Destination Burma

As some of you may know, I am leaving on November 17th for a five week trip to Thailand and Burma, A.K.A. Myanmar. I’m doing Thailand for the beach, warmth, food, $10 massages and to do the exploring I didn’t do the last time I was there. I’m doing Burma, because, well, there’s really no other place like it on Earth.

Burma has a very long, complicated, heart-breaking history, to put it lightly. The past 15 months have been particularly harsh, with the anti-government demonstrations of 2007 and the cyclone in May of this year. The last time I was in Burma (2005), due to tight work schedules, I only had a mere 10 days to frantically race through four of the country’s primary destinations. I wrote an exhaustive, and, if I may say so, awesome travelogue about the trip for anyone who has about two hours to spare (Introduction, Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Bagan, and Yangon with an interview with a local). I also took some of the best pictures of all my travels.

Like most people, my trip to Burma had a very profound effect on me on many levels. The people and the country are really amazing, as is the unthinkably oppressive government and poverty. While on my last trip, I was beseeched daily, mostly by children, for things like pens/pencils, shampoo, and American coins. Adults often wanted to trade with me, asking for small flashlights, fold-up knives, wrist watches and clothes. An associate of mine from Bangkok, who goes to Burma frequently, reports that cheap earrings, hair ribbons and bracelets are much appreciated too.

I intend to go to Burma this time prepared for these appeals. I’d like to bring a small stockpile of everything mentioned above. I’m writing this post because I need a little help, particularly with the clothes, flashlights and watches. I’m asking for donations of these items, new or used. Since I’m traveling feather-light as always, I don’t have a whole lot of space in my bags, so I don’t need much, but if you can spare just a few items, it would be deeply appreciated. Unfortunately, since I am not a non-profit entity (quite the opposite in fact, in case you need a freelance writer like right now), so you can’t write this off, but I promise to return with tales of how your donations were used and pictures whenever possible.

As for clothing, I want to bring mostly t-shirts, but a few caps and pants (khakis and jeans) would be nice too. T-shirts and caps emblazoned with US city/state names and sports teams are greatly coveted. Please keep in mind that, compared to us Americans, the Burmese are mostly on the smallish side (the fish market ladies pictured above notwithstanding), so I can only accept small and medium sized items.

Again, I’m leaving November 17th, so if you’d like to offer anything, please contact me by leaving a comment here or at the email address provided here. Thank you in advance for your help.

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Off-topic | 6.11.2008 12:55 | Comments Off on Destination Burma

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