Myanmar formerly

Burma Earlier

Find out more about the people and sights of Myanmar behind today's headlines about its repressive military regime. Burma, formerly known as Burma, is on the road to democracy. Answer the crossword hint Myanmar, earlier. In Myanmar, GE was the first US company to be allowed to operate.

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Myanmar, formerly Burma, is full of story.

Burma, trapped between China, India, Laos, Thailand and Bangladesh, is like a losing it. Bagan is in the arid centre of the countryside and its vast plain was once covered with more than 6,000 of them on an area of only 40kmĀ². It is a 10-hour trip from Bagan to the Shan Plateau in the Shan state of East Burma.

Myanmar's traffic is low and some important roads are often blocked for foreign traffic by the reigning warlords. Together with my companions I was chugging in an ancient coach past carriages of horses, traces of little old men and city dwellers whose faces were covered with cream-coloured pastes, whose faces were blood-red from masticating cobwebs.

The 1962 and 1988 attacks by a Soviet army juvenile regime have kept the land in an irremovable position, plundered the countryside, paralyzed the economies and suppressed its citizens through violations of fundamental freedoms. Over 35 years of oppression have drawn little publicity to the United Nations, urging groups of humanitarian workers and Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's democracy group and Nobel Prize winner for Freedom, who has been imprisoned by the regime since 1989, not to fill the junta's pockets with tourists.

As I planned my journey, I thought that the Myanmar population needed a break to earn a livelihood through travel, one of the few local industrys-and most of them wanted to open the worlds desperate eye to their situations. Burma is a country of great splendour and scheming, and its peoples are humble and respectable.

Finally we made it to Kalaw, a burmesian city in the Shan highlands, which is very famous among hikers. We hiked for three days from our Kalaw camp to Inle lake, Myanmar's second biggest sea - 14 mile long and 7 mile broad (23 km by 11 km) - and one of the highest with an elevation of 2,900ft.

Huge buffaloes that sometimes pull wagons over country lanes, with small nude kids that ride them nude. Part of Theravada - the oldest preserved Buddhist and religious tradition in Myanmar - young men will generally adopt the monastical garment and shell at some point in their life.

Inhabitants of Lac Inle (approx. 70,000) are living in four towns that border the vast sea, encircled by a mountain. Stylized barns and stores over covered swamps and canals. Woman who had been rinsed from the footbridges at the sides of their homes, while ravishingly lucky kids splashing around next to buffaloes, disappeared, but for their giant skulls.

We travelled to Yangon - from Rangoon to distant from a past of colonialism - where the contrasts were vertiginous. While we felt a little stamped, Yangon's 98 metre high, gold-plated Shwedagon pit (a cult monument) was a real eye-catcher; this huge, gleaming pit holds eight holy bristles of Siddharta Gautama, the creator of Buddhism.

Amidst the liveliness of the crowd and the crowds, Chapatti's peddlers cooked to clean up tasty curry pieces of meat and beans, all of which enhanced the uniqueness of this riveting land.

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