…continued from: Travels through Myanmar IX – The Almost Perfect Storm
A few extra shots from the ferry ride from Mandalay to Bagan. Admittedly, not the greatest photos technically, and the white balance was off for most of them, but some of the best memories I have of Myanmar nonetheless. These first few from the Village Of Watermelons, where I really started just having fun. All taken with a simple 50mm lens, no cropping, it is as it is. As you look through the shots, realize you’re looking at some of the most oppressed people in the world, living under one of the last military regimes in power in the world today. Notice the smiles on many of the faces, and imagine the laughter in the air at each and every stop. Yes, they are poor – most, if not all, of these villages having no electricity, very few phones, and very few “modern luxuries”. Forget the internet, TV’s, refrigerators, dish washers, and iPads. It’s not even to that point. Forget paved roads, basic healthcare, clean water, a guaranteed meal tomorrow. …and yet they smile. They laugh and they live life the best they can. It can’t be easy and I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like, but even under those circumstances, I can’t help but be jealous just a little bit. They have what most societies have lost. A sense of and appreciation of life itself. The joy of living, and living in that moment, the present, not worrying about what tomorrow may bring. A society which supports, helps and looks after each other. A society where your neighbor is your family, no matter what or how little your actual family has …and you share with a smile, and a laugh, and everyone takes care of everyone else, no matter what the government says, does or wants. The ferry is their main lifeline to the modern world, and seeing the people from this lifeline was an extraordinary experience, so say the least.
At this point, if your saying to yourself “Where’s the story?”, “What’s up with all these crappy pictures without a story to explain why they are so crappy?”. Well, these are just a few extra pictures from these two posts:
• Munchkin Banana Pirates &
• The Almost Perfect Storm
PS: I bet your grandmother couldn’t carry a basket that size on her head while walking down a slippery plank, over water, bare foot, muddy foot, wet foot, carrying an extra bag and holding her dress up 🙂
← …skill I’ve only seen here, in Myanmar, and in West Africa.
…also notice the double bag head carry wet muddy bare foot woman in the picture below ↓ …skill people, skill.
The picture to the right, as well as the picture below, taken after “The Almost Perfect Storm”
…notice the erosion from the extreme and quick rise in the river. I’m tellin’ ya …it was bad. This is where the gang-planks became bridges, gulp.
…this is also the “Village of Houses made Entirely of Wicker and/or thatched palm-type fronds and made Two and Three Stories Tall, Awesome!!!”
Up above ↑, one for prosperity, definitely not for sharpness, the back of the boat – the green counter is the “restaurant”, the two Italian ladies kicking back, Nit, the Thai girl looking mad on the left, the locals all around.
← …towards the front of the boat. No, that’s not a working fridge. This is in the afternoon, where everyone is spread out with plenty of room. A few hours before there were about a hundred people or more packed into this space.
Down below ↓,
The Village of Cabbages.
OK folks. I could do this forever, or at least 30, 40 or 50 more pictures. The moral of this story: everyone made it through safe. We had fun, as well as the local people, with the local people actually. →
We saw a lot of sites, experienced a lot of, well, experiences. We saw how the local people travel, trade and live. We shared their food and drink. We shared our food and drink. We laughed, we oooohhed and aaahhed, we clicked away (or at least I did). An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Did it suck at times? Absolutely, but that is life, and we were just doing this for seven hours, or eight, maybe nine, up to ten …only fifteen hours. Well worth it and highly recommended if you have the chance, and well worth making the time if you are in the area.
The waitress/cashier/busgirl has put in a full day and she is going back to bed ↓ …well deserved, and a hard worker
for her age, scratch that, a hard worker for any age.
If you’ve gotten this far, don’t stop reading now!!! Only one, maybe two, posts to go. It’s off to Bagan, the capital of an empire, an age, a religion. I’ll leave you with the last pictures I took on the ferry. It’s late, it’s dark, everyone is tired but excited. The waitress/cashier/dishwasher/busgirl going to bed, and a comparison for how small she really is, if you don’t know that by now – sorry about the ugly foot :). I tipped her 10 Kyat (about US 5 cents). Told her to put it in her pocket. She wouldn’t do it, she doesn’t steal from her mother, her boss. She wouldn’t put it in her pocket, she needs to feed her family. I took it back and put it in her pocket for her. Her mother smiled. She smiled. I smiled. Coffee served with a memory that will last a lifetime. Starbucks has nothing on her …as I think of those tipjars which I absolutely abhor. God, I hope this wasn’t the ferry that went down (see the end of: “The Almost Perfect Storm“).
…to be continued.
Next Edition: Travels through Myanmar XI – Bagan …coming soon.