Balloons Over Bagan
Also, a Time to Learn About the Past

Traveling has a strange effect upon me. My family in Myanmar knew for a couple years that I would return for a visit during winter break from teaching. However, when I began to book flights and finalize my itinerary, I felt like Julius Caesar, in 49 BCE, when he crossed the Rubicon and said, “Alea iacta est.” The die was cast by Caesar.

“Alea iacta est.”

I know the feeling. Nonetheless, once I started to get flight reservations and firm up my itinerary, there emerged a strange polarity. On the one hand, a long list of concerns regarding costs, spending endless hours in the air, dealing with all the things necessary to be overseas including having Ginger cared for when I’m gone. However, on the other hand, it is sheer excitement. I get what Caesar said.

In the midst of my getting things lined up and casting my die, I emailed Moh Moh, who was one of my guides on my first trip. On this trip, most of the four weeks overseas will be spent with my family. Talk about excitement. Moh Moh replied and suggested places that I would love to see not far from Taunggyi where they live. I replied that I would trust anything she said. However, I asked about going to Bagan. I would love to be in a hot air balloon floating over the stupas and pagodas at Bagan. In fact, I have a sand painting of the scene of that huge area in my living room.

It wasn’t long after that I got an email from Ti Ti. She wrote saying that she was excited about floating over Bagan. I know that feeling of excitement. I can’t wait until Ti Ti, her sister, her parents, and I are floating above the stupas and pagodas. There is a strange quietness when you are several hundred yards above the ground in a hot air balloon.

Balloons over Bagan

Then Moh Moh emailed about Bagan being named the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

I would like to share our happiness! !
Bagan has been inscribed on UNESCO 'S
New # World Heritage List!!!! Just a couple of hours ago.
That's proud for us. And want to inform you first.

Moh Moh

Accompanying Moh Moh’s email were a handful of photos related to UNESCO’s decision, along with this picture.

If you go to Bagan on my website, you will see many photos. This is one of my favorites.

It is difficult to explain what Bagan looked like when I saw it for the first time. I was overwhelmed by the vastness of the area. As far as you could see, there were Buddhist shrines of varying sizes and shapes. Construction started in 1044 and continued to 1287. The Bagan rulers, over those 250 years, built well-over 10,000 various stupas, pagodas, and shrines. The area consisted of 40-square miles, which contained all the various buildings. However, there are less than 2,500 buildings that still remain due to the age of the structures and earthquakes. The most recent one was a 6.8 magnitude and occurred three years ago. This is a photo of the effect of the earthquake.

Fire department rescue workers examine the remains of a building destroyed by the earthquake in Taungdwingyi township, Magwe Region. Photo: Facebook / Myanmar Fire Services Department

Myanmar Times

Hopefully, we won’t experience an earthquake, but it is a great opportunity to learn something about Myanmar’s distant past. If you wish to travel to this wondrous part of the world, plan a trip to Myanmar.

If you are thinking about a trip to Myanmar (Burma), click on Indochina Travel. I have used them on my various trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos,Thailand, and Myanmar. My upcoming trip to Myanmar will be the third time that Indochina Travel took care of the arrangements.