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Gem casting

Hugh & Colleen Gantzer The Economic Times – May 13.

THERE is the image and then there is reality. We braved the image to discover a reality that still casts its spell over us. The image of Myanmar is that of a rigid, military ruled state, full of grey, morose, people. The reality is delightfully different.

We flew into the capital Yangon, which most of the world still knows as Rangoon, from Calcutta, which some people now call Kolkota. We breezed through customs and immigration in their international airport, once they had established that we were travel writers and not political journalists.We drove down clean, disciplined streets to our ship-turned-hotel, berthed on the Yangon river.
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Travelers Should protest Burma

Burmese people want freedom from a brutal regime, not tourists, argues European MEP Glenys Kinnock The Times, Wednesday May 9.

Wednesday, May.  On March 19 this year TIME Asia published a Travel Watch article on the debate raging on travel to Burma. Glenys Kinnock, a member of the European Parliament, has long argued against travel to the military-run country. This is her response to TIME’s”Burmese Daze: Should We protest or Go?”
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Wish You Were Here?

In the second of two articles looking at tourism issues in the region, we examine the fierce debateover the rights and wrongs of visiting Burma By Katherine Tanko/LONDON and Bertil Lintner/BANGKOK source : FEER- Issue cover-dated May 17.

FEW PUBLICATIONS have the power of the Lonely Planet series, the phenomenally popular guidebooks that are so influential they can make – or break -a hotel, restaurant or even a destination.
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Tourists face Myanmar dilemma-protest or rough it

By Angela Takats

YANGON, May 16 (Reuters) – Shimmering golden above the city of Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most popular tourist attraction in Myanmar.Monks draped in red robes chant in front of Buddha statues, worshippers light incense, and tourists stand awed by the majesty of the main stupa shrine, which towers 100 metres (325 feet) and is said to be plated in almost nine tonnes of gold.

But despite the beauty of this and other sites, Myanmar is one of Asia’s least-known travel destinations.
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Burma – a Land Where Nonsense Holds Sway

Call the country what you will, it’s no place for a visit. By Dominic Faulder, in Asiaweek published on August 13.

A combat-ready infantryman fixed me with an unfriendly gaze, his assault rifle pointed in my direction. Before I could pass, he flicked open the flap on my bag and rummaged through my cameras, lenses and tape recorder. Presumably satisfied that I was not an off-duty ninja, he pushed open the door into a gloomy chamber I knew all too well. Right beside the Sule Pagoda in the center of Rangoon, I was once again in the reception room of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. In fact, I was there to meet Burma’s ‘Mr. Hospitality’ himself.
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The politics of temple-hopping

Burma is the focus of a tourist protest – yet foreign visitors have forced the release of a political prisoner. There is a case for informed tourism. Cath Urquhart reports in The Times, 16th February.

PAR PAR Lay was telling a joke. “A man caught a fish, and asked his wife to grill it. She said: ‘You silly man, how can I? The Government has put up the price of charcoal and cooking oil so much that I cannot afford them!’

“So the man returned the fish to the river, whereupon it leapt out of the water and shouted its thanks to the generals that had brought the country to such ruin.”
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Burmese ways

Not wishing to support a corrupt regime, Joyce Morgan sets off in search of a politically correct road to Mandalay. Published on September 29, in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Subversive words are whispered among the Westerners in the queue at Rangoon airport arrivals hall. “You’re about to see your first example of official versus unofficial Myanmar,” says an American backpacker behind me as we edge our way forward.
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Getting to the heart of Myanmar

The Globe and Mail, Canada JANET LOVE MORRISON -Wednesday, February 12.

RANGOON — I discovered Old Bagan on a bicycle. My guest house provided me with a two-wheeled Pheasant. It was in reasonable condition, the brakes worked and there weren’t any gears to worry about.

I cruised around this intriguing archeological zone of Myanmar, a Southeast Asian country of 50 million people, visiting the ancient stupas or temples,pushing my bike through sand, snapping photographs and chatting with hawkers selling lacquerware, postcards, oil paintings of temples, colourful Shan shoulder bags and cheap T- shirts. Almost everywhere I turned, I was the lone tourist.
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River road through Myanmar

Gentle people, charming smiles, teak forests, ancient ruins hint of riches slowly revealed. By Judy M. Zimmerman -Special to The Commercial Appeal, -February 23.

“I love you. I love you very much. I will never forget you,” said Daw May Lwin Zin, headmistress of the village school of Kindat, Burma (or Myanmar, as it is now known). Before we parted, she showered me with gifts of limes, pomelos and green jade earrings.
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The Burma Tourism Protest

Travelvideo.TV March 12, 2004 A briefing by The Burma Campaign UK:

Burma, situated between India, China and Thailand, is one of the largest countries in South East Asia. For the last forty years it has been ruled by one of the world’s most brutal military dictatorships; a dictatorship charged by the United Nations with a “crime against humanity” for its systematic abuses of human rights. The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won 82% of the seats in the 1990 election but the military continues to refuse to transfer power to Burma’s democratically elected leaders. Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD have called for international action to help free Burma, including a protest of tourism to Burma. This briefing explains why.
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