A very belated Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating-I’ve come back from a trip to Burma, and it was really wonderful. I left my phone, computer, etc. at home and just unplugged and enjoyed the moment. I find that travelling gives me fresh inspiration and a new perspective that’s really good for the soul!
Of course, I did do some nails, but first, some travel pictures. (Scroll to the bottom if you want to see some Burma-inspired nail art and skip the travelogue!)
Selling eggs and dried fish in the market. Most Burmese shop in these kind of markets-supermarkets and refrigerators are out of the reach of all but the wealthiest urban residents.
Spice vendor. Despite having a lot of chili peppers, the food here is not spicy. Surprising, considering their neighbors Thailand and India have some of the hottest food around.
And a cosmetics/nail polish vendor! The light colored powder on her face is thanaka, a natural sunblock that comes from a tree bark which is ground on a stone to a paste and applied to the skin. I did see quite a few ladies with painted nails, even in the countryside. Dark teal seemed to be the color of choice- either that, or everyone was sharing the same bottle!
Monkey on Mt. Popa. Monkeys hang out at temples since there is always food around, and while cute, can get aggressive. This one was drinking Red Bull-yikes!
Unique “leg paddler” fishermen of Inle Lake. Paddling with their feet allows them to keep both hands free for catching fish.
The jungle is reclaiming these 11th century stupas and pagodas.
Temple detail, Bagan Town.
Temple ruins, Bagan. There are over 5000 monuments there. It reminds me a lot of Cambodia, with but with less jungles and no landmines. Very mysterious.
Monks taking pictures with a tablet computer. Perhaps it was given to the monastery by a wealthy donor? The monks here can take donations of food, soap, household goods, etc. but never money as that would reduce them to being beggars. Any monk in Burma asking for money is not a genuine monk.
A spot of British afternoon tea at the colonial-era Strand Hotel on our last day after a dusty week on the road.
One of the bluest skies I have ever seen at the Shwedagon Pagoda- this photo has not been touched up. This is exactly what it looked like. Burma is very colorful- saffron monk’s robes, lots of fruits, rich red brick…but blue and gold was the most outstanding color combination for me.
So, with that in mind, some simple blue and gold nails I did, using some motifs I saw on the buildings, walls and local artwork.
Thanks for looking! If you’d like to go to Burma, I highly recommend it- but tread carefully. The political situation is better there than it has been in years, which I why I decided to go now. However, things can change very rapidly and without warning. I found the guides were not entirely honest about the dangers, saying that the country was safe, you could walk around at night, etc. However, the high gates and barbed wire on many of the houses said differently. It is essential before you go to do a LOT of research. It’s always a good idea whenever you travel to do so, but for Burma it’s absolutely necessary. You will not get proper information inside the country as the guides are heavily restricted in what they can say. Though the situation is much improved, be extremely careful when interacting with local people- they are still under surveillance and are obligated to report contact with foreigners to the authorities. Our guides were constantly snapping pictures of us with their cell phones to prove that we were only going to tourist spots, etc.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I’d like to go back again- next time to see Mandalay and do some trekking in the more remote areas if they open up while I’m still based in Singapore.