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- 14 Things to remember in Burma (Myanmar)
No matter where your journey leads you, a trip to Myanmar (Burma) will offer you a whole new range of experience - whether you are going to kiss your waiters in a tea house in the town or witness your first nature event. On the occasion of the publication of our first guidebook through the land, Jo James announces fourteen of her most important activities in Myanmar.
Myanmar's tearooms are indigenous to Yangon's traffic-calmed roads and scattered highways. Myanmar's most important navigable channel ranges from luxurious teakwood steamships to cumbersome state owned ferryboats and leaky fast boats. The echo of British Burma echoed in a fistful of places in Myanmar, ranging from roads bordered by hullabaloo edifices from prehistoric times and evening teas at The Strand in Yangon to spooky places from George Orwell's novel Burmese Days in Katha.
The Burmese are one of the few people who also consume lettuce and green lettuce teas. Myanmar's Theravada Buddhism is streaked with a thick blood vessel of secrets and magical, with enough fancy sites and tales to rekindle the interest of the most exhausted visitors to the temples.
While Myanmar's indigenous beliefs - that the worid is pervaded by an accumulation of recalcitrant natures that often need to be placated with drink, sound and currency - are in sharp contrast to Buddhism's focus on reserve and silent thought, many Myanmans believe in both. Visit the country's biggest nature ceremonies every August in Taungbyone or visit Mount Popa, Myanmar's most important center of nature veneration.
Travelling on Myanmar's outdated narrow-gauge web is often unpleasant and comical, and in some cases it can be difficult to predict the time. In return for the risk of a squeezed ass and a delayed arriving, travelers are given a great opportunity to engage with the locals, from kind travelers and holiday attendants to the well-balanced women who stagger down the hall and sell snack bars weighed on their beheads.
Every day mornings, Myanmar ladies and kids smear their cheek with powder-yellow thinaka stripes, a sun blocker and cosmetics made from the crushed rind of the wooden sapling with its sandalwood-like scent. Uneven, caramel-colored chunks of yaggery are one of the great delights of a Myanmar cuisine. Produced from cooked boiling Tamdy Palmensaft and jocularly named "Burmese chocolate", JAGERGY is extremely hooky, whether tender or flavored with grated or flavored shredded pasta and driedses.
As unfortunate as it may make your home dental practitioner miserable, the cultivation of a serious haggery practice is certainly more healthy than Myanmar's other big decaying pastimes - biting kwoon-ya, lipsticks in small packages of walnuts, tobaccos and quenched calcare. Throughout Myanmar you will see barren spineless tree-lined stepladders disappear into prickly palms - a sure indication that a Tamdy Tappers is at work in the area.
It is a natural fermentation of the soft, creamy juice of the Palme to make a slightly alcoholic, slightly turbid drinking liquid, also known as Palmewein, or Tan-ye. Myanmar only has homemade alcohol (despite the "anti-aging" spiral of the Mandalay brewery), which makes it unmistakably tasty in the Myanmar area.
No matter which walk you decide on, you have the option of spending the night in the Shan and Palaung towns - which is not yet possible elsewhere in Myanmar - and experiencing country living up close, with taps for alarms and buffaloes for hiking companions. Take a walk through every untidy breakfast fair and you will find something new, from the novel (Burmese herb shampoo) and tasty (crunchy pancake with jagsggery syrup) to the foul-smelling (shapely heap of egapi fishing pastes with joss sticks).
Thingyan - the week-long Burmese New Year - is theoretically a period to ceremoniously affirm his buddhistic faith, but for the outsider it seems more like a rough, nationwide war. While the temperature rises every April, daily routine slows down and kids and young people take to the street to drink each other and passers-by (foreigners are selected with special pleasure) with pails and oversized guns.
In Mandalay, where the roads are bordered by temporary platforms from which the night owls spray the drivers who pass by to a roaring sound track with a series of music. Discover Myanmar with the new Rough Guide.