1. bare feet -- Nothing will toughen up your soles like touring the pagodas and monasteries of Myanmar. Shoes and socks are not permitted in these compounds, which in some cases makes for challenging walking over dusty and crumbling terrain. I think we've spent more time with our shoes off than on in this country (but at least we don't have to worry about sandal tans).
2. longyis -- Standard attire in Myanmar is the longyi, a piece of fabric similar to a sarong that is worn instead of pants. Men tie them in the front and women at the side. They can be incredibly beautiful and we're on the lookout to buy a couple to take home.3. crisp USD -- In addition to the Burmese kyat, almost every business accepts (or prefers) US dollars. Not any USD though. Only perfectly crisp ones. We've had an annoying number of perfectly fine bills rejected because they'd been folded once in the centre.
4. right-hand-drive vehicles -- Unlike other Southeast Asian former British colonies, where vehicles are RHD and people drive on the left side of the road, Myanmar has a mix of RHD and LHD vehicles (RHD still being more common), but people drive on the right side of the road -- pretty impractical for overtaking!
5. dogs -- I've never seen so many stray dogs as I have in Myanmar. Including some of the cutest puppies!
|four dogs & a pony|
|betel nut preparation -- nuts and calcium carbonate are wrapped neatly in leaves and the whole thing is chewed for a mild stimulant effect|
Happy holidays! I hope everyone is getting to enjoy a bit of a break. Although my family doesn't really celebrate Christmas, it was fun to see how people celebrate it in this part of the world. I'll leave you with a few unique Christmas trees we came across on Samosir Island in Sumatra, Indonesia: