I am especially proud of this slideshow.. The photos aren’t necessarily all the ones I consider the best from the trip. But the selection well represents each area, each aspect of Myanmar that caught my interest and held my fascination. I hope you have a moment to sit back and enjoy.
I rarely repeat countries/destinations for my vacations. I believe there is too much of the world to see to double up trips if I can avoid doing so. Of course, factors such as places being on the way, time, and geography have to be accounted for in that philosophy.
I have made a huge exception of New Zealand. I feel in love with the country from the start. Culturally, it is not exotic, being a land of largely immigrants. They do have a significant indigenous Maori population which I found fascinating and rather well integrated into the country’s heritage.
What appealed to me was the sheer untrampled nature the islands offer. Its history and location makes it home to some of the Earth’s unique geological sites. Where sheep outnumber human citizens, the country is largely untouched. New Zealand’s advantage of being a developed nation too puts it in a well-postured position to protect its ecological treasures.
In my last trip, I focused on skiing in Queenstown. I maximised my time there, squeezing in some sightseeing, a lot of shopping, and a seemingly endless supply of wine-tasting. However, I never lost sight of why I was there- to ski.
I am gearing up to go back for a long drive around both North and South Islands. It will be a whirlwind trip and I’m scrambling to still prioritise my itinerary. Three weeks is long, but perhaps not long enough to see as much as I wish to. While I don’t need to psych myself up anymore than I already am, I can’t help looking at my pictures from my first trip and thinking if that trip is any indicator, how wonderful this next one will be.
During a day of sightseeing, I visited Delhi’s Red Fort. As a SLR owner, I often find myself asked to help people take photos of their group. That day was no exception. I got asked by couples to snap shots. And it became so routine for me to just nod my agreement before the question is completed.
What a mistake. One guy and his friend approach, an arm holding the camera outstretched. He didn’t want me to help take a photo of him and his friend. He wanted to pose with me. By that point, I had already agreed. Dang. And once he was done, he and his friend swap places before I could blink. This friend started to lean over as if to throw his arm around my shoulder just before the camera shutter goes off. So I looked at my other side- I was already standing near the railing- mentally calculating how much maneuver room I have and whether I’d need to leap over the railing if the dude tried to pull off any stunt. When I looked up to face the camera, a queue of men with cameras out had formed!
During my time in Thailand and around, I laugh at my friends’ benefit when I find them to be object of curiosity amongst locals. As an Asian, I got away with inattention. Until India, apparently.
By the way, I didn’t let the line proceed. I told them I was going to charge 20 rupee for each additional photo. I could tell some of the guys were seriously contemplating it as they reluctantly scattered. Hey. If I’m paying the foreigner entrance fee of 250 rupee versus the local rate of 20 and end up being the attraction myself, I’d like to try to break even.