Tag Archives: Burma

Myanmar (Burma) the human operated ferris wheel….

6 Dec

And the wheel in action…

I have never seen anything quite like it. I was in Bagan, Myanmar, the home of a thousand temples spread out amidst beautiful countryside.  Life goes on around the temples almost as if they are not there. So farmers plough their fields, children play and animals graze.  The temples were beautiful.  But what were all the travellers talking about? The ferris wheel. Someone had showed me a few snaps of it but said you really had to see it to believe it!  This was true!

The ferrie wheel was at a small fairground on the outskirts of Myanmar.  It was kind of an old-fashioned fairground where you could pop balloons with darts and win prizes, eat popcorn and drink sweet jelly filled drinks.  The centrepoint was the ferris wheel.

With the backdrop of funky music, the operators climb up the centre of the wheel to the top. There they sit. They chill. They tap their feet to the music. And wait until there are enough people to make it worth running the wheel. Then when the whistle goes off they go. Using their weight as momentum they get the wheel up and running, hanging off it as it turns by one arm, a foot and spinning down and then jumping off!  They also jump from cage to cage while the wheel is still turning.

No harnesses.

No safety.

No risk assessments.

Just strong arms, bright smiles and the luck of the Buddha!

If I had to fall in love with a country….

17 Nov

It’d be Myanmar…

I loved this place.  Quirky, different, like another age, it is unique in so many ways.

Here are some of the things I loved about it….

  1. The velvet sandals they slip around in. Men and women.
  2. The beautiful longyi style skirts they wear, even in the tiny basic villages they look beautiful.
  3. Betel nut. So many red stains on the road…not fights but the stuff they Split out after chewing the betel nut.
  4. Steering wheels on the right…and driving on the left.
  5. The night booksellers of Mandalay. Each night they set up their stalls in darkness (Myanmar doesn’t do street lighting) selling everything from “How to teach yourself English”, to “Geology for Beginners”, from medical books to Buddhism books.
  6. The people reading.  They love to read wherever they are.
  7. Their love of football especially Manchester United!
  8. Their cute metal food containers saving on plastic bag wastage.
  9. Their school uniforms. All over the country there are standard colours for the school uniforms so school longyis must be in green.
  10. Their crazy currency which goes up and down every day. With an official Exchange rate set at 3 kyat for a dollar when the black market rate isa round 740 for a dollar.
  11. The sellers of the old bank notes. Where else in the world was the currency once changed to all the 9s?
  12. From a country with so much beauty, the awful image on the 1,000 kyat note which looks like a hospital.
  13. The rowing style on Inle Lake. Thigh on the paddle.
  14. Limits on petrol buying so huge crowds standing outside the stations waiting to fuel up.
  15. The world’s cheapest stamps. You can send an airmail letter to anywhere for 30 kyat! (yes the Exchange was 740 for a dollar!)
  16. The old cars
  17. The devotion to the Buddha which sees people streaming into the pagodas, lining their buddhas with gold leaf and making beautiful offerings.
  18. The monks and nuns everywhere.
  19. The fading beauty of the colonial buildings.
  20. The “nat” festivals held to Ward off the bad spirits.
  21. And lastly…Thanaka.  Made from ground up tree bark mixed with oil the ladies, men and children smear their faces with it to protect from the sun and also as a form of makeup.  Now I can’t see that one taking off back home but I did buy some just in case!  I wonder what the response would be if I turned up to work in it…

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