Monday, January 09, 2006
I took this picture in Ruili, the launching point of a trip from China into Myanmar. The girl in the picture is Burmese (in the sense that she is from Myanmar), and she was the first I saw with the yellow paint on her face. This is called Thanakha and is used as a beauty product, as a cleanser, and as sunscreen. Much of the time women and children just smear this on their arms and faces. Sometimes, however, there is much more thought put into the application, and to a wonderful effect.
Ooh...this guy was tricky. He came up to me on the street - a street full of Burmese run restaurants, and invited me to eat with him and talk about teaching (he is an English teacher). He introduced me to some of his students and spoke a little (very little) about his government. More he talked about Islam. Then he took me to a jade shop run by his nephew and kept saying he wanted to give me a gift, pick out a bracelet and maybe some earrings for my girlfriend. I kept telling him I had no money to buy anything because I had already sold all my RMB for Kyat. He did not seem to understand that. "I do not want to make a profit," he said. "This was is very nice don't you think." After a half hour of this is the shop I took out the 100RMB I had left and said "This is what I have and I need it for my hotel and food. I can't buy anything." After that he had to go in a hurry, and my first long encounter with a Burmese man was not what I might have wanted it to be.