Myanmar: Weeks 28 to 32

During most of our second month in Myanmar, I conducted surveys in 45 villages across central Myanmar. Most of my pictures are from those visits.







We flew to Mandalay during our first survey trip to visit villages in Sagaing province. This picture was crossing the bridge from Mandalay into Sagaing city.



On the way to the first village, we stopped to admire the sunflowers.



A market stall selling beans, vegetables, and other goods.



The street of the last village surveyed on our first day.

You can see some of the surrounding environment in the video below.


A solar powered telecom tower. The panels are very dusty.


During a rest break, I found an ant hill in a tree!

Batteries charged by solar panels are the most common way for Myanmar people to use electricity. TV’s are neither common, nor rare, though only wealthy households have them.
The inside of a rice grainery where people store the harvest to be eaten throughout the year.


During our second day, we came across a wedding celebrate where they were making huge amounts of pork.
I even got to try my hand at stirring the pot.


On our last day of our first round of surveys, we came across a big agricultural dam.





Dustin ft. big gold pagoda


After the first trip, we drove down to Naypyitaw, the national capital, to do two more days of surveys.

The rode up to our first village that day.

We stopped at the market to get some snacks. I put my phone in my pocket to get a video.

The last village we visited had a donated solar minigrid. The water pump didn’t have a regulator so the pump was running all-day, every-day – a poor design choice.
And our bbq feast at the end of the day! Myanmar bbq was my favorite part of Myanmar food.

Tasha joined me on the second day of surveys, while Alakesh, my boss, went to a conference in Naypyitaw on minigrids.

There were often narrow crossings as our car shared the road with ox carts.

A view of the fields in between villages.
Over the weekend, we got more bbq!
The beginnings of the feast! Nithya is taking the picture. We played cards, had cheap drinks, and enjoyed bbq for at least 4 hours at that table.


The next week, we were back at it. Natasha and I flew up to Bagan to do more surveys around a city called Pakoku.
The harvest during the last village of our first day around Pakoku.
Our car visiting a telecom tower.
The sun setting on our second day of surveys.


During our third day of surveys in Pakoku, one of the villages was having a monk induction ceremony where a boy in the village was entering the monastery.
The video shows Myanmar music during the ceremony.
During our fourth day, we crossed many riverbeds.



At the end of the third day in Pakoku, we came across a nice lookout over the river.



During the weekend, we were back in Yangon. We visited a pretty lake park in the city.

Tasha was going to southern Myanmar for a week to do field research while I continued doing surveys in central Myanmar. After her field work, Natasha’s aunt Sarah was visiting, and they were going to tour around the country. Even though we had 3 weeks left in Myanmar this weekend would be the last time we were together in Myanmar until the last three days in the country.

On the boat, you can watch Myanmar opera while having dinner.
It’s a tourist attraction but still very pretty. Next time we are in Myanmar, we may stomach the $30 ticket price and visit.

On Sunday Tasha headed to Myek in the south and I headed back up north to conduct more surveys around Magway.

More fields.
A monastery.
The house of General Aung San, the first leader of Myanmar and father of the current leader.


Here are several videos of fields.



A view of the pool from the hotel. I walked around it at night talking to Tasha but never went in.
There is a fair amount of oil drilling around Magwe. The iron horses look smaller than those at home.
During our third day in Magwe, we visited a beautiful pagoda that overlooks the river.


A video from the pagoda outlook.


Pagodas along the roadside.
To my right is our translator and all the way to my left is a representative from the NGO we are partnering with. The rest of the people in the picture are people from the village.


A herd of goats!


Back in Yangon all by myself, I could help by take selfies with the pink panther.
A random panorama. Not sure from where.


And another random picture.

After a few days reviewing the survey material in the office, I finished my internship with Micropower and headed to a town called Hpa An to do a little touristing with Sarah and Tasha.

Hpa An literally means frog vomit. A folk store tells of a dragon that eats a frog  without knowing it was his brother and so the dragon throws up the frog. Obviously, there is more to the story. Google it if you’d like.
Overlooking the Irrawaddy river.

A video from the overlook.


Women washing clothes below the overlook.


A boat taxi. If you look closely, you can see a Haier-brand refrigerator in the boat.
We visited a few temple caves in Hpa An.
The gold pieces on the walls are buddhas put together to make a larger picture.


Buddha elephant.


A vide inside the caves. Most temples in Myanmar are filled with statues of Buddha.


At the end of the cave walk.


After walking through the cave, we stopped at a little restaurant in the bottom left corner of the picture above for some refreshments and snacks.

We then took a boat ride back to the entrance.

At the end of the boat ride.


On the way to another cave temple, we stopped a baby cow – Tasha’s favorite.
Into the second cave temple.


The brown object in the middle of the picture is a hanging bees nest.


At our final temple of the day. We walked to the middle of the tower. Don’t ask me how that thing got there. I think it is a rock formation.
Looks like Africa!
Big buddha.


Sunset in Hpa An.
I took this the next morning while waiting for Tasha and Sarah to pick me up.

I took a motorcycle ride to Tasha and Sarah’s hotel to pick up my room key that I forgot in their room. This video below is the ride back into town.

I think I took this on the road from Hpa An back to Yangon.


To cap off our time in Myanmar and Sarah’s visit we he some more street bbq!

We have surely missed Myanmar since leaving there though it seems more and more likely that we will come back to stay for a longer time.



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