Feeling tall & Freeing birds in Mandalay

Trip Start Nov 21, 2013
Trip End Dec 16, 2013

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Monday, November 25, 2013

I have been in Burma for just about 48hrs, and I am in love. I am in love with it's beauty, its food and its people. I have traveled quite a bit and I can’t say that I have met more gentle people anywhere else in the world. Coming from the intense and crazy metropolitan city of Bangkok, it is a breath of fresh air to land in Mandalay in northern Burma. Second largest city in the country but it certainly doesn't feel that way. There is no traffic, no skyscrapers no smog and there is no fast food or shopping malls. But there is 100's if not thousands of temples and pagodas.

I quickly meet a fun and upbeat Dutch woman named Minnemijn and we hit it off instantly. She's super fun, spunky and bubbly with amazing curly blond hair. We find a taxi driver/guide called Winn that takes us around Mandalay. Winn is a 40-year old Burmese man that has learned English just by listening to english speaking movies, likes shrimp and is a devout Buddhist. Minnemeijn and I go crazy with our cameras, snapping away images of locals covered in thanakha (natural whitening, anti-aging, anti-pimple paste cream that also works as a sunscreen), temples, pagodas and monks. We marvel the beauty of the city and it's surroundings (there are trees everywhere!) and try to learn a few words in the native language. It pretty much sounds like a Swedish person is imitating English (wrah wrah wraaah wraaahhhh) with a few "kah" and clicking sounds mixed in. Quite unlike any other language I have ever heard. 

Winn guides us trough some history of the temples, local costumes and he also gives us a crash course in Burmese Buddhist Meditation techniques. '-One must practice non-attachement or else one will be caught in the karmic wheel forever', You might even be born as an animal next life' he says and shakes his head. -" if you don't want to be sick in your next life, then help a person that is ill, if you don't want to be poor in your next life, then donate some money to someone less fortunate than yourself". Having this fresh in my mind I do my good deed for the day and pay a little boy one dollar to let one of his birds free that he carries around in a cage. I do want to be free in my next life after all! 

 Everywhere we go we get greeted by a smile and the word "Minglaba" meaning prosperity, blessing or anything auspicious, joyous and festive blessings to you. So beautiful and sweet. We minglaba ourselves all the way up the 1000+ steps to the stunning Mandalay Hill where one gets blessed with a 360 degree view of the city and the site of an amazing temple adorned with tiny mirrors that shimmers like gold in the late afternoon sun. Up on top, both Minnemijn and I get asked to pose for pictures (!) and I feel tall. It's an amazing feeling. I heart Burma.

Peace, Love and Minglaba to you all!


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Lennart Malmi on

Wow Micaela,
Längtar såååå efter nästa "rapport"...

Kram från oss alla!

kristen kurtz on

sounds amazing. thanks for sharing and i now heart burma too!:))

Farmor on

Agradezco mi parte de tu Minglaba y espero que te acompañe durante el resto del viaje

swedishvagabond on

Farmor! Önskar att du kunde följa med mig på nästa resa!!!
Besitos y Abrazos

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