Jasmine, teak, sand, and the like

I’ve had a few rough days, struggling with a full schedule, illness, and changing countries again in the meantime…. and got left behind with blogs, yet again….

But at least, when I’m busy, I don’t ask too many questions.


I’m so scared about what is ahead of me, and the little details I’ve been looking at are just as important now as they were when I was right there. Keeping things in perspective. Or provide some kind of distraction. Live the moment. Whatever, there is always an excuse.

Why are you taking a photo of the water jugs? His eyes were asking. You don’t have water in your home?  –  Nope, it is not customary to share drinking water all the time, everywhere, for free, with anyone on the road. Yangon airport is the only one I remember that has free water…. not the usual 2-dollar ripoff.


We must be hilarious, sometimes, the kinds of things we take photos of.


Sometimes I wish I could feel more, understand more, how we are being perceived.

I’m guessing I should have learnt something. Some enlightenment, overarching life lesson, something that resonates and echoes for years. Nope. It’s just distractions, big and small. Stunning and trivial.




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I’ve only just left, but I wish I could go back for more. So many areas still remote and inaccessible, not used to foreigners, or beyond reach. So many people still struggling for basic human rights, being exploited, hidden. I know it’s not all a golden story…. still a long way to go. Very long. But whatever it is, it’s a place that grabs you tight and never lets you go.



There are these sandpainters in Bagan. Some of them are truly a pain in the ass, chasing you down on a motorcycle, or following you to the tops of pagodas. Some of them show hidden staircases and views and paintings on the ceiling, and are a wealth of information. However annoying they may be sometimes, I really admire their art, and it’s a shame they don’t realise that their approach is chasing a lot of people away from ever listening to their stories. They painstakingly learnt to copy the ancient murals from the temples. We are talking 900-year-old designs here, quite unique, can’t see anything like this in Thailand or Cambodia, nothing even comes close. Lots of Hindu and pre-Buddhist elements, everything has a meaning, every colour or brushstroke has centuries of tradition. I could sit and watch and listen for hours, too bad they want me to shop 🙂  Now I wish I had bought more. Quite a few are in a box somewhere…. waiting for me to have a home.



(The monks with umbrellas and the landscapes are of course modern designs.)

Bagan is of course is one of the best places in the world, and quite the opposite of “the little things”, I don’t even know how anything I can show and say will ever do it justice.



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