We were walking around the beach when we saw this little girl running around and playing on the rocks while her mom was busy selling trinkets nearby. She stood out in her pink dress, running back and forth, full of energy. When we got near, she became shy and hid behind her mom. After we came over to say hi, she got over her shyness and once again started running around. Here she is posing for me in a perfect jumping shot.
Every year on the night of the full moon in November, everyone in Myanmar celebrates Ta Zaung Dine, a festival of light. Away from the glare of the neon lights, the big orange moon shines extra bright. Each house was lit up by candles, lanterns, and strings of colorful lights. People of all ages gathered to see the paper lanterns floating down the river. Occasionally fireworks and sparklers would go up to the cheering crowds. By the market, the atmosphere is even more festive where families bring their kids out to eat, buy new clothes and play games.
After traveling for 11 days, we were ready for some R&R at the beach. Arriving at the beautiful Hilton Resort in Ngapali, we were pleasantly surprised that our status as a Gold member got us upgraded to a villa with a private pool facing the ocean. This sleepy fishing village is everything that we could hope for, crystal clear ocean, fine white sand, and peace and quiet to recharge for a few days before heading back to work.
This morning Fausto had a little celebrity moment when he came out of the temple and ran into a bus load of locals on their way in. They were quite excited to see a white person, so they started to shake his hand and take pictures of him. Then everyone wanted to be in the photo with him. One lady took possession of his arm and wouldn’t let go. I was relegated to the sideline while Fausto soaked in the limelight. Then another white guy walked by and they couldn’t decide who to take pictures with, so they got both of them to pose together. It was a little surreal, we were not sure what was going on, but I think Fausto enjoyed himself.
This morning we woke up early and rode our bikes out to one of the temples to watch the sunrise, and were rewarded with the sight above. The hot air balloons rising over the temples of Bagan in the early morning makes for a magnificent sight. In addition, with the thick fog rolling in from the river, it also creates a sense of mystique to the whole shot.
You know the expression “…until the cows come home”? It means having to wait a long time for something. Well, today I saw a literal enactment of this idiom when all the cars and buses on their way to see the sunset at Pya Tha Da Pagoda had to wait patiently for the cows to make their way home.
In the small village of Mingun, just an hour boat ride north of Mandalay, you can catch an ox cart taxi to take you around town. Even though the town is small, it is famous for the unfinished Pahtodawgyi Pagoda. The King at the time wanted to build the largest temple in the world that would rival the Great Pyramids of Giza. His ambitious project drained local resources and was an unpopular undertaking. When he passed away, the pagoda was left unfinished and currently stands as an impressively gigantic dilapidated pile of bricks.
This photo was inspired by one I saw when I first looked up Mandalay, and one of the reasons why I wanted to come to this city. Getting up at 4 am, stumbling around in the dark and falling in the mud was totally worth it when we got to see the sunrise over the world’s longest teak bridge spanning 1.2 km across the Taungthaman lake.
This picture is of the citadel at the corner of Mandalay palace. The sun was just setting as we drove by and I couldn’t help but admire this scene. Intense colors, scattering clouds, and a clear lake created a setting for this stunning photo.
We were fortunate to be visiting In Dain during a festival. People traveled from villages all over the Inle lake region to congregate at the temple. Women got dressed up in their finest garb; men set up the family shrine and sat back and had drinks with their friends; while kids ran around in excitement. The mood was festive. As the afternoon approached, the sound of the drums got louder. Monks from all around came and joined the procession going from the top of the temple down to the market area. As they walked by, bowls of alms filled with rice are offered to the Buddhist monks, some of whom are quite young.