Latest News from Myanmar
March 28, 2013
Some of you may have heard that there was some trouble here in Myanmar over the last week or two. It is very difficult to find out what is really happening here, and believe me, some of the rumors are so wild, they most likely are not true.
In the sleepy town of Kalaw, the local monastery is collecting goods, food and money for the neighboring town of Meiktila where rioting and fire has displaced over 200 people. The little pink dress and girl's shoes are from our very good neighbor, Billie Valentina, whose pretty pink dress will make a newly homeless girl in Myanmar very happy. We also donated a number of pairs of reading glasses that I carry to distribute as part of the Reading Glasses Project. (Find out more at ReadingGlassProject.org) Also some toothbrushes and toothpaste that we had on hand and never used.
Locals were ready to donate, including 50 kilo sacks of rice, 8 plywood panels, baskets, clothing, fire-fighting equipment and money.
As luck would have it, just after donating, we went to a favorite restaurant in town, the Everest, which is run by a Nepali family that arrived here soon after World War Two. The family was having a puja ceremony honoring the memory of the family matriarch who had died on this date a year previous. All this delicious Nepali vegetarian food was on the house. We would never eat this much ordinarily, but who could refuse such tasty largess? It is also nice to be able to talk to the locals, as the tonal Burmese language is tricky to pick up on the fly in a mere three weeks. And I do need to practice my Nepali for next week.
We spent our time in the hills of Kalaw in Myanmar wandering looking at the mouldering and still graceful colonial architecture of this old hill station. At approximately 4000' above sea level, it was a cool and refreshing change from the swelter that is much of this very hot country. It was downright cold when we arrived on our bus at 3:30 am!
The mountainside here near Kalaw looks much like this. The people grow cabbage, corn, camellias (tea), mandarin oranges. There are large burned sections during this time of year, and on our nighttime bus rides, the hills are often ablaze. I'm not sure how they control these fires and keep them from becoming wildfires, but they seem to. There are pretty wildflowers along the roadside, some familiar and others exotic.
Orchids run rampant in Myanmar. This was taken on the main road in Kalaw (aka Union Highway) and was only one of many, many exotic beauties.
More later. The best part of Myanmar is by far their charming and gracious people. Please visit if you can.
You can have your pet's portrait hand painted on metal in Nepal. Here are Smudge the Cat's recent choices by Sagar, Dilip and Megh Raj (clockwise from top left). There are so many cats here in Burma, I will dedicate a post just to them soon.
How to commission YOUR pet's portrait on metal:
Now is the time to order: Be ahead of the Pack! Orders now being accepted for the Spring 2013 trip.
1. Please send me a photo of your pet. I will give it to three different artists, giving you a choice of 3 paintings and three people will get work. Each painting is about one square foot and is on metal with synthetic enamel paint. These can be hung indoors or out.
2. Let me know what you would like it to say.
3. Let me know what style of portrait you would prefer: naive, realistic, colorful, etc.
4. Tell me your pet's name and breed.
5. Send your photo to me at:
That's it !
Satisfaction is guaranteed as I accept no money up front. If you do not like one of the three, you pay nothing, and the 3 artists are paid in full in any case. Let me know what you want it to say and that's it!
The cost is $250 plus shipping. Shipping is around $18 per sign (to
and from the US). And 9.75% California sales tax for California
Pay after choosing your portrait.
Multiple pets on one sign cost more ($325 for Double, $400 for Triple).
Let's keep these artists painting.
This hand-painted art form is fast disappearing in Kathmandu, as it already has in most parts of the world. I pay fair trade wages, the artists get to paint again, pet lovers get a choice of three paintings for each commission, and I get to help Nepali artists make a living. Everybody is happy. Rescue dogs from America get to rescue artists from Nepal!