A picture blog of a beautiful city and its people - Yangon, Burma

Last year I fulfilled a dream that was born 20 years ago when I read a biography on Aung San Suu Kyi, the inspirational leader of Burma. I felt so drawn to the country after reading her words. I remember reading it at a time when there was a debate as to whether people should visit a country that was then ruled by an illegitimate military regime. The issue was that money spent on tourism would simply prop up the government while the Burmese people remained poor. Aung San Suu Kyi, though, felt we should visit but should travel wisely - spend money on people in the streets. That money went straight to them.

Rangoon or Yangon became my dream city. A place I had to visit. So, in July last year that dream came true. This is a picture blog. No context for the pictures. But I know that people in Yangon will be able to relate to many of the images. It may even bring laughter or sadness to those Burmese forced to live outside their beautiful country, trying to make a living. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful Burmese here in Abu Dhabi. This is a tribute to them for inspiring me to make my dream a reality. It is also about saying thank you to the many faces from my trip - faces that are now etched in my memory. 

I recall, more than anything, faces with smiles. People talk about Thailand as being the land of smiles. I want to add Burma to Thailand in that regard. The smiles reflect a resilience I have encountered nowhere else on my travels. 

Go bac with me  to July 2015.  

Burma, Myanmar, but always Burma to me.

Brandon Stoltenkamp