I was in Myanmar last month, a country that is in the news for all the wrong reasons.
A lot has happened since my previous visit seven years earlier. At that time Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi was still under house arrest, receiving the world’s sympathy and adulation for her brave and determined opposition to Burma’s military rulers.
Now she is Myanmar’s de facto leader and is under fire for not speaking up against the forced expulsion of the Muslim Rohingya community, which the UN and many others regard as ethnic cleansing but which the Burmese see as sending foreigners back to where they came from. Whatever the circumstances, there is no excuse for the inhumane treatment of innocent people, especially women and children.
There are probably days when Aung San Suu Kyi wishes she was back in her cosy Yangon bungalow under house arrest.
My trip this time was to the Mandalay area in what is sometimes called Upper Burma. I particularly wanted to visit Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly the British hill station of Maymyo, named after a Colonel May.
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These are among the finest botanical gardens in the whole of Asia.
Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo, has a wonderful climate, many well preserved colonial buildings and beautiful flowers and gardens.
Here I met a Mr. McDougall, a mixed race Anglo-Burmese who told me something of his family history.
This four hour train ride costs 40 cents.
I was slightly disappointed by Mandalay but there are a few sights worth seeing.