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Archive for August, 2002

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A UNICEF Advisor

Saturday, August 31st, 2002


In Kalaw, at an outdoor tea house, I called out to a Western looking couple walking by…look…somebody from the West! The couple, from Israel, laughed and joined us at our low table for tea…all of us sitting on little stools with our knees around our ears again.

The woman had been in Rangoon for six months as a UNICEF advisor to the local education authorities. Families have about 10 children because about half die by the time they are teenagers she said. When the ethnic children go to school, she explained, they are confronted with both English and Bamar languages layered over their ethnic dialects and they have a very hard time learning. Old story I thought to myself thinking of the indiginous Indian children from Mexico who come with their migrant parents to the States.

Coincidentally, when I told her we were from Salem Oregon, she said a woman friend from Israel went to our city a couple years ago to live with a man friend but after six months of boredom she went back to Israel. What did she miss especially, I asked. Having fun, she said, dancing, having fun and street life. Yes, I know the feeling, I said!

Kalaw…British Hill Station

Thursday, August 29th, 2002


In a monsoon rainstorm we climbed off the train in this cool wooded hill station built during the British occupation. The locals laughed (with me) at my little paper sun umbrella I carried that I had bought at the umbrella shop in Inle. Only transpo available was in a partially covered horse cart driven by a kind old man. Off went the horse clip-clopping with us along to the ironically named Dream Villa Hotel a few blocks away in the center of town. It was off season and we and a French couple were the only tenants in the second floor room in the very friendly hotel painted white with verandas and windows open on two sides.

I looked down into the street to see a common occurrence in Asia that we hardly see in the West…males touching each other…often holding hands while walking down the street. On this day three boys stood one behind the other looking out toward the street, each with hand and arms around the boy in front and finally the one in the back reaching to the boy in front, lovingly cradling the boy in the middle…it was done spontaneously and naturally and lasted only a few seconds. Refreshing I thought.

We explored the rotating market that happened to be in town the following Saturday…we have wonderful pictures of the goods that the colorful tribal hill people bring to town to sell; flowers, fish including eels, perfect looking leafy green vegetables of all kinds, cigars, prepared food of all unidentifiable kinds. Everyone wears flip flops; heels cracked and calloused. Babies in Burma are not diapered…the child is just held out in the air at the right time and whatever wants to come out comes out. One mother in the seat in front of us on the moving train to Kalaw held her baby with bare bottom out the window for this event.

We stop by a tea shop (patrons are almost always men and they all stare at me; women stay at home as they did in Morocco, Egypt, Africa, India, Greece and Thailand) to rest and watch the street scene. There was cheap clothing brought in from China…some of the tables piled with used plaid shirts, levi jackets and 501’s. So this is where the young Burmese university students get their levis I thought…you know those levi trucks you see in the supermarket parking lots at home?


Wednesday, August 28th, 2002
Burma.gif We took a taxi back over the mountain from Tounggye to Schwenguan where we were to catch a train for the three hour ride through beautiful terraced rice fields and vegetable patches to Kalaw-a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Repression & The People

Wednesday, August 28th, 2002
Burma.gif Next door to the restaurant in Taunggyi I struck up a conversation with a young university student who was tending a a small bookstore. "Can everyone speak (out) in America," he asked. ... [Continue reading this entry]

Taunggyi…Last Frontier of Burma

Wednesday, August 28th, 2002
JTOL4njiflVtj5kLlwVbAM-2006175061519331.gif Taunggyi is the official end of the line for east-bound foreigners in Burma--at least if you are travelling by road. Beyond Taunggyi lies a world of black-marketeers, ruby miners, insurgent armies and opium and methamphetamine warlords. ... [Continue reading this entry]

He Ho & Inle Lake

Monday, August 26th, 2002
Burma.gif August 26 2002 It is possible to take a ferry up the Irrawady to Mandalay but we chose not to do this because we heard the ferry was government-run and we tried very hard not ... [Continue reading this entry]

Nyaung U

Friday, August 23rd, 2002
Burma.gif The largest village in the area is Nyaung U about 5 km up the Irriwaddy River from the Pagan Archeological Site and you can visit the market and food stalls there by taking a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Pagan’s 2000 Stupas

Thursday, August 22nd, 2002
See Burma Video JTOL4njiflVtj5kLlwVbAM-2006175061519331.gif August 22 2002 (Pagan was previously called Bagan) I really would have preferred the rickety and slow train north so we could see the countryside but to reserve the most time possible ... [Continue reading this entry]

Poverty, Government Greed and Human Sweetness

Sunday, August 18th, 2002
JTOL4njiflVtj5kLlwVbAM-2006175061519331.gif Video August 18, 2002 Rangoon (renamed Yangon) We took Thai Air to Rangoon. Bob left his Lonely Planet Guidebook Burma (renamed Myanmar by the military junta) on the plane and of ... [Continue reading this entry]


Monday, August 12th, 2002
Our friend Jiraporn let us gas up her car for a trip to Ayutthaya, ancient capital of Thailand about 60 miles north of Bangkok. Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese ... [Continue reading this entry]

Talad Nam Lam-Paya Floating Market

Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
Our friend, Jiraporn, who lived in the U.S. ten years and has a doctorate from Oregon State University in Fisheries and is now a lecurer in the Department of Fishery Management of Kasetsart University, generously drove us to the weekend ... [Continue reading this entry]


Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
There are many expats in Bangkok who love this city and it's people for many reasons. One day I struck up a conversation with a Brit woman sitting next to me on the SkyTrain who worked for an international ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Bit Of Thai Culture

Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
Thai people are usually friendly, warm, charming and hospitable. Sanuk, the Thai word for fun or enjoyment is paramount to the Thai�s way oflife. For something to be worthwhile it must be sanuk. If it is not sanuk ... [Continue reading this entry]

Thai Food!

Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
Our favorite in all the world! In Thailand a fork in the left hand is held upside down and used to push food onto a large spoon that is held in the right hand (reverse for left handers of ... [Continue reading this entry]

Skytrain Tuk Tuks Cycles & Boats

Tuesday, August 6th, 2002
The SkyTrain is an air conditioned jam-packed elevated transportation system financed by the World Bank that can scoot you quickly from one part of the city to another but for some reason, probably due to corruption, is in the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Krazy Khao San Road

Monday, August 5th, 2002
There is no limit to the colorful variety of activities that draw your eyes in all directions. Almost everything happens on the sidewalks or the canals and rivers...floating markets with fruit and vegetables andflowers, vendors selling everything ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sex In The City of Angels

Sunday, August 4th, 2002
August 6 2002 Bangkok Thailand The Indian pilot lovingly set the Air India wheels down on the Bangkok tarmac... Being in Thailand feels good even when you know Thais will use those beguiling smiles and soft voices to extract ... [Continue reading this entry]

Extremes In India

Sunday, August 4th, 2002
Back in Delhi the next day Bob and I are walking in the middle of the street as usual to a shopping area from the hotel when I noticed that one of the men lying on the sidewalk was dead...large ... [Continue reading this entry]