Burma where smiles punctuate tattooed faces
The donut holes burned my fingers. The oily funnel-shaped paper wrapper slipped to the ground, freeing the fried dough to roll under the market-woman’s feet. With an ear-to-ear smile, she prepared another paper cone of pastry. I pointed to my camera. She nodded, taking a practiced pose of looking down, hiding our sociable encounter.
What a perfect scenario to describe Burma. Initial smiles fade, dissolved by the obscure chemistry of the Burmese government’s perplexing authority seeping into the soul of its people.
Unlike ordinary tourist maps, Burma maps show more colorful details for the veins of travel. Clouds of green conceal parts of the country, off limits to foreigners, with roads radiating from cities marked in colors indicating “unapproachable without a government permit.” Until 1988, Burma remained a closed nation to tourists.
The UN recognizes the 1989 name change from Burma to Myanmar. The United States, UK and Canada do not recognize the new name and continue to refer to the country as Burma.
Your first impressions of this country will calm your anxieties. The locals welcome visitors, and the thousands of pagodas thrill the eye. The world has touched the country with gentle hands.