In BurmaAbout Burma
Burma Days: On the Trails of George Orwell | Travel
You could say George Orwell didn't really like his first police work. On my way to Moulmein - now named Moulmein - I explored the country that identified Orwell and perhaps found some of the author himself. Hpa-An is a full days trip from Yangon through kilometers of gum plantation where dry squares of nature rubbers are drawn over fencing like mats.
Hpa An was drowsy but enchanting and was situated on the Thanlyin stream, my way to Mawlamyine. After a long sunny days on the street, the ideal place to observe the sunset was the beautiful silhouette of Shweyinhmyaw Paya overlooking the striking calcareous summit of Mount HparPu.
A gold stove burnt the pupa of the couch until the darkness quickly hit the canyon. We plunged into a pair of polycarbonate deck chair to snooze and watch the rivers. Kids from the waterfront towns used to stop their flips in the stream to yell at us. Passing huge bunkbamboo fins, a native leader later informed us that there was often illegal logging of trek.
A curve around a mountain range, below a mountain crest of mounds of pagodas, appears to be the place of much of Mawlamyine. Myanmar was one of the least wanted posts on the Burmese political scene, but Orwell elected him because he had close ties - generation of his mother's Limouzin household had been living in the city. In the nineteenth and nineteenth centuries, teak made the city rich and there was a large number of people in Europe at that age.
Many remnants of these booming years, and it was not difficult to envision a lousy Orwell here planning his flight. In Myanmar there must be an unwritten saying that there must be one huge Buddha for every man, women and children in the state. Buddhahood tiredness may employ for tired travelers, but I gathered to attend His Taw Ya, about 14 leagues to the South of Mawlamyine, which is said to be the biggest lying Buddha in the worlds.
It is certainly very large, about 600 feet long and 100 feet high, but the true pleasure begins when you get there. After all, the visitor can discover the many storeys within the cement building. So you can invade the spirit of Buddha in literal terms. There were a row of Diorams representing Buddhist lifestyles and pictures from Buddhist hell, some of which are very cruel.
An even larger Buddha is being constructed near here, but the Buddhist who was the main driver behind the whole venture passed away a few day before we came to visit the area and his destiny is now not known. Rudyard Kipling's work as a kid was swallowed up by Orwell and was certainly attracted by his description of this strange, distant country.
"At the old Moulmeinagoda, looking east to the sea" - a disgrace that the Kyaikthanlanagoda, immortalized in Kipling's words, actually looks westwards to the ocean, but I think he and his trooper were diverted by the beauties of his "Burma girl". Walking down from the pit to the city, I was surrounded by a cheerful multitude in front of a convent that celebrated the full moons.
Maybe it was the only times in my whole lifetime that I was ever beloved by so many of you.