You stole my heart from day one. From your majestic, dream-like landscapes to your colorful markets and big smiles. I will never forget you.
Note: I will refer to this country as Myanmar because all of the local people I interacted with called it Myanmar. For example, they cheerfully told us we looked like ‘Myanmar Ladies’ when we wore the local “makeup” and longis, which are the traditional long skirts worn by most of country. Many people know this place as Burma. Traditionally and culturally, for the majority, it is. It’s possible that locals feel compelled to use the post-colonial name, Myanmar, because they are afraid of getting in trouble with the government. Political suppression and the lack of freedom of speech are very real, and you have to be careful not to bring up controversial subjects when talking to locals — many believe that the government is listening and will arrest them as dissidents.
I don’t care what you want to call it — it was one of the most stunningly beautiful and wildly interesting places I’ve been. And it has, without a doubt, the most friendly, welcoming, warm, helpful and genuinely kind people I’ve ever met.
Because the thing that made this place really special for us was the people — who not only welcomed us into their homes, but helped us find our way around and even cooked us dinner without ever asking for anything in return — I want to share what can best be expressed in photos. Much more than words can say.
Myanmar is undoubtedly on the short list of my favorite countries, and I definitely plan on going back and spending more time there.