"This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about." - Rudyard Kipling
I know I've basically been a broken record on never posting anymore for basically ever, and these photos are way old, but look! I finally made it to Myanmar before Western-style capitalism did. (Next up: Cuba!) It kind of reminded me of Thailand, to be honest. Yangon was like I imagine Bangkok to have been 60 years ago: humble, smiling, wooden houses between newly-emerging concrete buildings never more than 10 stories tall. (Maybe 15 in the developing center.)
But Bagan - Bagan left me speechless, and its intense beauty was enough motivation to get me out of bed for every sunrise. Some 2,200 temples (of an original >10,000, they say) of varying sizes and shapes lie scattered throughout this 20-square-kilometer area of otherwise mostly wilderness. It used to be the big-shot capital of the Pagan Kingdom, and now it lies in sad but still-magnificent ruins which I am sure will only deteriorate further as tourism increases in the coming years. It made me sad to see people not removing their shoes as they clambered over these sacred places - seemingly a sacredness so long-gone as to have been forgotten (although the locals will certainly tell you off if they catch you).
Bagan has found its place on my short list of things that have truly blown me away (yes, that's me - blasé as pudding) and I look forward to bringing my children there one day.