Little did I realise, on my first visit to Burma in 2008 described in a few posts forming part of my record of the trip Round the World 5 that the country and its wonderful people would steal my heart. My trip in 2016 which I start to describe here is my tenth trip to this exotic and remarkable land.
For many people, the attraction of the country is still best encapsulated in the gnomic phrase written by Rudyard Kipling, which he attributes to Rangoon’s revered Golden Temple, the Shwedagon – "This is Burma and it will be quite unlike any land you know about". In Kipling’s day, Burma was part of British India and, whilst Kipling reported extensively on the British military actions in Burma during his employment by a newspaper in India, he only spent three days in Burma, as he travelled back to England to pursue his writing career. So my own time ‘in territory’ far exceeds Kipling’s but I bow to Kipling’s ability to capture the essence of the place. There's a short description of Kipling's Burma here.
A later British writer, George Orwell, served in Burma and his experiences are incorporated in his writing. Although he captures the snobbery and class divisions of the British abroad, I’m not alone in thinking it’s not equal to his more famous political works. I've visited the house in Katha which was formerly home to George Orwell twice - described here and here.
On my trip to Burma in 2015 I'd enjoyed my flights with Qatar Airways and used them again in 2016. This time, I left from Birmingham Airport on Wednesday, 13th April 2016 aboard flight QR36 to Doha. This was operated by a Boeing B787-8 'Dreamliner' which provided a very comfortable flight.
Boeing B787-8 at Birmingham Airport.
Transit in Doha
Hamad International Airport in Doha has a huge, well-appointed business lounge so the wait for my onwards flight QR918 to Yangon (formerly Rangoon) passed pleasantly enough, although I was very tired. An A320 Airbus worked this flight: everything worked and the cabin crew were excellent.
Arriving in Yangon
We made a 'right time' arrival at Yangon on Thursday, 14th April 2016, immigration was fast and my checked bag appeared promptly, so I was through customs and being met by my host, Doctor Hla Tun and his charming wife, at 06:25 a.m.
On the way to the Doctor's home, we went to a street market for fresh produce and sat at a 'kerbside diner' for delicious rice pancakes cooked as we watched. At the Doctor's home, I had a shower, a couple of hours rest and then changed ready for our morning visit to the Water Festival activities.
Next post on this trip.
All my posts on this trip can be found here.
There's an album of pictures of Birmingham Airport, including my departure on 13-Apr-2016, here.
All my pictures on this trip are in the collection Burma, 2016.
[Picture references amended 10-May-2016]