It started with a dream but I didn’t realize it until I saw all those thousands of pagodas, temples and Buddhas. It was maybe October of 2014, I had this very weird dream. In my dream I was looking at a gigantic image made of gold located in front of high mountains. It was too huge and shiny that I couldn’t get my eyes out of it. Until, in my dream a group of familiar faces called my name and that ended my dream. I shared my dream to a few people but I didn’t think much about it. I actually almost forgot it.
A year after I travelled to a country I never thought of visiting of. It was not actually in my bucket list. Well, I didn’t know much about the country except for its golden temples and what I learned from my history classes. At first, I had lots of hesitations. Well, I needed to consider a lot of things- financially wise and time. However, my barefoot friend (yes! You’ll know why later) Cherry insisted for me to go with her. I thought about it for like a hundred times maybe. I didn’t tell her of my dream. I even didn’t think of it. Then suddenly, one night, she asked me again and in just a snap, I agreed with her. So yeah, we planned our itineraries and expected expenses, coordinated with people we knew who are currently living there, and prepared ourselves for an extreme girls’ adventure.
August 24-28, 2015, we visited the golden land of Myanmar.
I have to be honest first though before sharing about the beauty of travelling to Myanmar. It was certainly a culture shock. Everything was new, unfamiliar and surprising. First off, when you get to the airport or bus stations, a lot of unknown faces will ask you where you’re going and somehow insist or force you to ride in their vehicles. That was crazy! Secondly, the guys love to chew this red chewable fruit also known as areca palm nut (nganga in Philippines) and spit it everywhere- like everywhere. Then you’ll see red spots or leaks on the road. Thirdly, the mode of transportation. I am currently staying in Malaysia and I must say Malaysia has a fabulous road system and mode of transportation (although it’s a test of patience and waiting). Anyhow, it was really surprising to see old buses on the road with open sides where you can see the feet of a passenger swaying outside. Seriously! Traffic jam was also heavy but that doesn’t make any difference to other nations. But their kind of driving, it was OMG! Scary! Fourthly, every act of kindness has a monetary value. Aside from too expensive costs of food and stuff, it was really surprising that whatever people offer to you- taking pictures, finding a good spot, helping you with your stuff- they would ask for a dollar. Lastly, it was also noticeable that most of the locals are still awkward to give a smile. Their faces look sad. It felt like there’s something in their hearts that they still don’t know how to express. It’s as if they’re not used to being happy.
All of these things are not criticisms. Yes I learned to love Myanmar despite of all the not so beautiful worldly things I saw and experienced there. Well, the two of us almost got into trouble but thanks be to the Most High, we were safe and sound. Those experiences are even greater reasons why you and I should love Myanmar. It’s a country where we should give out more love- just pure love. They need to be loved. It’s all about love. You’ll understand where I am getting all these when you are actually there. So, get out of your sofa now and make a tent in that golden place!
More than all those crazy experiences, I saw beautiful creations of man and of God. Myanmar locals are honestly beautiful people inside and out. It’s just their situation that hides the beauty in them that to which newbies couldn’t see at first. Myanmar locals are worth to spend time with. They’ve got beautiful sceneries and artworks which were made centuries ago- the fruits of dedication, hardwork and passion. They are indeed talented human beings. You can see it to the works of their hands- the golden temples, pagodas and Buddhas in Bagan and Yangon. They have rich and interesting cultural history. The trip would be incomplete without exploring the taste of Myanmar. The taste of their food is authentic. I haven’t tasted like that before. I couldn’t compare it to other Asian food. They have similar dishes with Malaysia and Philippines but it has a different kind of spice. Our local Myanmar friend also suggested to try YKKO’s kyay oh to complete our food trip. She was right, the adventure is incomplete without it! It’s the best noodle soup I’ve ever tasted so far.
Walking inside the temples and pagodas was the extreme challenge. It wasn’t because they were too high or steep or whatever. It wasn’t because it was tiring. We didn’t have time for tiresome and boredom during the trip. It was because we walked on our barefoot going inside the pagodas and temples. There’s actually nothing wrong walking barefooted. It’s just very challenging to walk on your barefoot under extreme heat! I almost cried because my feet were already hurting. It was really hard to walk with burning feet! That is why we are the “barefoot friends”. Amazingly, we were able to conquer it!
I believe greater things are yet to come in that golden land. Greater things are still to be done. Yet it is still a beautiful and wonderful world after all! With that, I must say I love Myanmar from every tiny bit of it. My heart was so touched of its past stories that I almost wept in tears. Then I realized, I love Malaysia and Philippines more today than yesterday. Lol
Don’t get me wrong, I honestly seriously love Myanmar from the deepest core of my being. I learned and realized a lot of things. It was a fun filled learning experience. Seeing all those golden Buddhas and temples made me realized I almost missed that chance of witnessing what God wants me to see. He had given me a dream and I almost missed the opportunity of experiencing that dream. He had given me a dream to clear things in my mind and heart then he made it into reality. What an awesome God!
From a dream to reality, Chei-zu tin-bar-te Myanmar!