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A few images from Burma

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    Originally posted by ehp View Post
    Thank you so much Ombugge, for these photos! They bring back such memories and thoughts...and keep them in the present!
    I simply LOVE those little pots- the plain terra cotta ones. I wish I could learn how to export so many of the wonderful things I see in Asia back here...just like these pots! So many unusual things I have seen and want to share with my friends.

    Yes--all the religious places are so beautifully maintained. It's one of the reasons Burma affected me so. That, and how the people smile from inside....always smiling, it seemed.

    This is such a delightful thread...thank you for posting!
    Yes, Burma is a very special place and so are the people. It is a pity that the paranoia of the ruling generals on one side and the West on the other, is holding back development. If the embargo was lifted it would make more development possible and eventually a more democratic form of government.
    As it is the ordinary people suffer while the elite lives in high luxury, embargo not affecting them in the least.

    I was there during the Ne Win days of Socialist and self-sufficiency experiment, when time stood still and there were shortage of just about everything, except smiles.

    I was also there during the 90s when Burma became a member of ASEAN and you could see and feel the changes, with foreign companies coming in to invest and to influence the regime. Singapore were at the forefront of that development, especially NTUC, by setting up Bus and Taxi companies and Supermarkets in then Rangoon. The taxis and buses are still there, but not NTUC.

    Since the Americans forced an embargo it has gone backwards on all counts, although some ignore the embargo, notably China and India, who are competing for influence and future trade.

    China is presently building two Pipelines from Sattwe in Burma to China, one for Gas from a new Gas Field being established in the area and one for Crude Oil. The Oil will be sourced in the Middle East and from Chinese owned Oil Fields in Africa. At the Chinese end of the pipe lines there will be new gas fired power stations and oil refineries.

    Why do they go to this expense when they can import LNG by ship from Indonesia and Australia etc. and oil can be shipped via the Malacca Strait to coastal China??

    One reason is to develop Western China. The distance from ports in Burma is actually shorter than from ports in coastal China. But the main reason is geopolitical.

    Look at a map of S.E. and N.E. Asia. China is hemmed in on all sides from direct access to the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Malacca Strait is easily closed and Indonesia, being an Archipelago State controls the other possible passages into the China Sea from the Indian Ocean. In the north Japan control access to/from the Pacific and the Phillipines straddle the gap between Indonesia and Taiwan.

    The alternative route would take you south of Tasmania and out into the open Pacific, but you will still have to go through Philippine water or Luzon Strait to get to ports in Southern China, or through the Ryukyu Island to go north of Taiwan.

    Right now the countries in S.E.Asia is friendly to China and shipping is free to travel through Malacca Strait and Indonesian water, although there is already a degree of control of where ships can sail and who can enter Indonesian territorial waters.

    What obviously worries China is the political development in the US, with right wing anti-Chinese extremists vying for power. If that happen the countries in S.E.Asia can easily be bullied or manipulated to take different stands, which goes against China's interests of free shipping, especially through S.E.Asian waters.

    By having a deep water port on the shores of the Bay of Bengal and a transport route through a country friendly to China, or which can be equally bullied, China can secure its supply lines from Africa and the Middle East.

    That make total geopolitical sense and is why it should be in America's interest to see Burma opening up, not to be pushed firmly into the arms of the Chinese.

    Am I also paranoid?? No I'm a realist and not an ideologue.


      Enough politics, lets go for a walk in downtown Yangon.

      I eventually managed to convince my driver that I wanted to WALK not be driven around the downtown area.

      He reluctantly parked his car in 38th Street, near Stand Hotel:

      I'm sure, if he knew his Kipling he would be thinking; "Only mad dogs and Englishmen (or Norwegian in this case) walks in the mid-day sun".
      In any case, he was happy to wait in the shadow.

      It was hot but fairly dry, so not unpleasant conditions for a leisurely stroll along The Strand. Please tag along.


        A upriver view of The Strand from the opposite side of the road:

        The main wharf on the left and Government buildings on the left side.

        First major building in the upriver direction is the Port Authorities Building, which is occupied and active:


          A bit up the Phayre Rd. is this monumental building occupied by Ministry of Inland Water Transportation:

          I'm not sure what this one was used for, but it is now empty:


            Next is the Customs House, also still occupied and active:


              Yangon Division Court Building also looks impressive from the side road:

              But it is actually empty and mostly boarded up:


                A look up Sule Pagoda Street, with some modern building at one side:

                Sule Pagoda is situated on a large Round-about further up the street:

                Hitachi Building in the background is the tallest building in Yangon I believe.


                  Across the street is another abandoned building, with an impressive dome:

                  Some details of the decorations that is still in good shape:


                    I must admit that I do like the "colonial architecture" which seems so apparent in these images from Burma.
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                      I got interrupted there for a while. Here is the continuation of our walk along The Strand.

                      Incl. some stone pillars that looked like new:

                      While the back of the building showed decay:


                        A bit up Sule Pagoda Street was this impressive building:

                        I believe this is Myanmar National Bank building.

                        Just for a break from old and decaying buildings, a view across The Strand to the wharf area:

                        A new road is under construction parallel to The Strand.


                          Back to the main subject. Another abandoned building at the corner of Ba Soon Pai Street:


                            Looks like they just left the cars behind too when they moved to the new capital:


                              I'm not sure if this building has been abandoned or only shut for the long holiday:


                                At Shwee Bontha Street I decide I had had enough of The Strand, which was THE main street in Rangoon, stretching from Monkey Point all the way to Aung Yadanat Street.

                                Heading back along Merchant Street, which is a mixture of new and old:

                                On the right is mostly former Government buildings, on the left commercial buildings.