groups and take photos around town based on specific themes that were sent to us every two hours. You can read all about it here. Shortly after that I helped lead a group of students in creating a Help-Portrait event. This is a worldwide initiative that I also participated in when I was in Maine. The event involves taking photos for families who would not normally be able to afford professional photography, we invited the local staff and trishaw drivers from the school, dressed them up, did their makeup and hair, took their portraits, and printed out photographs for them to go home with that day. It was a beautiful experience that was not about taking photographs but about giving them. (Post coming soon)
12. Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival
As many of the best things do, my trip up to Tanuggi for the famous Fire Balloon Festival came very spontaneously as a weekend getaway with my friend Ashley. Thousands of people flock to the otherwise quiet town of Tanuggi each year to witness and participate in the traditional act of launching fire balloons. It was an experience like no other. Read about the whole festival here (videos included).
11. Watched Amanda & Josh Exchange Vows
The hardest day of homesickness I have had was the day of Amanda and Josh's wedding. Luckily we have amazing technology now that allowed me to watch the entire event. I stayed up all night since there is a 12 hour time difference and was able to skype/facetime in for everything from getting ready, formal pictures, ceremony, reception, cake, toasts, dance party and everything in between. Although I wish I could have been by my little sister's side and joined in with my family I was certainly celebrating from afar. Photo credit to Pipyr Photo.
10. New food. SO much new food.
Myanmar was certainly not love at first taste, it has taken quite a while to find the true gems of the cuisine but now that we have there is no going back! Tofu Noway, Kay-O, Tomato Salad, Steamed Dumplings, Fried Tofu, Mohinga, and so much more. This year has truly been an adventure for my tastebuds alone now if only I could adjust to the spices.
9. Safari in Africa
No trip to Africa is complete without a Safari and I completely understand why. There is no experience like that of watching a baby zebra nuzzle it's mother or a herd of elephants protecting their young. Sure I've seen most of these animals in zoos before but being able to watch them in their environment, in their world can't compare. My favorite were the giraffes with their long legs and their even longer necks, seeing them galloping around on their stilt-like legs was quite the site.
8. Honeymoon in Cancun
Although we were crunched for time after our wedding with only two months before the big move we wanted to take a breather and enjoy married life. With our big adventure right around the corner we decided the perfect honeymoon would be relaxing on the beach with drinks in our hands so we headed to the best place for it, an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. We spent five beautiful days with our feet in the sand, swimming in the spectacular pools, drinking all sorts of tasty beverages, indulging in choice restaurants, and enjoying our new time together as a married couple. Although it was hard to pull off (scheduling and other wise) this was the absolute best wedding choice we made and I will always look back on this time fondly. See the rest of the photos here.
7. Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
Unforgettable experiences are around every corner of my new life in Myanmar, but certainly one of the most spectacular has been the trip we took in October to Inle Lake. We were very fortunate to visit at the time of the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival which is a celebration that involves ferrying around five giant golden buddha statues to each town in the lake. The lake is so big that it takes almost a month to complete the whole route. Not only did we get to watch the parade but we also got to experience the rest of the stunning Inle Lake including traditional leg-rowing fishermen, long-neck women weaving, traditional silversmiths, hand paper weavers, the floating gardens, and my favorite, the crumbling pagodas of Indein. (PS Blog post coming soon with sooooo many more photos)
6. Welcomed Baby Zane into the World
Zane Andrew Simmons joined the world on March 8th. I can't believe this little peanut is over 9 months old now! He is such a sweet little boy who has brightened every life around him since he arrived most certainly the lives of his parents, my sister, Andrea, and my brother-in-law, Steve. I have missed him dearly since I have been away, luckily Andrea has been great at sharing about all the milestones - big and small - with pictures, stories, and videos. Can't wait until I get to snuggle this little guy again!
5. Photographed 5 Stunning Weddings
Capturing the moments of one of the most special days in a persons life is an honor and privilege, I know that sounds cheesy but it honestly is. The joy, celebration, and love that fills a wedding is unparalleled. Leaving behind Adorn photography was very difficult for me because I truly loved every minute of photographing wedding and portraits. Within the first few months of the year I was invited by five spectacular couples to photograph their wedding days and each one was so very special. I am certain about few things in my future but one of them is that I know I will return to photographing weddings at some point in my life. For now I will enjoy using my passion to capture the world around me through my travel photography.
4. Spent the Holidays with Renee in Tanzania
Ask either of us just a few years ago if we thought we would be spending the holidays together on safari in Africa or on the beaches of Zanzibar and both Renee, my sister, and I would have simply laughed. Such an unlikely story for two small-town New Englanders. Yet, this is exactly where we found ourselves this holiday season, see just two weeks before my winter break from school Kim flew back to Maine to be with her ill father which left the perfect opportunity for me to hop the Indian Ocean to visit Renee. Renee has been living in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for almost two years now where she freelances web design when she is not busy working on her passion of free diving and the resulting website www.seaunseen.com. We spent three amazing weeks celebrating the holidays, on safari, hanging out on the beach, diving, and having some much needed sister time.
3. Found Juicing and Lost 50 Pounds
It was actually December of 2012 that I started my health and fitness journey, dedicating most of 2013 to challenging myself physically and educating myself on proper health and nutrition. In January of this year I made the ultimate commitment to a 30 day juice fast and my life has not been the same since. Juicing allowed me to realign my expectations of food and reset my appetite. It not only gave me results in appearance but in self-confidence and strength of mind. With my juicing I finally felt in control of my body. I took the beginning of this year to fully commit to myself, focusing on goals like working out everyday and setting up a regular meditation schedule. It was an amazing time that I hope to revisit now that my life has settled down.
2. Moved 8151 miles away to Yangon, Myanmar
Without a doubt, the craziest thing that happened this year was packing up our belongings and moving to -literally- the other side of the world. Following my dream to teach abroad, Kim and I picked up and left everything behind (that couldn't fit in our 6 suitcases) to explore the world. Three days and 8151 miles later we found ourselves in a land like nothing we ever knew before. Myanmar has been everything we never expected, our time filled with awe, frustrations, curiosity, and a whole lot of laughter.
1. Married my Love
Without a doubt the most important day of 2014 was May 10th, the day that I married my love, Kimberly. As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than any destination and nothing could have been half as wonderful this year without this amazing person by my side. Having someone to share in all of the adventures I have had this year and will continue to have into 2015 and beyond it the best thing I could ask for.
(Read all about our full wedding day here. Photo credit to Justine Johnson Photography.)
Bago | A Yangon Escape
Legend has it that two Mon princess saw a female Hinthar standing on the back of a male Hinthar on an island in a huge lake. A Hinthar is a kind of bird like a goose that is a mythical creature similar to a phoenix. They took this as a sign to settle here and thereafter built the town of Bago. Bago is a town about two hours outside of Yangon. Well actually it is only around an hour outside but with all of the Yangon traffic it takes twice as long to get out of the city itself. Kim and I took a trip to Bago a couple weekends ago with our friends MeMe and Alex. Lucky for us, Meme knew what there was to do and see in Bago so I didn't have to do any planning. We just hopped in the car we rented for the day and set off!
Our first stop was more by happenstance, I spotted an awesome looking temple on the side of the road and we wandered around what turned out to be a Chinese temple. There were golden dragons on every inch of it, lots of Buddhas, an eccentric old woman who took to following us around, and ornate detailing on every surface.
As we walked in Alex spotted this tube of sticks and got very excited. "You wanna? You wanna?" He asked us giddy as a little kid. Meme, who was just as enthusiastic, replied with a bubbly "Yes!" Then they both turned to us with expectant looks. Kim and I turned to each other a confirmed that neither of us had any idea what was going on and finally Alex began explaining.
The tube of sticks turned out to be Kau Cim, Chinese Fortune Sticks. It is a chance for you to ask God or Buddha or the Universe (whichever suits you) a question and get an answer. Alex demonstrated the process for us. You first have to think of a really good question that is not too broad or too specific then you kneel and you concentrate on that question with all your attention. When you are ready you begin shaking the tube of sticks back and forth in a steady motion. If you are holding it at the right angle then the sticks will jump around and at some point one stick will come all the way out. You pick up the stick and before checking it you have to make sure it is the right one. You do this by taking these two rounded blocks of wood (I think they were wood) and dropping them on the ground like dice. If they fall in opposite ways (one face up and one face down) then it is the wrong stick and you have to start over. If they fall the same way then it is the right stick. At this point you have to find the number on the stick which corresponds with a number of a paper in a cabinet (seen behind us in the pictures below). When you retrieve the paper it will have the answer to your question on it.
One side of the paper was written in Myanmar and one side was written in Chinese. Alex was able to read the Chinese and Meme the Myanmar so they both helped translate our answers. I had to try mine a couple times because the stick wouldn't come out. At first Alex said it was because I was asking the wrong question but then we realized (on the third try) that I was just holding the container wrong.
Also known as The Four Seated Buddhas, Kyaik Pun Pagoda stands at 88 feet tall. Each of the four Buddhas which are seated to face the four cardinal directions, represent the four Buddhas that have reached Nirvana. One legend relating to this Paya involves four Mon sisters who, when helping to build this, pledged to never get married or shall the Buddhas come crumbling to the ground. When one of the sisters broke her vow and married it is said that one of the Buddhas did in fact collapse.
This spectacular place was built in 1553 by a famous Mon King, King Bayinnaung, founder of the 2nd Empire. Most of the area was destroyed in a foreign attack but has been under excavation since the early 90's. The originally walled palace contained 4 square miles of land and 76 buildings. I could not believe how much gold there was, it was literally covering every inch of the palace. The details were unbelievable and the throne room was just spectacular.
The Beehive is another building on the grounds of Kambazathadi Golden Palace. I was surprised at the amount of people just hanging out at this building. Apparently sleeping, kissing, chatting, and just general meeting up is what this building is good for.
Okay, so I kind of lost track here and I can't seem to find the name of this pagoda anywhere. It was all under a covered roof and had different covered stairways. The most interesting part of this pagoda was the lady boy.
While we were visiting this pagoda we stumbled upon something very interesting: a drag queen. Okay, that may not be exactly what this was but it was pretty darn close. It was a man dressed up as a woman dancing and singing. He had his own band and people were watching and cheering him on. The audience also provided alcohol for him and tucked money in his clothes. I have heard about so called "lady boys" here who have a connection with the ancient Myanmar religion that believed in spirits. The idea is that sometimes, especially on special holidays, men can become possessed with a spirit and this will cause him to act like said spirit. Hence you find men dressed up as woman, dancing and acting out of character. I'm not sure if that was what was going on here but either way it was really interesting to see and I would love to learn more about this custom.
I tried to find the name of this pagoda but all of the information about it just refers to it as the snake pagoda. Well, you can't say that the name isn't accurate because what this pagoda is best known for is housing a GIANT snake. We took a few dirt roads in the general direction that we were pointed in but our driver had to continue stopping to ask for directions because there were nothing posted to guide people here. This was very off-the-beaten-path. When we arrived we saw a very small golden pagoda that was only 10 or so feet high but we were pointed to a small building right next to it where we walked in to this:
The story behind the snake involves a ancient monk who had a vision that Buddha was sending a snake to live at the monastery with him. I'm unclear if the snake was just sent there from Buddha or if it was a part of Buddha or . . . I don't really know how the snake was connected to Buddha. Anyway, sure enough a snake showed up so they build a house for it and so it came to live at the monastery. It now lives in it's own building where it has it's own Jacuzzi sized pool and lots of bedding. There are people who sit with the snake (to watch him/her?) and you can give them a donation and they will pray to the snake for you.
Another golden pagoda stands in the center of this town. Shwemawdaw is actually the tallest pagoda in Myanmar (although Shwedagon in Yangon claims to be). It is 375 feet tall and has been rebuilt multiple times due to earthquakes and other natural disasters, with it's origins dating back over 1000 years. It is said to enshrine 2 hairs of Buddha and at least one sacred tooth. What I found out recently was that things like sacred teeth may not actually be from Buddha, rather they are someone else's teeth that were placed next to one that is from Buddha to gain it's energy or merit or holiness or whichever.
Although it is larger than Shwedagon it is certainly not as popular, in fact it was almost completely abandoned while we were there. It was strange to walk around this ginormous space practically alone. There were fortune teller shacks that were closed up (above) and community water bowls available (below). Just like most everywhere in Myanmar, there was a confusing juxtaposition between the glittering, glitzy gold and jewels that adorned the pagoda and it's surroundings and the warn, decrepit, aging, falling apart as the general state of many things throughout the area.
Above is a sort of game that I found at the pagoda. You make a wish then throw a folded dollar into the area trying to get it into one of the bowls. The whole contraption spins. If you get it in then your wish will come true.
Our last stop of the day was to Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha. This Buddha was built by the Mon in 994 but it was lost to the jungle when the town of Bago was destroyed. It was rediscovered in 1880 and restored several times. It is 180 feet long and 52 feet tall. It claims to be the second largest reclining buddha in the world but I know of a few others just here in Myanmar that are bigger. The feet and the pillows are adorned with mosaics and jewels and the entrance to the hall is lined with souvenir shops.
There is also another reclining Buddha right next to this one that is outdoors. We could see it from the car and decided not to go up close because we were thoroughly exhausted at this point. What an amazing day visiting Bago! It was so nice to get outside of Yangon and see life outside of the city. Looking forward to our next day trip already.
Alisa & Kim
Two expats living, teaching, and eating their way across this beautiful world