Obama/Burma

So, the newly re-elected POTUS was in Southeast Asia last week, and his trip included a much-discussed-and-dissected visit to Burma. Political ramifications aside, I think that country is going to need a whole lot more hotel rooms in the near future to accommodate the tourist boom. Lodgings were few and far between when I was there in late 2010, and with the recent “opening up”, plus the Lonely Planet stamp of approval, and the buzz about the first-ever US presidential visit to the place, I’m guessing that Yangon International Airport will only get busier and busier.

(I have a soft spot for that otherwise uninspiring airport, by the way, because it’s where I first heard that my book had been accepted for publication.)

If you manage to get to Burma, it’s unlikely you’ll bypass Bagan (pictured above). Nor should you – it’s astonishing: a dusty plain dotted with more than two-thousand ancient temples and stupas. But I’d also suggest that you don’t miss Inle Lake, up in the hills of Shan State. It’s very pretty and very mellow. And the farmers get around in boats which they propel with a funky one-leg rowing style (below).

 

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