World's Largest Book, Mandalay Myanmar, Jan. 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

#3 - Learning a little about the culture and history of Myanmar

The best way to understand the modern culture of a country is to learn a bit about their history. 

Royal Regalia (image from web)
After our drive through the city, we went to the National Museum of Myanmar.

We were not allowed to take our camera into the museum, so I am using this image from the web. 

These are royal wedding regalia. They were extensively embroidered with gold and silver threads and had many precious gems attached. They must have been very heavy.

The story behind them was that the sister of the bride stole the wedding dress and was married to the king in her sister's place, thereby becoming queen.

We  wandered the exhibit halls for an hour or so getting a feel for the past, before going to lunch and on to our next venue: The National Races Village"If you visit the village, you will not only enjoy a fresh breeze blowing across the Bago River, but also get the sense of Union Spirit from the villages of our national brethren: Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. You can see buildings with significant symbols denoting various national races residing in the country."

The park was quite large and the day was getting hotter. 

Image from web
Joko had suggested we rent bicycles, but on second thought we opted for a shuttle ride to the farthest house and a walk back.

Nicki, Joko and Merikay feeding the ducks
Nicki, a Burmese friend of Joko's, came with us for the first few days of the trip. Having an interpreter was so helpful. Nicki's English was impeccable. 

Image from Web
Almost all of the  "village" houses were on raised platforms with room underneath for family activities, storage and or the keeping of livestock. 

We were required to remove our shoes before entering each house. This was a bother. I was wearing walking shoes and they are not easily slipped on and off. Some of the stairs to the upper levels did not have a railing, and at these I did not go upstairs with the others.

This one was not on stilts. It had a variety of colorful fabrics and clothing items on display, a big garden, and a flower bedecked bullock cart.

This guy was at the entrance to the path leading to one of the houses. I'm not really sure which, but we thought he was fun.

Some of the houses were empty, but others displayed a wide variety of everyday household items.

I think this sand-covered table was a cooking surface, based on the placement of the sticks and the brick-like pot and kettle holder.

Pottery on display was simple but functional.

Notice the woven wall, and the open spaces in the floor and walls. Air circulation must be very important in the hot humid climate. All of the peoples made extensive use of local materials to weave baskets and other containers. This was all pre-plastic, but they had everything they needed.

In contrast, I noticed the extensive use of plastic at this modern Burmese family picnic outside one of the houses.

In most of the houses there was a large open room, used for all daily activities, and where the entire family slept on the floor mats that were rolled up each morning.

We saw this bed in a separate area of one house. I don't recall the story, but noticed the "mattress" is just a woven mat on a wood slat base. 

Some of the houses had separate sleeping areas for the unmarried women of the family, called "virgin rooms".

At the time, I had a hard time really seeing the differences between one village house and another, but later in our drive around the countryside I began to recognize differences from place to place. In the countryside people still live in these kinds of homes. They have no indoor plumbing, and the walls are mostly woven or wood slats.

Our walk back to the entrance was long, but leisurely. It was late afternoon but Joko and Nicki had one more magnificent thing to show us. 

The next post will be #4, Sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda

Look for my next post to read more about it and see some really stunning images!


  1. I am so enjoying reading about your visit. Its fascinating.

  2. I am happy to experience this trip through your blog. Keep it coming! 😀

  3. Those houses appear to be the same as many pioneer Villages we have toured in the US and Canada but it is still interesting to see how others still live.
    Be Safe and glad you Enjoyed your trip.

    It's about time.

  4. We have a trip there on our bucket list hopefully, this fall.


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