For Christmas this year (2009) we headed to Burma. Friends of ours (Clark and Heidi) who teach at the international school there were gone for their own holiday, but were kind enough to leave us their beautiful house as well as their car and driver. We spent three weeks slowly exploring Rangoon, Mandalay (the old capital in the north), Bagan (a fantastic plain covered with hundreds of 9th-11th century temples bagan.avi 3.4mB), and the beach in Ngwe Saung.

We felt a bit lazy moving so slowly, but enjoyed the pace! We had a bit of unplanned drama when Zoë got her foot caught in a bicycle wheel in Mandalay. We had to take her to a couple of doctors to get an x-ray, antibiotics, etc... She couldn't walk for two weeks which kind of freaked us out, but she was doing better by the time we left and is perfectly fine now.

We loved Burma and found it to be similar to Laos (although we haven't been in Laos for about ten years.) The people had big beautiful smiles and were incredibly friendly!

Zoë clings to my finger during a river boat crossing. I thought that she was being affectionate, but Robyn thinks she was worried I was going to fall into the river!
We had some unplanned drama when I took Zoë for a bike ride and she got her foot caught in the wheel. It was nasty! We took her to get an x-ray. It was 2 weeks before she could walk again. Ouch!
We spent five days in Bagan, an area somewhat similar to Anghor Wat in Cambodia, but much less touristed. Each morning I went out for a sunrise run. In this case, I climbed up a pagoda to get a good view.
Filling up the car Burmese style. Even in Rangoon, gas stations are almost always just huts with jugs of gas.
Zoë rings one of the bells at the biggest temple complex in the country: Shwedagon Paya in Rangoon.
Robyn gets a massage at our hotel at Ngwe Saung Beach. We splashed out for our last couple of nights in the country.
A typical house in the Ayeyerwaddy Delta. In May 2008 Cyclone Nargis killed an estimated 200,000 people in the delta. It's not hard to see how devastating a cyclone with 120mph winds could be to the wooden housing.


We ate breakfast a couple times at J's cafe on Inya Lake. Just above Robyn's head is Aung San Suu Kyi's house, where she has been on house arrest for years. In May of last year, an American caused an international incident by swimming to her house from near this cafe. The staff weren't comfortable pointing to her house, but nodded in the correct direction. Apparently, police are everywhere!
A pit stop in the "old capital" of Mandalay at one of the ubiquitous tea cafes.
We got around both Ava island and Bagan by horse cart. Zoë loved to "drive" the horses!
The famous "U Bein Bridge" outside Mandalay. The bridge is made from over 1000 pairs of teak wood pylons, is over a kilometer long and is 200 years old.
Our view from dinner our first night in Bagan.
Choosing your perch for sunset each night is de rigueur in Bagan.
Locals worshipping at Shwedagon Paya.
One of our sunset walks at Ngwe Saung Beach. The island near our hotel had great snorkeling.
Zoë playing with some local kids near Ngwe Saung beach. The kids were very cute!
Friends of ours in Rangoon (Heidi and Clark) were kind enough to lend us their enormous house, car and driver while they were gone on holiday. The comfort made it difficult to leave Rangoon!
page created on January 10, 2010