Every day I am grateful to have the freedom and independence to live my life the way I want to live it. I feel a warm glow and I am thankful. I have never lived in a military dictatorship state, or endured like the Burmese people. I have never worked a hard day’s work, as I saw the people in the fields do today. The local people I interacted with likely do not make more than $3 a day. How does one break the cycle of poverty?
Transportation today included: a taxi, a motorized wooden ferry, a paddle boat that I did not row, and a horse drawn cart to see historic sites around Mandalay. Seriously, a horse drawn cart – it was the only means of transportation around the island.
My favorites sites were the world’s longest teak wooden footbridge in Amarapura and the classroom in Bagaya Kyaung (wooden monastery). I looked at their books and one boy was learning composition while another basic Burmese vocabulary for words like chairs, tables, etc. (btw, guest house reservations can be made ahead of time if you speak Burmese).
Yesterday, a visit to the former royal palace and a giant hike up thousands of steps – barefoot to the top of Mandalay Hill for sunset (barefoot not by choice. Every historic site requires no shoes and no socks… Even if you are walking on stone and concrete.)
Pictures: my new travel companions (Holland and Germany), monks at sunset on top of Mandalay Hill, me resting after the 1 hour climb to the top of the hill, a sign at the Royal Palace, wooden teak bridge, famous monastery with historic Burmese architecture from 19th century.