Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mandalay, Burma

Hi, Once again it was an early departure for the airport from which we flew to Mandalay on a twin engine jet prop. As the boat was not ready to receive us we boarded our bus at the airport and set off for some site seeing in Mandalay.

Our first stop was another Pagoda.

  It had this very ornate clock tower.

Inside was a sitting Buddha covered in gold leaf.  Only the men were permitted to approach the Buddha to pray and fix a small piece of gold leaf (above and below).

As was the case at all of the pagodas we visited building decoration was extensive and beautiful (above and below).

The gold leaf is produced by hand pounding squares of gold.

The finished small sheets of leaf are packaged and sold for a few dollars.

Items for the gift shop also were produced.

We soon tired of the gold leaf shop and went outside.  Ruthe found these chairs.

There was a variety of traffic.  The Burmese carry things on all kinds of vehicles.  Here a motorcycle rigged with a side car is carrying pieces of wood.

This motorcycle has a small truck body attached to its rear.

Bicycles set up to carry freight are quite common in Asia.

A shop next door had colorful umbrellas for sale.

Our final stop before boarding the boat was a jade market.  Not only was jade sold here, it also was cut and polished.  Here a large hunk is being cut, probably with a diamond saw.

A potential customer examines jade for sale.

Wheels powered by a foot pedal are used to shape and polish the jade (above and below).

I was amazed by the young age of some of the boys polishing the jade.

Outside the jade market was crowded with people.  The man in what appears to be a skirt is wearing a Longyi, traditional dress in Burma for both men and women.   It is made from a single piece of cloth approximately 6 1/2 by 2 1/2 feet.

These colorful textiles were hanging next to our bus.  I assume they were for sale.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Rangoon, Burma - 2

Hi, We visited a monastery where both monks and nuns lived.  All sons are expecteed to spend at least three months as a monk.

Monks rise early, have a minimal breakfast, and then spend the morning begging for food.  When they return the food is pooled and used for the mid day meal.  They do not eat again until the next morning.

This little guy is getting water from a cistern.

About 11:30 the boys line up for lunch (above and below)

and then march into the dining hall (above and below).

My guess is that tour groups pay a fee to observe this ritual.  I do wonder how the kids feel.

Nuns lived in a different section of the monastery.

We had a free morning which we used to visit the last synagogue in Burma.  It is still active with a congregation of about 20.  We had to write ahead to arrange for the visit.

Here is an overall view of the sanctuary.  The structure in the center, the Bema, is the place from which services are conducted.

At the far end of the sanctuary is the Arc. The Torah scrolls are kept within.

The scrolls are kept covered and are only opened when they are to be read at a service.

The rams horns are called Shofars.  They are blown for Rosh Hashonah provided the holiday does not fall on the Sabath.

This was the street outside the Synagogue.

A fish market was one of the many we visited on the trip.  However, although fish was the main item, there were many other foods for sale.

One of those food items was crickets.

We stopped at the Strand Hotel, an old colonial building for a quick look.

These statues were for sale in the gift shop,

as was this chess set.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Rangoon, Burma

Hi, After spending 2 full days in the Bangkok area we boarded an early flight for Rangoon, Burma.  Immediately upon our arrival we set off for a walking tour of downtown Rangoon.

Our guide, Lennie (on the left) is ordering food from a street vendor.  As it was served in a dish Ruthe and I passed.

Local people were quite willing to have their photo taken.

This monk was enjoying a bite to eat.

All kinds of services are available along the streets, including typing.

MMMM Good!

Want your palm read (above and below)?

During the evening of the first day we visited the Shwedagon Pagoda.  This 2500 year old temple is considered to be the most renowned and sacred in Burma.  This 300 foot high Stupa is said to be sheathed in more gold than is contained in the Bank of England.

Young girls constantly sweep the floors.  After each pass they stop to pray.  They all are volunteers.

All of the temples in Burma require bare feet to enter.

On the morning of our second day in Rangoon we visited the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda.  The reclining Buddha here is about 200 feet long.

I'll post one more group of photos from Rangoon next time.  Thanks for looking.