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Travelling in Burma

talk by Sandra and Rob Searles

Friday 14th November 2014

We started in Rangoon (Rob preferred the traditional place names which are still much used) hearing about the "Flower Girls" with their pretty and sun protection face paintings. The flowers are not for the table, but to buy to put by one of the many shrines to Buddha in the numerous temples. Then we found out all about the labour intensive way of making the gold leaf which is applied to the spires of the temples (6.5 tonnes on just one).

Flying north to the Inle lake area we were treated to the sights and sounds of the long narrow lake boats with their vicious looking propellers, driven by a one-cylinder Diesel engine, without a silencer! Almost every picture showed a temple in the background with the vast majority of the population worshipping Buddha. The monks wear red robes, deepening colour with age, and the nuns have pink robes. Children often become novice monks for a period to give them an education beyond the very basic State education. In the way that Sandra said they had reduced their 4 hours of video and 8 hours worth of slides in to a 90 minute presentation, this review can only skim the fascinating facts we heard, and I shall conclude with their river boat trip on the Irrawaddi River, leaving Mandalay at dawn, spending 4 hours aground on a sandbank, and arriving 100 miles downstream late at night, the Captain having navigated the last 4 hours in darkness with the aid of a hand held spotlight in the bow!

A wonderful talk, delivered to a good audience and helping to raise much needed funds for the building maintenance work in our beautiful Grade One Listed church.