How much does local color cost?

January 2006. The two brothers stared at the 1,000 kyat notes that I placed on each of their hands. I turned around and walked away without looking back. I could sense the tone of disappointment in their conversation. What a sour note to end what I hoped would be a delightful evening. If only I …

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Barefoot across Myanmar

January 2006. I searched for my sandals that I stowed under the seat of the horse cart. The driver and I had just returned from visiting the Shwezigon Pagoda and were headed for some more Buddhist temples in Nyaung U and old Bagan. One of the vendors admitted to my driver that she hid them …

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Four strangers walked into a bar

December 2005. …had a round of beer and were immediately asked to leave. The bartender at the Diamond White Café & Bar, wiping his brow out of shame for having to push us out, explained that the government had unexpectedly imposed a curfew at 9 p.m. They had to close the joint and find some …

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Spirits of the Shan Mountains

January 2006. It had been two hours since we left the Danu village of Myinga. The hike was mercifully downhill with gradual ascents on narrow, muddy paths walled in by head-high razor-sharp grass. The mountain streams and thick forests were interspersed with occasional clearings. Slash-and-burn farming was evident on these mountains. After another uphill climb …

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