From 16th to 30th March 2008, me and my wife made "Mingalabar Burma" tour (you pronounce it mingalaba and it means hello in Burmese),
organized by Rallo Viaggi tour operator. It was an individual tour, just for us and we were accompanied at all times by the guide spoken Italian
and by a driver who changed every time we moved along the country.
We left Rome Fiumicino airport, on Sunday 16th, for Kuala Lumpur (11 hours flight time) and from there we've moved to Yangon (2 and a half hours flight time), the capital of Burma. I would like to precise, for those who are not so good in Geography that from 1989 Burma is officially called Myanmar. Also some cities and rivers in the meantime changed their names. Yangon isn't even the capital anymore, although it is the biggest city by far. The capital has now been moved to Pyinmana, now called Naypyidaw ( king's royal city).
It was already the day after, 17th March and the jat lag was more than 5 hours from our home time. We've passed through the airport formalities
quickly and without any control of authorities and out of the gate Luigi, our guide, was waiting for us. He is from Shan ethnic group and he is
Catholic, not so usual in Myanmar where the majority of the population is Buddhist.
We spend two days, 18th and 19th, in Bangan (the previous name was Pagan), one of the richest monuments areas in the world. During our stay in Bagan, we made a balloon flight and an excursion to Mt. Poppa (you will find two pages dedicated).
From 20th to 23th we were in Mandalay, the ancient capital of the Burma before the english occupation. We weren't in Mandalay all four days because we made an excursion with car in Monywa city, visiting also many places along the way, where we have reserved 21th March (page dedicated). 23th we visited Mingun.
24th we took a plane from Mandalay to Heho, a little village where you can find the principal airport for the touristic places of Pindaya, Kalaw and Inle lake. That day we've visited Pindaya and slept in Kalaw.
25th and 26th March we stayed in the Lake Inle in the state Shan, definatelly a special place, where the life goes on the water: there you can find living places, hotels, restaurants, monastirs, markets…everything, everything on the water.
27th was the eleventh day of our tour, we've moved by plane from Heho to the Yangon airport. We didn't visit the centre of the city becuse we've moved by car toward Kyaittiyo, to visit the famous Golden Rock.
28th March, by car, we've returned, passing by Bago, to Yangon, and the day after, 29th, we've moved to Kuala Lumpur (6 hours waiting for the flight to Rome) and at the end we arrived in Rome the next day, 30th March at 6 a.m..
This beautiful jorney was finished. The nice thing of going around the world is that journeys are longer that we think…they stay in our minds…as long as we live.
Burma in my memoriesI am writing this addendum in the second half of March 2018. Exactly ten years ago I was in Burma, more precisely on Lake Inle. Travel photos and memories flood my memory. It was a truly memorable journey. I was only at the beginning of my career as a traveler and this is certainly one of the reasons why I was so impressed with this trip. Subsequently, I visited many other countries, cities and regions, but Burma is high on my list of preferences for the places I have been to.
We arrived in the country shortly after the embarrassing political developments, but after that the situation began to stabilize, return to normal and, over time, some steps were taken towards democracy. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was a symbol of the Burma people's struggle for freedom and also had the Nobel Peace Prize, first managed to gain his personal freedom and later became the president of the country. Unfortunately, things have started to deteriorate recently and many victims and refugees from one of the Muslim faith nations that make up this multiethnic state have been reported. I do not want to express my judgment here on what is happening there, because, among other things, I do not have a detailed view of the situation. I just want to express my regret that such a wonderful country cannot solve its internal problems.
Today is Workers' Day. The year is 2021. For lunch we will have guests, a couple we have been friends with for many years. My wife is in the kitchen preparing various meals to properly celebrate this day. I've tidied up the apartment a bit. A good husband should help his wife when guests arrive: she doesn't have time to do everything. After doing what I was entrusted with, here I am at the keyboard. Unfortunately due to the circumstances, Burma, now Myanmar, is still in the spotlight of world public opinion, and so also in my thinking. In early February, the army seized power there and turned against the population. Members of the democratically elected government ended up in prison. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. In the beginning, news from that Asian country was always in the foreground. Numerous people are killed, often in a barbaric way. Here, three months after the coup, everything falls by the wayside. The news is rare and short. We are still in contact with our guide Gigi, who despite the blocked Internet, occasionally manages to send some messages and photos of what is happening there. The situation is getting worse every day and the number of victims is constantly increasing.