Monday, September 7, 2009

Yangon to Mandalay

I said to Huyen before we got to our bus to Mandalay that I would be happy as long as there wasn't 13 hours of Myanmar karaoke on the TV screen. Obnoxiously loud karaoke on buses has been my experience on every long haul trip in Southeast Asia. Well, I almost got my wish.

When Huyen and I boarded our bus I noticed two things right away:

1. We were the only foreigners.

2. There was some really skinny guy on the TV wearing a red robe and occasionally saying words in English. I of course took out my camera too late but the guy on the screen -- who I still have no idea who he is -- kept repeating, "Declaration of Human Rights" after a whole bunch of words I didn't understand. I finally took out the camera after he said, "Carter, Bush (and maybe Clinton)" in one of his long soliloquies.

He was on the TV for the first hour or so of the trip and then karaoke started to BLAST through the speakers. After about eight hours of fruitlessly attempting to sleep as my ear-drums suffered permanent damage I finally passed out. A couple of hours later I awoke to the man in the red robe speaking again. I'm pretty sure I was the only person on the bus who was awake besides the driver (I can't actually vouch that the driver was awake because not to long after our bus came to a screeching halt and swerved into the shoulder as we nearly collided with another bus. As the only person up, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who nearly crapped his pants...again besides maybe the drive). I watched the guy in the red robe and found something very strange; the camera on him kept zooming out and would reveal a Mac Book Pro in front of him. It was the ONLY Mac I saw in Myanmar. After the Mac was in the shot, the camera would jerkily zoom in again as if we weren't supposed to see it.

Anyway, if anyone has any clue who the guy in the video is I would love to know. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Maybe a local televangelist...or Senator Jim Bunning looking for more people to scam? LH in KY

Anonymous said...

I don't know the guy but I can't believe you didn't travel by steam train! What a wonderful way to see the countryside.


Benjamin said...

I'm pretty sure the guy wasn't Senator Jim Bunning but I thought I did hear the word "autographs for just $100" at some point in his speech.

As far as taking a train goes, that will be a later blog. Anonymous, have you taken a train in Myanmar?

Corey said...

Its a monk, or maybe not, it could be a propagandist. He is saying not disturb the peace of others' countries. He goes on to talk about peacefulness and peace in mind. He says not to interfere with the political situation of other's countries which can make the situation more complex, and interefering in one country will complicate ours. The reference made about Bush, Carter and Clinton is using them as an example of leaders who do meddle in others' affairs. He summarizes that all countries should mind their own business.

In the past, during protests last year, some witnessed people shaving their heads and wearing monks clothes, and carry out violent or other acts in order to spoil the reputation of Myanmar monks.

This is according to my friend from Myanmar.

Benjamin said...

Thanks to you and your friend from Myanmar, Corey. I should have emailed you directly figuring you knew someone who could translate! I hope Singapore is treating you well!