Mawlamyine is a riverside village where the author George Orwell once resided. I would say it is not on most peoples trek in Myanmar but it has certainly been one of my favorites. It feels old and colonial. There are plenty of riverside places to eat and have a beer with the locals. Sitting one night watching the sunset on the boardwalk, one of the locals came over to me and offered me some of his food. It’s kind of hard not to love this place. I even found a place that serves real coffee.
One day I was lucky enough to get a tour by a grandfather-like gentleman by the name of Anthony (Not his real name. His American name so us foreigners can pronounce it). He is 73 years old with the energy of a 20 year old. He is the kind of guy that will go out his way to make you feel comfortable much like my own grandmother. I went with him for the day to the an island village pronounced “Ogrrr Island” in the middle of the river. He knew everyone and their whole life story. We went into locals homes where they cooked all types of local cuisines and we saw how things were manufactured in manual laborious ways. I got to see woodcrafting, the making of rubber bands, slate making, and “longya” weaving. The thing about Tony is that he wants to make sure that you get enough to eat. Each place we stopped he wouldn’t stop piling food on your plate. He even would scrape food off his own plate onto yours as to make sure you got uncomfortably full. You were left politely saying, “No more! Please! My belly is about to literally explode. Thank you very much. Seriously, no more. Thank you! Thank you!” Then 20 minutes later we were eating again. On our route to the next destination, we saw a lotus patch on a beautiful lake where he had someone wade in the water to get us lotus flowers. Those weren’t the only gifts we received that day. He gave us handcrafted wooden pens, school board slates for writing, fruit, and even roofing tiles. He kept trying to give us more and more gifts which he called “thank you” gifts. I kept saying I don’t have anymore room in pack to carry these thank you gifts but thank you. His niceness is very hard to refuse though. Now, I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do will all my thank you gifts.
Tony pointed to this picture and was really excited about it. He said I should take a picture of it so I asked him to stand in front of it. It says “don’t stay like this, stay like this.” In other words, don’t be upset, be happy and smile. That is the Myanmar way.
Local craftsman making tobacco pipes out of wood.
Rubber Band Factory. The rubber is drying in the sun before being pulled off and cut. Myanmar has many rubber tree farms.
Our tuk tuk for exploring the island.
Local going into the water to get us some lotus flowers.
The women always sit sideways on the scooters. You would be surprised how many people can fit on one of these.
Perfect umbrella hat. It can block the sun and rain for you and a friend.
Very happy couple. Even the animals are happy in Myanmar 🙂
My $8/night room with Breakfast Included.
Beautiful Pagoda on top of the hill where we watched the sunset
Largest Laying Buddha in Myanmar – 40 minute scooter ride. I don’t think they get too many foreigners there. Note the size of the people on the sidewalk. Locals were snapping photos of us. There was even a giant waterslide that went into a murky green pool.