Wanderlust: Myanmar and the people

You guys, you are awesome people. I’ve been away for what seems ages with the occasional peep, and you have still come to visit. I’m just starting to catch up on all that’s been happening in the bloggy space – as well as start a newish job. Watch out for me, soon.

And what a trip that was! The colours, sounds, smells, sights, the sensory overload. The derring-do of solo travel. And the sheer fun.

I’ve just packed away the suitcase, realised I’ve really lost my phone (sob – it had so many food photos on it), still trying to revive Patrick the Sourdough Starter, and sorted through those 2500 photos. Now, how do I start to talk about the trip?

Perhaps, we’ll start with the people. Locals and travellers, only a few caught on camera but many more remembered.

Like this guy, energetically looking after me and a German backpacker on an epic 14 hour train ride, who drives a truck between towns in Northern Myanmar and has a girlfriend in Yangon. This photo caught him in a rare non-chatty moment.

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These women, one of whom offered us some jackfruit and laughed with me as I tried (and failed) to find legroom in between the luggage that filled all the space between the aisles and the seats.

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This little boy, who didn’t want to let us go as we walked past his house in a Palaung village.

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These children-turned-young-adults, who plied the tourist trade and wanted to go to university. The little woman remained friendly, confiding, and chased after the macaque monkeys that took one of my shoes (thank you!!).

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These people, who gave me lunch as the monsoon was coming, and made sure I had a dry seat at their roadside stall.

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A young man from Inle Lake, who is training to be a traditional Burmese puppeteer, and learning English and Chinese in his spare time. He taught me rudimentary puppetry – I could make one walk, sit, and nod – all very clumsily!

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The travellers I met along the way: the Dutch guy – who seemed impossibly tall and exotic to the Myanmar locals. The friends from Switzerland, swapping the Alps for the Shan mountains.

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The French couple who has been on the road for 16 months (yes, 16 months); the Cantonese couple who shared a breakfast table with me and gave me a tiny glimpse into the new wave of foreign investment in Myanmar; the girl from UK taking a break from volunteer / development work in nearby countries and talked cooking and everything else during an 8 hour bus ride.

Not to forget … this girl telling a story to a group of children.

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Contemplation at sunset, and a kodak moment with a rooster. Because, well, a rooster.

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Stay tuned, a new Wanderlust series is writing itself.

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46 thoughts on “Wanderlust: Myanmar and the people

  1. apuginthekitchen 20 July 2014 at 2:16 am Reply

    Wonderful trip, I love the photo’s. You were immersed in the culture and you have met what looks like some wonderful people. Very nice.

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 2:23 am Reply

      Thank you! It was amazing in many ways, I’m afraid of boring friends with all the stories! Myanmar is a beautiful country.

  2. Aneela Mirchandani 20 July 2014 at 2:34 am Reply

    Thanks your pictures were inspiring. Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 2:43 am Reply

      Aneela, it was a beautiful country. And still much less touristy than some other SE Asian countries like Thailand.

  3. Experienced Tutors 20 July 2014 at 3:54 am Reply

    Wonderful!

  4. chefjulianna 20 July 2014 at 5:20 am Reply

    Yeahhh, Saucy!! So happy you’re back and ready to share all of your exotic experiences in Myanmar. I just love the photos and you know, I think that when we travel, the people we encounter are always the most important part of the trip. I’m so glad that you started here. Thanks so much for bringing your experiences and photos to FF!

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 8:24 am Reply

      Chef!! I’m so happy you are hosting, did I tell you that you are my favourite host? 🙂
      And you are right, the people are so important, they can really make or break our time in a new country. Myanmar people were generally so friendly and wonderful, I’m already thinking about a trip back in the future!

      • chefjulianna 21 July 2014 at 5:26 am

        You are too kind, Saucy!! I have really been wanting to visit Myanmar as well. I have travelled in all of the surrounding countries, (almost) and would really love to get over there before it gets super touristy. But for now, my trips will be vicarious, through you! 🙂

  5. The Novice Gardener 20 July 2014 at 8:09 am Reply

    Sounds like an incredible adventure. I would love to travel this way one day, away from touristy stuff and really get to know the culture and people. Too bad about the phone. I lost my car & house keys, too, but that’s nothing compared to food photos! When you’re ready to co-host FF, lemme know. ❤

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 8:35 am Reply

      Angie, it was so much fun, I’m sure poor husband (who couldn’t get leave from work) is tired of “did I tell you this about Myanmar….” stories! But we plan to go there together some time so all is good.
      How about the first week in August for co-hosting, or any time after that? We are away next weekend (and I would make a bad co-host).

      • The Novice Gardener 20 July 2014 at 8:42 am

        Okay, sounds great! See if you can twist Sir’s arm again. I haven’t heard from him in a looong time, btw. Prolly my fault, I’ve fallen way behind in reading and visiting my fave peeps.

      • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 8:57 am

        Sure, consider it done.

  6. Hilda 20 July 2014 at 9:27 am Reply

    So good of you to share your beautiful travel photos – and no, the stories are not boring. I visited the country a few years ago with two daughters in tow. Train rides, a ferry up the Irawaddy, and a horrendous 16 hour bus ride were just part of it. We got as far as Bagan, but what an adventure! One of those daughters is seriously thinking of going back soon – I hope she does.

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 11:51 am Reply

      Wasn’t Bagan marvellous? And the bus/train rides were part of the adventure. Your daughter will have a great time if she goes back! If the country continues to open up, it will probably be quite different in a few years time, so I’ve been encouraging friends to visit soon.

  7. Margot @ Gather and Graze 20 July 2014 at 12:43 pm Reply

    What a wonderful adventure! Sounds like the people you came across (both local and foreign) were the highlights!? So great that you could visit Burma while it’s still relatively untouched and not so touristy – must have been amazing to see!

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 3:30 pm Reply

      Margot, it was one of the best holidays I’ve taken. The people were so friendly, I think I mostly paid local prices and there wasn’t the intense sales pitch that we got in Egypt… And so much of the country still seemed very different from say Australia, even small things like taking a motorbike taxi was a novelty. There’ll be a few more Myanmar posts in between the food posts. 🙂

  8. Hilda 20 July 2014 at 1:03 pm Reply

    That was my feeling 10 years ago or so. My mother was born there and my grandfather spent all his working life there, so I was keen to see it before it is totally transformed.

  9. Liz 20 July 2014 at 3:14 pm Reply

    fantastic! Sorry about your phone–did you find?

    • saucygander 20 July 2014 at 3:32 pm Reply

      No, the phone is probably looking for a new home somewhere in Myanmar…but it gave me the excuse to buy a new phone so not all bad?

  10. Noony 21 July 2014 at 12:56 am Reply

    The best part of traveling is usually the people you meet, especially natives. What an awesome trip, can’t wait to hear more about it. 🙂

    • saucygander 21 July 2014 at 4:06 pm Reply

      Thanks Noony, the people can make a trip really memorable. Lots more photos and stories coming! 🙂

  11. wuwutina 21 July 2014 at 2:00 am Reply

    This is amazing. I love all ur stories 🙂

  12. Pang 21 July 2014 at 4:52 am Reply

    I love your writing; it made me feel as if I was there with you the whole time. I can’t wait to read more about your trip. 🙂

    • saucygander 21 July 2014 at 10:06 am Reply

      Thanks Pang, this is such a sweet comment! I have lots more photos and stories coming, in between the food posts.

  13. Stacey Bender 21 July 2014 at 8:44 am Reply

    surreal. It felt surreal just reading. What a wonderful thing to immerse in another culture, absorb and recall. The phone will make someone (else) happy and with karma, who knows, you may see it again. Thanks for the share.

    • saucygander 21 July 2014 at 9:31 am Reply

      Stacey, it still feels surreal going back through the photos! And good point re phone, here’s hoping for good phone karma from all those Buddhist pagoda visits! 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  14. Fae's Twist & Tango 21 July 2014 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Amazing trip, amazing photos of “people”. Each picture says a thousand words.

    • saucygander 21 July 2014 at 3:47 pm Reply

      Thank you, Fae, for your lovely comment! It really was a special trip.

  15. Amanda 22 July 2014 at 3:58 am Reply

    Wow this is so beautiful. I can only imagine the impact a trip like this has on you. Welcome back. Wow.

    • saucygander 22 July 2014 at 8:02 am Reply

      Amanda, it was such a beautiful and friendly country, and so many things to see. I’m already thinking about when I might be able to go back!

  16. simplyvegetarian777 22 July 2014 at 6:25 am Reply

    What a great trip Saucy! Loved the pictures.

  17. Patty Nguyen 22 July 2014 at 6:35 am Reply

    Love these photos, Saucy! Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

  18. Michelle 22 July 2014 at 12:12 pm Reply

    I love that (vastly overused) quote about the world being a book and those who don’t travel reading only one page of it. Clearly you get it. Can’t wait for more travel reports and photos!

    • saucygander 27 July 2014 at 1:55 pm Reply

      Michelle, thank you! I’m hoping to put some of my impressions and thoughts on paper (or blog) before they start to fade. Glad to hear you like these posts!

  19. Aditi 23 July 2014 at 3:39 am Reply

    What a wonderful post, Saucy. Beautiful pictures.Hope your phone is only lost in the luggage and you find it?

  20. […] write about real life, I read your blogs for vicarious reasons. Thanks to your posts, I’ve traveled to places I may never see, read books I’ve yet to hear of, grown gardens I can’t manage to grow myself, tried new […]

  21. Mary Frances 24 July 2014 at 3:22 am Reply

    Fabulous people, scenery and food are the makings of the perfect trip. Looks like you’re having a blast- except for the lost phone of course!

  22. Karen 29 July 2014 at 4:26 am Reply

    Welcome back home from your truly exotic adventure…loved the photos.

  23. polianthus 29 July 2014 at 6:03 am Reply

    wonderful to have you back Saucy, I have been wondering what you have been up to, it’s been ages since you posted, and now i know why. looks like you had a wonderful trip!

  24. […] Saucy Gardener’s Wanderlust which is making me yearn for travels of my […]

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