Thursday, April 30, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:Z is for Za



LAST DAY HURRAY. WE DID IT.

But WAIT!

There's more.
Don't forget the Reflections Post. The Linky goes up May 4 through May 8.

Sign up. Create your post and put the permalink to that specific post on your blog.
Buddah carved from solid teak.

In the Burmese alphabet, the Za is written two different ways, according to the charts I saw. The two characters for Za are on the second line the third and fourth characters from the left.



A tonal language, written Burmese is over 1,000 years old. The tones aren't just simple pitch issues. Meaning changes with the duration a sound is held and whether the sound is voiced (e.g. Z) or voiceless (e.g. S). Good luck with those tones.

English is a Subject-Verb-Object language, but Burmese is Subject-Object-Verb, and to get really Linguistic on you, the Verbs can be "quasiagglutinative." So there you have it. Aren't you glad you read to the end?

And speaking of that. . .this is THE END. Adios AtoZChallege 2015! Now I'm off to collapse on the couch with my Burmese language tapes.

Question: What do you know about Yangon?

T 1. The Mons were the earliest inhabitants of the area now called Yangon. (The village Dagon was founded in the 6th century by the Mons.)


F 2. In the eighteen hundreds, the Burmese fought the British and won the battle of Yangon. (The Burmese lost badly. Only 7,000 of the 30,000 soldiers survived.)

Just in case you did some speed reading through my carefully prepared Z post, here it is again.



May 4-8 is the chance to REFLECT. Sign up on the Linky and tell everyone what you liked, what could be better, what you'd do again or what you'd do differently. Don't forget: permalink the post. 




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:Y is for Yangon



It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.

Yangon is a city of beautiful contrasts. Markets flourish along the crowded sidewalks, but they do have sidewalks, so that's a huge improvement from Mandalay where every step could plunge you into a sewer or oncoming traffic.


Everything from Shoes. . .




to Dessert is for Sale on the Streets of Yangon


View from a Pedestrian Over Crossing


View from the Other Direction
Some Buildings from the Colonial Period
I'm not a city person, but I do enjoy the kinetic excitement once in a while. Yangon didn't disappoint.

Question: What do you know about the xylophone in the Strand Hotel?

T  Authors such as Maugham, Kipling and Orwell were entertained by the music from the xylophone in the Strand lobby. (The Strand opened in 1901, and has hosted these notables along with hundred of others. I'm buying this history, so I can know more about one of the most famous hotels in the world.)


Collector Item
NOW what do you know about Yangon?

T/F 1. The Mons were the earliest inhabitants of the area now called Yangon.

T/F 2. In the eighteen hundreds, the Burmese fought the British and won the battle of Yangon

Answers tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:X is for Xylophone



It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.
One Tired Pedicab Guy near the Strand


A huge treat for me was going to the Strand Hotel in Yangon. They've restored the old colonial building and it was a step into the colonial history of Burma. The warm wood paneling and elegant polished floors were so elegant.

In the lobby a young lady played the Xylophone, so while I sipped my very expensive coffee (5000Kyat which equaled $5), I listened to music and pretended to be in the early 1900's, back in a time when the city was called Rangoon, wearing an elegant gown, carrying a parasol on my arm.


The Strand at Night


Girl at The Strand Playing the Xylophone
Question: What do you know about this Lotus that's used for weaving?

T 1. While the lotus is used for weaving cloth, it's also a sacred plant. (The Padon-ma Kya. the Sacred Lotus is believed to bloom only in sunlight and the Kumudra (Gamod) Kya. a fabulous white lily. is said to bloom only with moonlight.)

F 2. The lotus flower is beautiful, but poisonous. (The seed of the lotus is edible. They are green and resemble a large peanut and come embedded in a cup-like bulb and is commonly called Kya-Khwet. (that is a lotus cup) on a stalk. It is a very tasty ingredient in steamed duck or as part of the stuffing in duck roast. They can also be eaten raw.)

NOW what do you know about the xylophone in the Strand Hotel?

T/F  Authors such as Maugham, Kipling and Orwell were entertained by the music from the xylophone in the Strand lobby.

Answer tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:W is for Weavers


It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.

Weavers in Burma use, high grade cotton, silk and lotus to create fabrics.



Here the girl peels and shreds lotus that will be made into a very fine scarf or skirt. A lotus scarf costs about $35 US. A cotton one about $8. Silk is $25. 

Stripping Away the Outer Lotus Stem


NOW what do you know about this Lotus that's used for weaving?

T/F 1. While the lotus is used for weaving cloth, it's also a sacred plant.

T/F 2. The lotus flower is beautiful, but poisonous.

Answers tomorrow.





Saturday, April 25, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:V is for Villages


It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.
This is a village on Lake Inle. The only way to reach the houses or the monastery is by boat. 




This is how you get around the villages of Inle Lake.



Another Inle Lake Village

Answers to what do you know about British Colonial Times in Burma?


F 1. Britain went to war with Burma in the early 1900's. (The war began in 1824 when Burma's Konbaung Dynasty tried to move into an area close to Britain's Indian.

T 2. The Anglo-Burmese War had a few causes, but the most commonly named are the British desire for access to teak forests in southern Burma and a port to ship from. (*It seems the causes for war are only different in the resources countries covet--teak in one century, oil in another. *This is a political opinion.) 


Friday, April 24, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:U is for Unique British Colonial Influence in Burma




It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.
Mandalay has so many 19th century British Buildings 
Pyinoolwin was a British summer retreat. Many Colonial Houses still stand. It was cool mountain area.
Answers to what do you know about tea in Burma?


T 1. When ordering tea, you should know what kind you want:sweet, strong, sweet and strong. There are many different combinations. (Think Starbucks and all the possible coffees you can order. It's about the same for tea in Burma: cho seh, bone mahn, baw hseent, jah hseent, pancho. It takes time to figure out which on suits your taste.)

F 2. You can order tea by the cup or bowl. (Actually you order it by the cup or "tankie," the Burmese adaptation of the word tank. It's not as big as a tank, but it's bigger than a cup.)

NOW what do you know about British Colonial Times in Burma?

T/F 1. Britain went to war with Burma in the early 1900's.

T/F 2. The Anglo-Burmese War had a few causes, but the most commonly named are the British desire for access to teak forests in southern Burma and a port to ship from. 




Answers tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:T is for Transportation, Tea and Tea Salad


It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.
Taxi Along the Irrawaddy River
Somehow I missed getting the side of the wagon that had the sign painted on it. The driver had a very large dark one that said TAXI. I could see it as the boat pulled up to the shore. Photographer fail!




But I got this one from a friend!


It was a bumpy ride, but we got to where we wanted to go and back to the boat safely. The driver told jokes, but I didn't get them. I'm not good in Burmese.


Burma has no shortage of Tea! And it's delicious. 



So is the Tea Salad. I ate that for every meal. 


Answers to what do you know about stupas?

T 1. The origin of the stupa is India, and at the center of these there's usually some kind of holy relic. (Usually it's a Buddha statue, but in ancient times they often put precious stones or other items that lured looters. Bad Karma for them.)

T 2. Pagoda is an umbrella term that includes stupas along with temples and other Buddhist structures. (The stupa usually has distinctive bell-shaped dome, but it's also considered a pagoda.)

NOW what do you know about tea in Burma?

T/F 1. When ordering tea, you should know what kind you want:sweet, strong, sweet and strong. There are many different combinations. 

T/F 2. You can order tea by the cup or bowl.


Answers tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:S is for Stupas and Shan State


It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.
A Sea of Stupas

So what's a stupa? Here's a picture of a few. They're solid structures and were originally created as burial mounds. Today they're tributes created by Buddhists for positive karmic results. Destroying a stupa is equated with murder and result in extremely negative karma.


There are different kinds of stupa shapes.

Shan State is a large section of Burma that borders Laos, China and Thailand. It's the only place in Burma that grows garlic, and some rather pricey poppies. It's a wealthy state and the homes as well as the people reflect that wealth.

Shan State headgear identifies what village they come from.



Answers to what do you know about rice?

T 1. In Burma, it's believed the Kachins--people from the northern part of that country-- came from the center of the earth to sow rice seeds. (The myth says the gods sent these people to Burma to ensure life would be perfect all due to an abundance of good food, specifically rice.)

F 2. Rice requires a lot of water to grow, so it's limited as to where it can be planted. (Rice is among the most adaptable food. It can grow just about anywhere, even in deserts.)

NOW what do you know about stupas?

T/F 1. The origin of the stupa is India, and at the center of these there's usually some kind of holy relic.

T/F 2. Pagoda is an umbrella term that includes stupas along with temples and other Buddhist structures.

Answers tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:R is for Rice


It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.


If you don't like rice, don't go to Southeast Asia, EVER. I happen to like it, so eating it all times of the day was perfect. It's their staple. It's not expensive. It goes with everything and fills you up fast.


Here you can buy it by the hundred pound sack

or the scoop.
My favorite rice treat has always been Sticky Rice Cooked in Bamboo. You peel the stalk and eat the rice like a candy bar. Delicious.


I didn't have short quiz for yesterday's letter Q.  But what do you know about rice?

T/F 1. In Burma, it's believed the Kachins--people from the northern part of that country-- came from the center of the earth to sow rice seeds.

T/F 2. Rice requires a lot of water to grow, so it's limited as to where it can be planted.

Answers tomorrow.

Monday, April 20, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:Q is for Questions About Burma


It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.
A Monastery at Mingun

  • What is the name of this country? 
Burma or Myanmar? It seems the answer is both. Our state department doesn't recognize Myanmar.  The people from that country to whom I spoke, preferred Myanmar, the old name before colonial times.




  • Why are tourists allowed now but prohibited before? 

My guess is money. I'm politically naive, but if the generals lose control of this country to The Lady, they want as much revenue flowing into their pockets as possible before she steps in.


  • Will the Muslims gain control or will the Buddhists keep them out? 

I saw some Muslims on the streets, especially in Yangon. But the sentiment among the people I talked to was strongly anti-Muslim. They worried that the Muslims already had too much influence in their government, especially with Aung San Suu Kyi, who needs all the political backing she can muster.


Answers to P
T 1.  While the practice of using neck rings seems abusive and sexiest--since men do not wear them--this was a vestige of a matriarchal society. (Because women did not have full mobility, men often helped with the care of children and household chores.)

T 2. The rings were considered magic and could cure illness by touching them. (In the book, From the Land of the Green Ghosts, Khoo Thwe children were allow to touch the rings when they were sick. Also, touching them before a journey was thought to bless the traveler.)

NOW Do you have any questions about Burma? It's a country that generates a lot of questions.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

AtoZBlogChallenge:P is for Padaluang Tribe and Mt. Popa

It only takes a minute to visit more AtoZers on the Linky.

My theme this year is Burma AKA Myanmar. I used to live in Laos, so I looked forward to returning to Southeast Asia. I spent a little over three weeks exploring this country, learning a bit about its culture: its history, religion, and language. I thought others might enjoy some of what I learned and see some of what I saw.

A Land of Old and New


The Kayan tribe live in Burma’s northeast They're also called Padaluang (sometimes English spelling is Padaung), meaning long necks. Actually, their necks do not stretch, but their collarbones are pushed down slowly as the rings are added. If they use the old traditional number of 31-- their necks are so weak they can't remove the rings and hold their heads upright. Today that practice has changed and girls only wear 20. They can take the rings off if they choose.

A Padaluang Weaver with 30 Neck Rings

A Younger Padaluang Woman With 20 Neck Rings and  an Older One With Traditional 30

The irony is these are lake people. Imagine trying to swim with about 30 pounds of brass around your neck.  I picked up one set of these rings and knew just how long I'd stay afloat with them on me.




So why do they do this to themselves? One version is it's to protect themselves from tiger attacks. They encircle the throat and put brass at their shins. Their hair pins are weapons in case of attack. Of course, the men don't follow this practice, and today, tigers in the area are rare to none. 




Looking Across the Canyon at a Cloud Shrouded Mt. Popa. This was an infinity pool on the edge of the mountain.

Mt. Popa When the Clouds Lift
Mt. Popa is a monastery. You have to hike to the top, wave off monkey attacks and be careful of where you step. Monkeys poop a lot.  

Answers to O
F 1. People believe that giving offerings buys them a place in Nirvana. (They believe it's an act of generosity, and that the offerings symbolize giving the best of who they are to something higher than they are. I think of it as a way to visualize goodness, but I'm not a Buddhist, so I could be off base.)

T 2. Offerings are a way to pay respects to the wisdom of Buddha or the Dharma, the Truth. (I suppose this is somewhat similar to the lighting of candles for others. Well, not quite, but offerings focus our thoughts and, in my mind, so do candles in churches.)

NOW what do you know about the Padaluang Tribe?
T/F 1. While the practice of using neck rings seems abusive and sexiest--since men do not wear them--this was a vestige of a matriarchal society.

T/F 2. The rings were considered magic and could cure illness by touching them.


Answers tomorrow.