Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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.

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 at Amazing Resorts, explained that the lights are from fishing boats. The fishermen from the many nearby villages fish at night because the lights 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.

One day we went to visit the fishing village. It was in the middle of the day so it was quiet. The fishermen were sleeping waiting for night when it was time to go fishing. In the morning they bring in the fish and then some of the fish are packed in ice and sent to the cities but local people also come to the dock to buy fresh fish.

One day we heard music and cymbals so we rushed out onto the street to see what was going on. It was a funeral procession for the head monk from the Buddhist monastery that was across from our hotel. The procession was impressive. A few days before we went to visit one of their Buddhist temples that was nearby. Buddhist temples are very beautiful. There are many temples in Myanmar because most of the people belong to the Buddhist religion.

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. 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!”

Walking on the beach is interesting. The beach is about two miles long with a little pagoda on a rock at one end and a mermaid statue on a rock at the other end. Sometimes we stop to talk to a Buddhist monk other times we watch people fixing their boats. People are very friendly.

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.