Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beach holiday in Myanmar

To finish our holiday in Myanmar before returning to the busy pace in Yangon, we spent three days on the lovely beaches of Ngapoli, in Rakhaing state. Ngapoli reminded us of the pristine beaches we had found in Mexico thirty-five years ago. White sand, small huts where women cook and serve delicious fish on the beach and long open spaces where development has not yet started to spoil things as in most beach resort areas.The water was warm and wonderful to bathe in early in the morning and all through the day. Further down the beach there are bigger hotels hotels being built but so far they respect the environment and  buildings are low, hidden discretely among the palm trees.
The main industry here is fishing. Every evening hundreds of wooden boats head out to fish small fish and squid. Their lights dot the horizon all night long. In the morning, walking through the little village down the road, we saw women spreading the tiny fish out on large blue mats so they can dry in the sun.
The smell of drying fish was strong everywhere. These will be stored and used during the rainy season, when the boats cannot go out as the seas are too rough. That is from about June to September.

                       Fish dinner on Ngapoli beach, Myanmar wine and boats on the horizon

                                                   Women selling fruit on the beach

Then  onto Yangon for the two last days in Myanamar. And no better time to visit than during the Water Festival, where all of Myanmar goes crazy, spraying water from hoses, water guns and water bottles. Every is happy, the stores and tea shops are closed, and water stations are on every street corner. Truck loads of people drive through these stations, music blaring and hoses spraying them until everyone is soaked. The majority of people were dressed in Western clothes, a big change from what they wear the rest of the time, when traditional longyi is the norm. No one is spared. As we walked through the streets of Yangon we were doused with bottles of water that were pored down our necks, or by buckets that were thrown at us. On the train that we took to drive around the outskirts of Yangon, and that stops at 38 stations, water was poured into the wagon at every station. There are no windows on these old trains so everyone got soaked. And even in our taxi on the way to the airport, the taxi driver kept his window down. Once again we got drenched and were wet for the trip to Bangkok! This truly was a very special way to end our time in this very special country.

                                                              Thingyan Water Festival

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