Below are a few scenes from the Mandalay Palace, Buddhist Nuns smoking those cheroots on the steps on Mandalay Hill. Those white stupas are part of the "world's largest boot" (not number of pages, but physical size) -- each stupa contains a piece of a sacred Buddhist text, carved into a stone tablet. There are 100's of these stupa's at the base of Mandalay Hill.
The Mustache Brothers are entertainers that have gotten on the wrong side of the Government. Not unlike Lenny Bruce. However, they still perform to mostly travelers who read about them in the Lonely Planet (and multiple times for our friends, Lynn and Lenny)
Around mandalay are the previous seats of government-- and a really terrific lunch place on the river.
The following monk pictures are from Maha Ganayon Kyaung monastery in Amarapura. Here tourists (perhaps at one time, the local villigers had this honor) feed the monks. Most of the monks that we saw in Myanmar (I think it is true of most Buddhist monks) are required to restrict their meals to that food which they get by begging every morning starting at 5:00AM. You'll see several picture of that practice. Note the black begging bowl at the end.
One of the more surprising things I discovered is that a few of the Monks were Bush supporters. Myanamr couldn't be more isolated from the world, and Monks even more so. While they are more educated (at least in the ways of the Buddha) than the average citizen of Myanmar, and are more likely to speak English (other than tour guides), they really are isolated. However, US propaganda in the form a pamphlets from VOA are delivered to these guys. I guess the US govermnent is getting them ready to be good Myanmar citizens once a US friendly regime come to power. What I found most interesting, was that these guys like Bush because "... he was decisive." Wow - actual campagine propaganda! Other than that, they were nice guys. They invited us into their room for a long chat.
On our way to Mandaly Hill, we encountered a monk/nun initiation ceremony -- where small children from quite young to 10 or 12 years old become a monk for about 2 or so weeks (very few choose to stay longer -- perhaps their entire life). As you can see, they are quite elaborately dressed in very colorful clothes. We also got to see our first Nats.
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