If a picture's worth a thousand words, then I shouldn't bother clogging up this post with extra sentences. But you know I will anyway.
Burma is beautiful. They sell copies of that Orwell book for US$1, I think they're knockoffs. It's the only place in the world in which people bother to photocopy Orwell in mass quantities, and in the name of commerce, no less (as opposed to in the name of literature).
All the temples are beautiful, in their own ways, but most of them look kind of the same to me. In Bagan, they're brown. They have Buddha figures in them. In Mandalay, they're gold. They also have Buddha figures in them.
People do everything by hand. They hammer a piece of gold for five hours so it's flatter than a Ferrero Rocher wrapper. They hammer a piece of silver for hundreds of hours until it becomes intricate, painfully elaborate 3D art. Their telephone booths are a woman and a folding table with two chairs. You give her money, she dials your number. The sun is really strong. People like getting their photos taken by strangers. The monks like to smoke. The nuns shave their heads and wear pepto-bismol pink.
This is a singular and slanted vision of Burma, as seen by one person from a bus. Part two comes later, let's see what I have to say then.