Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Road to Mandalay: Bumpy and Beautiful

Mandalay, Burma
August 15-18

I had this romantic image of Mandalay in my head based on the famous poems, songs and references about "the road to Mandalay" over the last century. It was the on again, off again capital of Burma and famously occupied by the British for about 50 years, not to mention rich history is holds to the Burmese with the many pagodas, the ancient royalty and their palace and expansive grounds.

Despite the nostalgia Mandalay conjures up in my thoughts, the reality was unfortunately quite different. Like Yangon, the city has been through wars, had serious lack of general upkeep by the corrupt Burmese government, and like the rest of the country the majority of people are poor and have little resources to make their own homes and properties nice.

Jenny and I were unfortunately very ill while we were here and barely left our hotel room in 48 hours. Finally day 3, our last day, we forced ourselves to do some sight seeing. Mandalay Palace, Mandalay Hill for sunset and the famous and "blacklisted" comedy show The Mustache Brothers (this is a whole other story in itself well worth checking out the link that I just provided).

The above views were taken from the top of Mandalay Hill. It is a great place to watch the sunset over the Irrawaddy River and see the life below.

The above photos were taken in the same style I took the other reflection photos from the Shwendagon Pagoda that I posted a few weeks ago.

The temple in covered in gold and colorful mirrors. As you can see the golden light hitting the golden temples is magical and exotic.

The above and below photos are taken of the Mandalay Palace. This palace has a very sordid past. It was the built by and inhabited by the last 2 kings of Burma until its occupation by British troops, only then to be destroyed in WWII. Today it has all been rebuild and renovated and is a tourist attraction. The above photo is looking onto palace property. The entire palace is surrounded by a moat, which I by the way thing is awesome and would like to have one around my house someday.

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