Mingalaba!

“In Burma all is different. The people seem young. They are never old. Life comes to them always as a pleasant thing. It is worth living. It is to be passed through with a laugh and jest, not to be taken too seriously. The people seem all happy, all well to do, as if the wants of life were easily fulfilled.”
~H. Fielding Hall, A People at School (London: Macmillan, 1906)

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Clearly the heart of a nation’s people hasn’t changed in the 109 years since the above words were written. We made our first stop along the Ayeyarwady this morning. We were driven by trishaw through the streets of
Danuphyu, first to a monastery, then to watch local women roll cheroots and finally to a tea shop. Everywhere we went we were met with smiles, waves and friendly greetings. Mingalaba! Such a happy sound. It was so heartwarming. Their joy was infectious.

The little girl pictured above went into a belly laugh every time I showed her her image on my iPhone. The group of kids ran over to me after I snapped their photo so they could see it. The little boys studying in the monastery motioned for me to take their picture.

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We’re continuing our journey up the river. No stops tomorrow, but there is so much to see from the boat. Fishing boats dot the river, as do crude wooden huts the shore. An occasional gold pagoda glistens in the distance. I’m not sure I’ll ever have such a good view from the treadmill again.

I’m off to my first Burmese language lesson. Written language below. This should be fun.

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