The rocky road to Mandalay is full of potholes and the traffic is slow. The land is also full of pitfalls for lesbigay natives in Burma who know little about gay pride and sexual identity. The gentle guys and virtually invisible lesbians are naive and secretive. But 2015 brought democratic elections and a new Parliament
Burma’s political system remained under the tight control of a military-led government since 1962. No free elections were allowed until November 2015 when Burma/Myanmar held a reasonably peaceful election in which the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) won an absolute majority of seats in parliament that ensured its preferred nominees will be elected president and first vice president. The party’s leader is Aung San Suu Kyi.
Homosexuality is illegal in Burma. For the past 50 years the authoritarian nature of the government made it difficult to obtain accurate information about the legal or social status of LGBT Burmese citizens. There are numerous laws that prohibit spreading a sexually transmitted disease, committing “a public nuisance, making, selling, or distributing “obscene” material, buying or selling a prostitute under the age of eighteen or anything that might affect the morality of an individual, society or the public in a negative way. Currently no organized LGBT political or social organization can exist. There is some hope for change under the new government but Burma’s social mores about human sexuality have been described as being very conservative. Nevertheless there are LGBT activists who have been working in the shadows. What will happen next is uncertain as of December 2015.
Bagan is an ancient city located in central Burma/Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 4,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries
Rangoon/Yangon is the country’s largest city with a population of over five million, and is the most important commercial center. The former military government officially relocated the capital 250 miles north to a brand new town called Naypyidaw in March 2006. Although Yangon’s infrastructure is weak compared to other major cities in south-east Asia, it
More images of Rangoon/Yangon, the country’s former capital and largest city. The new capital is called Naypyidaw, 250 mles north of Rangoon, built in 2006. General elections in Myanmar in November 2015 were won by the National League for Democracy, the first free election in fifty years. The leader is Aung San Suu Kyi.
The monastery is about eleven miles south of Mandalay city. The religious lecture hall in the eastern side of the monastery has a seven-tiered roof. The monastery was built on 267 teak posts. The monastery is (118) feet long and (103) feet wide. The entire monastery is decorated with carvings. floral arabesques, ornamentation of curved
A few miles south of Mandalay city are the green forests of Sagaing Hill, once the capital. The hills are covered with hundreds of white and gold stupas. The vast area is well known as a retreat from the world for monks and visitors. Nearby is U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak footbridge that
Eight miles south of Mandalay city is the Maha Ganayon Kyaung Monastery. It is not an outstanding monastery with exotic shrines and temples. It is more known because of its closed proximity to the city making it convenient for many tourists–mostly Japanese–to show up at breakfast time to gawk at the hundreds of monks lining
Shwe In Bin Kyaung Monastery is a beautifully carved teak monastery. Commissioned in 1895 by a pair of wealthy Chinese jade merchants, the central building stands on thick tree-trunk poles. The highly detailed pointed ‘steeple’ soars to a majestic 75′ completely integrated of carved pieces. Balustrades and roof cornices are richly decorated with high-relief figures
Bagan, one of the world’s wonder places with it enormous 26-square mile plain where more than 2000 temples, shrines and stupas still stand, many from the tenth century. It is 120 miles south of Mandalay and is accessed by boat, roadway and air. The variety of structures, the designs and the craftsmanship are hard take
More images from Bagan, one of the world’s wonder places with it enormous 26-square mile plain where more than 2000 temples, shrines and stupas still stand, many from the tenth century. It is 120 miles south of Mandalay and is accessed by boat, roadway and air. The variety of structures, the designs and the craftsmanship
The drive from Bagan to Inle Lake is an 8-hour adventure in rural Burma, full of roadside attractions including a tacky lunch stop, road repairs, overloaded cargo trucks, wandering animals, dense forests, winding mountain roads, death-defying truck drivers, a broken van spring (ours), police checkpoints…and finally into Inle Lake and the town of Naungshwe on
Inle Lake is 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. It is the largest fresh water lake in the country, serves as home to thousands of fisher-folks and farmers, monks, artisans and crafts people, families with children/students as well as one of Burma’s main tourist destinations. The diversity of sights more than satisfies any visitor
More views of Inle Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the country. It serves as home to thousands of fisher-folks and farmers, monks, artisans and crafts people, families with children/students as well as one of Burma’s main tourist destinations. The diversity of sights more than satisfies any visitor from huge sprawling merchandise markets, silversmith