I was saddened this week by news that Burma, also known as Myanmar, had suffered another military coup. It brought back memories of my first trip there in March 2013 shortly after it had re-opened to international travelers.
My 2013 Trip To Rangoon
I flew to Rangoon in Singapore Airlines business class, a regional 777-200 with old-school recliner seats and a projector screen.
Burma had just begun issuing visas to foreign visitors and I had arranged a visa on arrival.
Upon landing, I proceeded through a beautifully remodeled airport to a lengthy queue for passport control. Once I reached the front, I presented my e-visa confirmation and was soon stamped in.
I recall that foreign currency exchange was an issue and several of my U.S. bills were not accepted because they were creased or crumpled.
Sadly, I have lost the pictures from my journey through Rangoon…Maybe they will turn up one day, but at present I cannot find them. The ones in this report are from my iPhone, but I had my SLR camera along as well. But what I do recall was a bustling city filled with commerce and immense amounts of new construction.
I bet the city has greatly transformed over the last eight years.
While my pictures are lost, these videos of my drive back to the airport are not:
I flew back on Thai Airways and spent some time in the Royal Jade Lounge prior to departure.
The persecution of the Rohingya cried out for justice, but a coup d’etat seems to set Burma back even further. Statecraft can be a dangerous chess game, but let us hope for the sake of the people of Burma that peace and democracy will one day flow freely.