Myanmar

Surprise! We are in Myanmar! After tossing around the idea of whether or not to go to Myanmar Kevin and I decided to go after we saw that plane tickets into and out of the country were fairly cheap. We arrived in Mandalay eager to explore the new country and hopefully experience something different and man is this country different!
Even though we are only two days into our Myanmar experience it has already proven much different than Thailand. Most of the difference I think stems from the fact that tourism has not spread to Myanmar as much as it has in Thailand. Most of this difference we feel manifests itself in our interactions between people. For the most part I think people here are not yet accustomed to seeing westerners. During even a normal walk down the street we get stares from every passing pedestrian and driver. When we enter a restaurant or convenience stores the owners always seem to be as confused as we are, wondering why we would be in their shop and what they should do about it.
However mystified the people are about are presence here the people, of Mandalay at least, are the kindest people I have ever met! I have never received as many “hellos” or “good days” as I have here in this country. Also people enjoy coming up and striking conversation with us. There is not a lot of English spoken here but those who know a little love practicing with foreigners.
During our stay in Mandalay we did a lot of walking. Partly because we are cheapos and partly because their isn’t really a system for public transportation in the city. My favorite place that we visited was Mandalay Hill. It involved a rather long and strenuous walk up concrete stairs without shoes on. At the top we were rewarded with awesome views of the Mandalay area from a temple and these adorable little kittens.
Another favorite spot of mine was a temple the name of which I accidentally don’t remember. We stumbled upon it while we were strolling throughout the city It apparently contains 1776 of these stupas, each of which contains a granite page of writing. These essentially make the temple into one enormous book, the biggest book in the world!
Our stay in Mandalay was reallllllyyy short but it was time to head to Inke Lake forms more laid back environment.

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