Bagan, Myanmar. The post that took 3 years to complete…

Adventure, Art, Culture, Life, Travels

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Burmese craftsmanship.

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I am going home tomorrow…Spending my last day getting a Thai massage and exploring a new mall. So many malls here in Bangkok. Its definitely a beautiful city. I have no clue what to do when I am home. Whatever home means to me. I find comfort in thinking about leaving home and going to another country to work or teach English. So many options, but one that does not sound good is staying home.
I am stressed out by my own expectations to help my family out…
Journal Entry: 07.30.2014

 

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Sitting at the airport waiting for my flight…I am reminded of what George told me. He said that he envies some aspect of certain people’s lives, but he does not wish his life to be theirs. He is perfectly content with his life. George is a great person. He has taught me a lesson that I am too stubborn to learn. Hopefully, that will change as I gather more of the world’s perspectives. 
After arriving in Taiwan, I realized that I don’t think I’ll be home for long. There is a mystique about China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan that draws me to them. A really nice lady at the Taiwan airport gave me some change to buy a drink. So kind of her.
Back home. Home just doesn’t feel the same, but I’m home nonetheless. I feel as though my wings have been tied up again. Back into the cage I go….for now. It feels so surreal. Did that trip even took place? Did I meet all those people and seen all those places?
Journal Entry: 07.31.2014

 

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I have Bangkok on my mind. I know no one there misses me, but I can’t help feel like that is the society that I belong in. The world is huge. Yet it seems so small. 15 hours away is a completely different world. I have come to accept my life, my loneliness, myself as I am. I’m tired of trying to improve myself. I’m just going to enjoy life and if self improvement is part of the process, then that would be awesome. Gone will be the days of me trying to be someone I’m not. No more drugs or alcohol to help become someone I want to be. Instead, I love being me the way I am. Shy, humble caring and free..
Journal Entry: 08.01.2014

 

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Betel Quid:

 

 

For The Foodies:

 

 

Leaving Burma:

 

 

Being back is still difficult. Especially, being home alone in my room. I have trouble getting my sleeping hours back on track. Frustrating.
Journal Entry: 08.04.2014
I got a normal night of sleep again last night. It was frustrating and I was tempted to take a sleeping pill, but I trusted my body and waited patiently for it to adapt. I’m getting flash backs of my trips. It is flooding back into my mind. My emotions are shook. I would like to be out there in the world again, soon. I’ve also adapted back to life here at home in L.A. Life is too short…I have picked up a lot of similar characteristics from gramma and grampa. Some good and some bad. Depends on your interpretation and perspective. I’m proud of it regardless because it has gotten me here in life and allowed me to do all the things I’ve dreamt of.
Being home is depressing for me. I feel depress. All the things I felt before I left are still lingering with me. I need to move out of this house…If my depression persist then, I wouldn’t know what to do. Life as an adult is no fun. No fun at all…
Journal Entry: 08.07.2014
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Mandalay, Myanmar

Adventure, Culture, Food, Life, Travels

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Train cabin.

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Mandalay Palace

 

What to do, what to do…? I just received words from my uncle that my grampa is not doing so well. Should my decision be based on right or wrong or fearing the consequences of my actions? I have struggled with the reality that is the illusion of comfort. I feel like Lars. Depending on something so unreal for comfort…
Journal Entry: 07.19.2014

 

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Mandalay railway station.

U Bein Brigde:

Believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world.

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Taung Tha Man Lake

 

 

 

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U Bein Bridge

U Bein Bridge

 

Inn Wa:

An ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese kingdom from 14th to 19th centuries.

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Ava Bridge.

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Lately, I’ve been having a lot of dreams, that included people from my past…The lesson that I’d learned from George is the same with many others. I need to be assertive in what I want. I don’t have to be aggressive in order to get it. Just need to state my preferences and likes/dislikes. Others can’t read minds. So, a closed mouth will not get fed.
Journal Entry: 07.23.2014
I love small border towns of Myanmar. They are very green, pleasant and charming.
Journal Entry: 07.24.2014

 

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Me Nu Ok Kyaung (Me Nu’s Brick Monastery).

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Why walk?

 

George left for Hong Kong today. Good people. I witnessed another act of kindness amongst people tonight. Instead of fighting for customers, tuk tuk drivers take turn getting customers and helped each other out. The Thais are truly kind and tolerant people.
I have been very intolerable of fellow travelers. I don’t know why…
As George with all his wisdom would say, “It ain’t an adventure unless there is a hint of danger.”
Journal Entry: 07.26.2014

 

For The Foodies:

Mohinga:

Breakfast noodle made with fish snd shrimp paste base.

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Mohinga

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I like my tea with milk.

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There is something about being in big cities like Bangkok, that makes you feel the need to spend. To stimulate your senses. Its difficult to be alone in a big city. Whereas, in the countryside, you can do without much people around. I think it has to do with artificiality of big buildings, crowds and noises.
I’m thinking about going home, but I am not looking forward to seeing any family members except my brother. So much stress and drama to come home to….
A lot of mixed emotions that I am feeling. Did I make the right decision??
Whether I am wrong or right, lets not get it twisted. I’m doing this for my pops and bro. They have stuck with me thru thick and thin. Enduring the worst because of me. Its the least I can do.
Journal Entry: 07.27.2014
This kid Josh is how I’d thought he’d be. We share similar views on life. I can learn a lot from this kid. and his outgoing ways. He is relentless in his attempt to interact with people, without any fear of rejection. My initial reaction was annoyance and envious of his outgoing personality. He reminds me of what it really means to live life. To lower your defense and interact with others. Thru which views and perspectives can be exchange.
I wonder if I were to be submerged in a culture, where they did not speak english at all, how well I would pick up the local dialect? The best way to find out is to trigger your survival instinct by forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Journal Entry: 07.29.2014

Shwedagon Pagoda

Adventure, Culture, Life, Travels

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The structure of Shwedagon Pagoda

Out of the thousands of pagodas throughout Myanmar, this is the most prestigious of them all. Constructed 2500 years ago, the present height of The Shwedagon Pagoda is 326 feet. The top of the pagoda is covered with diamonds (79,569 to be exact), rubies and other precious gems. This pagoda’s compound is adorned with numerous Buddha statues, all of which represents a different Buddha. The Burmese believe in more than one Buddha. Great place to catch the sunset or people watch as locals both young and old mingle.

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The compound surrounding Shwedagon Pagoda.

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King Tharyarwady’s Bell, was casted and donated in 1841 AD during the reign of King Tharyarwady.

 

 

 

 

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Locals enjoying the sunset

 

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Buddha’s sacred Tooth relic Replica donated in on June 2013 by Ling Guang Buddha’s Tooth Relic monastry, Bejing.

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Dhammazedi Stone Inscription. In 1435 A.D. King Dhammazedi had the history of the Shwedagon inscribed in stone in three different languages: Mon, Myanmar and Pali.

 

 

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Prayer session taking place

 

Yangon, Myanmar

Adventure, Culture, Food, Life, Travels
Yangon

Panorama view of downtown Yangon. Left: Sule Pagoda, Center: Yangon City Hall.

 

Panoramic view of Yangon with the Sule Pagoda in background.

Panoramic view of Yangon with the Sule Pagoda in background.

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Young Buddhist nuns collecting alms.

 

Its cute how Burmese call waiters and waitresses at restaurants by making a smooching sound. Its amazing how something means one thing in one culture and has a totally different meaning in another.
Journal Entry: 07.16.2014

 

Side walk venders and businesses.

Side walk venders and businesses.

Yangon

Street view of downtown Yangon.

Independence Monument and Park.

Independence Monument and Park.

Traces of Yangon's past under Colonial rule...

Traces of Yangon’s past under British Colonial rule…

 

For The Foodies:

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More sweets.

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Burmese Pizza.

 

I have been feeling depressed for the last couple of days. I feel reluctant to go home, but I don’t know where else I can go with this much money…I am physically drained from traveling. Tired of Southeast Asia. I must be experiencing travel fatigue. I’m questing whether or not I want to go to China. I will find out. I had a dream about my pops and brother. Couldn’t remember what it was about., but it helped me realized how I am feeling. They have moved on with their lives, as well as everyone else. I feel stuck. The feeling never disappeared after almost nine months away from home. I feel lost, lonely and despair. I long for the warmth of my mother. The comfort of women. I have chased it for so many years and it has brought me so much pain. I’m all out of tears to cry. I just want to find a way to properly end this pain.
Journal Entry: 07.18.2014

The monk life at Au Pak Monastery

Adventure, Culture, Life, Travels
The entrance to the meditation hall of Au Pak Monastery.

The entrance to the meditation hall of Au Pak Monastery.

My visit to Mawlamyine ended with a side trip to Au Pak Monastery. Au Pak Monastery is located on a mountain range 10 miles outside of Mawlamyine. I spent four day there living the life of a Buddhist monks. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. Below is a daily schedule at Au Pak monastery:

3:30 am Wake up.

4:00 am – 5:30 am Group mediation in the meditation hall.

5:30 am – 7:00 am Breakfast.

7:00 am – 7:30 am Clean living quarter.

7:30 am – 9:00 am Group meditation in the meditation hall.

9:00 am – 10:00 am Questions and Answers time.

10:00 am – 11:30 am Lunch.

11:30 am – 1:00 pm Personal time.

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Group meditation in the meditation hall.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Walking meditation.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Group meditation in the meditation hall.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Clean living quarter.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Group meditation in the meditation hall.

My little cabin along with my very own clothe hanger.

My little cabin along with my very own clothe hanger.

A meeting taking place inside the meditation hall.

A prayer session taking place inside the meditation hall.

The Chow Line

The Chow Line

The view from the balcony of the meditation hall.

The view from the balcony of the meditation hall.

 

Things took a turn from good to terrible traveling with George. I thought we would make good travel partners, but the best travel partner is yourself. This dude got us in a mess and just froze up. What a dick! Fuck traveling with others, I’m going back to going solo. I’m done with this dude. Its a lesson that I’m too stubborn to learn. If I don’t assert myself and put my needs first, others will not be too kind…
Journal Entry: 07.14.2014

 

A meditation session with individual mosquito netting.

A meditation session with individual mosquito netting.

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Back to reality we go…

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Practicing my meditation technique on the train.

Mawlamyine, Myanmar (Mon State)

Adventure, Culture, Food, Life, Travels

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Thanlyin River.

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Panoramic view of Mawlamyine from Kyaikthanlan Pagoda.

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Real men wears Longyi.

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A view of Thanlyin River

I can’t seem to describe the charm of Mawlamyine and its people…It feel as though time has frozen…

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Mahamuni Paya

Mawlamyine

Inside Mahamuni Paya.

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Colonial architecture from British rule.

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Caught in the rain with nowhere to go…

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A mosque of Mawlamyine

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Downtown Mawlamine

Downtown Mawlamyine

 

For The Foodies:

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An assortment of sweets.

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Burmese crepe.

Hpa An, Myanmar

Adventure, Culture, Food, Life, Travels

 

 

 

Hpa An, Myanmar

Hpa An

Hpa An, Myanmar is how I remembered Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asia of my youth, calm scenic rice fields. Hpa-An is a small stop over town, but its surrounding mountainous backdrop and puddles of lakes are the essences that defies Myanmar.

Field of Buddhas

Field of Buddhas

 

One of the most inspiring person that I’ had the pleasure of meeting on my trip was Steve. Steve is from the U.K., is a doctor and is bicycling thru  6 continent in 6 years. Fucking amazing right? What surprised me most was how Steve carried himself. Very calm, quiet and humble. you wouldn’t be able to tell of his amazing feat by just simply looking at him. I wish I’d more time to talk with him. It seemed as though everyone I’ve met has an interesting story to tell… 
Journal Entry: 07.06.2014

 

Hpa-An

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Standing in the middle of this small lake in Hpa An, my mind is finally at peace after a couple of days of turmoil…My mind is like this lake, so calm. The bubbles generates vibrations that will slowly ring out into larger circles, which eventually dissipate. New vibrations will appear and the cycle repeat itself. There will always be vibrations in this lake, but it won’t last long…

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Hpa An

Panoramic view from Kyauk Ka Lap Pagoda.

 

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One thing that I’ve realized about Myanmar is how a lot of the monks here have tattoos. It is as thought the maroon robe has become a cloak of protection for those running from the law. Or it could be a cleansing of the past and opportunity for a new beginning. Its all a matter of perspective…
Journal Entry: 07.08.2014

 

Hpa An, Myanmar

Local public pool surrounded by small lakes.

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There’s always time for fun.

Hpa An

Hpa An morning market.

Hpa An morning market.

 

For The Foodies:

 

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Umm beeer.

 

Mangoes of India

Adventure, Culture, Food, Life, Travels

Mangoes of India

Throughout my travel thru India I couldn’t pass up on opportunities to taste various succulent  mango varietals. It was mango season, after all, and I am serious about my mangoes. Just simple basic sensory and physical analysis of a few of India’s finest. Due to the language barrier, I will use the appearances of the mangoes as its name. I tasted 7 different mangoes and thought I’d accomplished a lot, until I found out that there are 1500 different varietals of mangoes in India. 1500 varietal!!! There was also a mango festival, which took place in Kerala at the end of June. I was very bummed that I would not be able to attend it. Oh well, next time…

Gulab Khas: Superb rose mango, sweet, Alfonso profile, floral endnote, red-greenish.

Gulab Khas: Superb rose mango, sweet, Alfonso profile, floral endnote, red-greenish.

Small Yellow Mango: Mildly sweet, initial clean spicy taste, juicy and tart.

Small Yellow Mango: Mildly sweet, initial clean spicy taste, juicy and tart.

Large Yellow Mango: Sweet, very little juice, similar to the smaller yellow mango. By far this is the biggest mango I've ever seen in my life. It weighs approximately 1/2 Kg.

Large Yellow Mango: Sweet, very little juice, similar to the smaller yellow mango. By far this is the biggest mango I’ve ever seen in my life. It weighs approximately 1/2 Kg.

Slant Shaped Mango: Long slanted shape, orange-red when fully ripped, dry tasting, clean mango taste, outer flesh sweet and inner flesh sour.

Slant Shaped Mango: Long slanted shape, orange-red when fully ripped, dry tasting, clean mango taste, outer flesh sweet and inner flesh sour.

*Small Red Mango: Sweet, initial alphonso note, then a bit of papaya note throughout the middle. Ends with a buttery mango note. *Small Curved Shaped Yellow Mango: Sweet, juicy, flesh is pulpy and not smooth, skin very thick and hard to peel, buttery-nectar mango note.

*Small Red Mango: Sweet, initial alphonso note, then a bit of papaya note throughout the middle. Ends with a buttery mango note.
*Small Curved Shaped Yellow Mango: Sweet, juicy, flesh is pulpy and not smooth, skin very thick and hard to peel, buttery-nectar mango note.

Round Shaped Orange Mango: This mango has a round shape. I've never seen a round mango before. It is orange-yellow when ripped. The flesh is very fibrous. Has a flavor profile of a green mango. Predominately sour sweet. Very juicy. Thick outer skin.

Round Shaped Orange Mango: This mango has a round shape. I’ve never seen a round mango before. It is orange-yellow when ripped. The flesh is very fibrous. Has a flavor profile of a green mango. Predominately sour sweet. Very juicy. Thick outer skin.

Tiny Little Mango: The size of a plum. The smallest mango I've ever encountered. Spicy mango flavor profile, very juicy, sour and fibrous flesh.

Tiny Little Mango: The size of a plum. The smallest mango I’ve ever encountered. Spicy mango flavor profile, very juicy, sour and fibrous flesh.

A symbol of beauty…

Art, Culture, Life, Travels

A symbol of beauty

Locals of Pondicherry create these designs in front of their doors every sunrise and sunset to welcome people into their home. It is also a symbol of beauty.

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India, the land of extremities. You’re either extremely rich or extremely poor. Never have I seen a social gap as wide as India. What is the price of a human life? Some Indians live in conditions similar to that of, which animals live. There are lack of organization, it is crowded, unsanitary, noisy and cows everywhere!! If you prefer personal space, then India is not for you. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, but found myself missing it when I left. As unpleasant of a place as India can be, it has its humanizing charms. It made me realized that if you stripped me of everything: my Western values and etiquettes, material possessions and sense of shame, you would have an average Indian. The average Indian, epitomizes the definition of being human. They live their lives without shame and fear. I have learned a lot traveling through India. It can have a polarizing effect on you. You either really like it or you don’t. Nothing in between..
Journal Entry: 06.27.2014

 

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