June –July 2012;  Yangon, Myanmar

Dear Tonya,

Thanks for letting me stay at your house in Yangon.  What a nice place to hang your hat!  Just would have been better with you there…my bad on timing.  Moe, her daughters and the 26 rabbits were amazing!  Yangon was such an interesting city—enjoyed Shwedegon temple, Aung San Suu Kyi’s house and that chilled out bar Signatures.

My first impressions of Myanmar—kind of like Cuba with the dual currencies and heavy feeling of rules, kind of like Cambodia with the temples, kind of like India with the cuisine and fixing of everything and reusing resources…kind of like Manila in the Philippines with the heavy industrial city center…a wee bit like Bali with their seamless spiritual connection between religion and culture…and a bit like Thailand with the ease and gentleness of the smiles on the people—Thailand the land of smiles?  555!  Me thinks Myanmar is the land of REAL smiles!  Myanmar is the country I have seen in my Asian travels to host the people who live closest to the earth and the most spiritual.  Could it be because they were locked away from 21st C. amenities for that while?

If I had to give Myanmar one ‘color’, it would be gold—they really like their shiny gold burnished everywhere in that country—gold rings with BIG rubies, golden temples (holy shiny Shwedegon Batman!), golden Buddhas….so shiny!   If Myanmar had a ‘bird’, it would be the black crow—I know their reputation is a smart bird and all, but I find them annoying and ominous.  They were squawking and screaming everywhere, following me everywhere I went.  (Bangkok/Thailand’s bird would be the pigeon by the way).  And if I had to give Myanmar one ‘word’, it would be nearly.  They love using them that word for nearly everything!  Nearly there, nearly time, nearly finished, nearly lunch, nearly, nearly, nearly!

When I was in Yangon, I saw two things that Myanmar is really doing well.  First, they all share water and don’t constantly need plastic water bottles.  The people actually share a cup or refill their vessels.  Second, Yangon is not super dependent on Styrofoam like other countries.  They use their stacking lunch food tins.

As tourists are starting to swarm into Myanmar, it would be great to see that country not give in to the environmental disasters of plastic and Styrofoam.

All good, thanks again pal.  Miss you and see you soon.



Chiang Mai

Dear Emily,

It was so fun to spend time with you in lovely Chiang Mai!  Sunday Walking Street &  the Sala Cafe on the hilltop = goodtimes.  The view at your apartment was so green!  Prem Center is a special place with lots of greenery.

I had such a nice visit.  Chiang Mai continues to be my favorite city in Thailand….rolling hills, horses in the fields, cafés on mountain tops with yummy dessert and deep cultural roots, and of course the elephants! Khun Lek built a wonderful sanctuary for those elephants.

Umm…have to say running around the art district in our King shirts and drinking coffee everywhere was such a highlight…so fun to hang out with you!  Long live the King!  See you again soon friend.