Thursday, February 10, 2011

Minglabar from Myanmar

Minglarbar is how we greet people in Myanmar. When Myanmar was a colony of the English it was called Burma. People often ask us, “How many languages do you speak?” We are very lucky that we speak English because it is the most common second language in the world. In Myanmar some people speak English very well while others only know enough words to do their jobs. Many signs and products in Myanmar are in English. Each day at Amazing Resorts in Ngapali we got a free bag of potato chips made in Myanmar. They are called Texan Barbecue Style and everything was written in English. The European guests at the hotel have to know some English so they can order their meals and make other arrangements. With English it is possible to go anywhere in the world.

Another question people frequently ask us is about the food. Most hotels in Asia serve food that appeals to all nationalities. At Amazing Resort we can order spaghetti, steak, and chicken, along with some Myanmar food. We think it is easier to find American food in most places in the world than it is for people from Myanmar, Indian, Malaysia and other countries to find their favorite food while traveling in the United States.

At night we love to watch the sun set on the Bay of Bengal. When it gets dark, on the horizon where the sea and sky meet, there are nearly 100 twinkling lights. Ms. Nilar, our waitress, explained that they are the lights from fishing boats. The fishermen from the many nearby villages fish at night because the lights from the boats attract the fish. Then one night there were no lights. We asked Ms. Nilar what happened and she said that it was full moon. The moon light is so bright on the water that the fish are all spread out so the fishing is not good. Full Moon Days are important in the Buddhist religion because many important events in the life of Buddha happened on Full Moon Days. On Full Moon Day there is no school.

We were in Myanmar in January. The sea was warm and during the day it was 75 to 85. However, the local people think it is cold. Foreigners are in bathing suits while the local people have coats on. We told them “If you think 80 is cold then you will not like snow.” “Oh, no,” they say, “We dream that one day we can see snow.” Another interesting thing is the foreigners try to get a tan while the local people cover up because they don’t want their skin to get darker. In fact, they even sell “skin-whitening” cream. We like to say, “As a rule man’s a fool. When it’s hot he likes it cool. When it is cool he wants it hot. Always wanting what is not!”

One day we went to visit a small Buddhist monastery across from our hotel. There were two boys studying with the teachers. The boys, Ein Da Thor Mi and Jei Wa Ta were learning Buddhist prayers. Buddhists live a very simple life spending most of their time praying and studying. They did not know many words in English but they had an English-Myanmar dictionary so we could communicate a little.

There are many interesting things to see. Myanmar does not trade with many countries so most things are made in Myanmar. Imagine a country with no fast food chains. Most of the vehicles are very old. The hotel van started out as a Chevrolet during World War II and today it is a mix of parts from many vehicles and is still running. The world is very interesting.