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Entries in Myanmar (139)


Got It

Got my visa for Myanmar yesterday and now all systems are truly GO. I leave next Wednesday evening for Yangon, spend one night, and then slowly make my way up to Sagaing Division with old friend, world-class ornithologist, and technical advisor of WCS-Myamar Program, Rob Tizzard. Was pleased to see that the Myanmar consulate is now issuing nice, neat, computer-generated visas. 

The last time I got a Myanmar visa, in May of 2009, everything was written by hand. There weren't a lot of people that needed visas in those days. I must say, the handwritten, multiply-stamped and signed, old Myanmar visa certainly makes a wonderful passport page. 


Naga Hills


1067 m (more or less) 

Hope I'm not getting ahead of myself here as my visa won't be ready until Thursday. Fingers crossed. Google Earth image (above) shows the region in Sagaing Division, Myanmar where I will be heading in two weeks. Flying into Hkamti airport along the Upper Chindwin and then hiking for several days to get into the Naga Self-Administered Zone to start a community forestry project. Naga people represent 17 tribes inhabiting northeastern India (yellow line in satellite image is Indian border) and northwestern (Kachin State, Sagaing Division), Myanmar.  


Somewhere On The Way To Yangon

One of the many stops that we made on the way to Yangon on the infamous Mandalay Express train ride (see Mandalay Express). Don't remember the name of the town. I remember that Andrew got off to buy some peanuts or something while I was leaning out the window taking pictures,  and that the train started to leave. A bit of anxiety that Andrew might not make it back on the train.  


First Stake

This image is the starting point of this one. The first of 20 stakes set along the baseline of the Village Management Area (VMA) at Shinlonga (see Holding the Rope and Shortwing Camp). Each stake 100 m apart, carefully laid out, and cleared, with slope corrections and paint and flagging. Monumental effort. [NOTE: Judging from the background in the photo, it looks like we had to cut through a rattan thicket to set this stake].


How To Make A Plant Drier

So we had just come out of the Hukaung Valley Tiger Preserve with a lot of plant specimens in plastic bags drenched in FAA (formalin and acetic acid), and we needed to dry them before heading back to Yangon and New York. We found a local carpenter in Tanai (see Tolagyi Tour of Tanai) and sketched out what we needed. Essentially a box with a metal bottom and air holes that we could put a heat source (charcoal burners) under and dry the specimens. Turned out really nice. [NOTE: There's a story about what happened here, but I'll save that for another time. Bet you can guess].


Couple of Things

Couple of things. First, you may have noticed that I changed the header image. Have only done this three times. Seems to happen every two or three years. Image was taken by my Cambodian student, Neak Phearoom (see Earrings, Silk Scarf, and Maybe a Buddha), in the ruins of Banteay Srei (see Banteay Srei) at Angkor Wat. Second, I re-visited my pictures from the 2005 rattan survey in northern Myanmar (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey) yesterday and found that there are still a lot of nice images that I have never posted. So, image above is from Namyun, near the border with India, the morning we started walking south down the Ledo Road. Large black duffel bag on the left behind the mahout contains my tent, my sleeping bag, my clothes, a few books (e.g. The Best Buddhist Writing 2005), and a Spiegel relaskop. A lot of anticipation that day. [NOTE: And then, a quick drink of water and off we go].


Rattan Collectors

We met these guys walking down the Ledo Road (see Ledo Road) in 2005 and stopped to talk them about the different rattan species that they were harvesting. We were somewhere south of Mile 21 Camp, I think (see Hukaung Vista). Lot of great hats in this picture. And the subtle cheroot held behind the back. 


Coke In Myanmar

Just heard this morning that Coca-Cola has opened a bottling plant outside of Yangon. For the first time in 60 years, you can now buy a Coke in Myanmar. From Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola chairman and CEO: "we are deeply honored to reintroduce Coca-Cola to Myanmar and begin to become a growing part of the fabric of life here". Don't know how I feel about this. As a benchmark, shown above is a photo from downtown Yangon in 2004, i.e. pre-Coca-Cola signage. We'll see how this goes. 


Other Week: Day 5

Original Post: Kachin Portrait
Date: October 15, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Not much to say about this image.  Its early afternoon on the Ledo Road and this Kachin woman is carrying a huge basket of firewood. She is also shyly tickled that I am taking her picture. [NOTE: I really like this shot]. 

[NOTE2: Happy Memorial Day to everyone. I will probably continue my "Other Week" posts next week. Still so much great stuff to re-visit].


Packing Up In Shimbweyeng

Was rummaging through some of the video cassettes from the 2005 rattan survey in northern Myanmar (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey) and found a bunch of really nice footage. This clip shows a foggy morning in Shimbweyeng as we pack up the truck for our long drive back to Tanai (see Tolagyi Tour of Tanai). A lot of the bags being loaded on the truck are full of rattan specimens in plastic bags soaked in FAA (formalin-acetic acid-alcohol). All of the people and all of the bags were transported in this truck. We stood up in the back on top of our bags for about 7 hours. [NOTE: I'll post more videos as I slowly work through this material. I am ready to go back].