It’s two weeks since my last post and Valeska and I have finally arrived back from Myanmar (Burma). I thought that this week, I would write about the experience of travel and the fun of going to a country that has only recently changed.
Every year around late July and August, I force myself to take a holiday. This can be very challenging for a person who owns and runs an enterprise such as the Indie Film Centre and Australian Film Base. It is much easier to take a break at Christmas and the first two weeks of the New Year as everything is shut down and there are no courses and everyone else is simultaneously on holidays.
However, I think it is a great idea to take a break around late July and August and get away from it all. Everything ran perfectly while I was away. John Schepp, the Indie Centre Manager, did a stellar job keeping everything moving at the Indie Film Centre. For a whole week I did not look at emails or take any phone calls and, of course, a few things happened on our trip.
- Valeska and I created another feature film story. Yes, we came up with a great idea for a satirical drama comedy set in Sydney.
- I really settled back into a previous career, taking photographs of everything I saw on the trip. Now it is my fun hobby. Please see some photos enclosed.
- I shot hours of doco footage for the trip and now that I am back in Sydney I can edit the film.
Well, it is a place I have wanted to go to for years and due to the political situation, I chose not to go there. With the blossoming of some form of democracy in 2011, the time had finally arrived. Also, there are not that many tourists in the wet season in Myanmar so there is the feeling, at times, that you are the only foreigners there. We love going somewhere different and vibrant and, yes, we were in the mood for an adventure.
- Yangoon, the major and former capital city. It rained cats and dogs and only let up for a couple of hours per day. Very atmospheric and green.
- Bagan, an area littered with Budhist temples from the 12th century. Sunny and hot.
- Inge Lake: Felt like we were on a National Geographic shoot. Cloudy and very occasional showers that lasted 10 minutes. In Inge Lake, people still live the same way that they have lived for centuries.
We decided to see less, but truly enjoy the trip at a pleasant, slow pace. We took the bus between these three areas which constituted a 500km trip between these areas on each occasion.
Both bus trips took a whole day from about 8am – 5pm but we enjoyed seeing the country as it passed by. For example, when we left Yangoon for Bagan, the country changed from wet delta full of green fields waterlogged to a dryer hillier country as we travelled further north to the very sunny Bagan. The people were exceptionally pleasant and easy to approach on our trip.
Yes, I would highly recommend Myanmar as a travel destination with a difference. Go in the wet season as prices are considerably lower and tourists are hardly every seen. It was only wet in the south of the country in Yangoon.
Life, in my opinion, is about the Present Moment and making the most of the now in whatever area you are working in or experiencing. When you travel, of course you have no choice but to be present now in the experience of where you are.
- Myanmar has opened up for business. Democracy has blossomed and it’s truly a great time to get there now before it is ruined by mass tourism.
- Bagan is truly an awesome sight with hundreds of ancient temples as far as the eye can see.
- Great old style hotels with very friendly staff.
- Inge Lake straight out of a National Geographic shoot.
- Myanmar Beer. I actually really liked the beer.
Colm O’Murchu is an active film maker and film instructor at Australian Film Base. He is also the owner and regularly blogs about film making.