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The Road to Mandalay

As soon as I can, I will be following Rudyard Kipling, who wrote the poem “The Road to Mandalay” in 1890, when he discovered his love for Burma. Burma (Myanmar) and Rangoon (Yangon). The romantic image of Rangoon attracted writers and artists in the early part of the Twentieth Century: Somerset Maugham, Noël Coward, George Orwell and Pablo Neruda — many of whom stayed at the wonderful Strand Hotel, which has recently been remodeled. 

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Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

The Golden Age of Burma and its historical buildings are now threatened by Myanmar’s political isolation and a recent surge of building construction.

Thant Myint-U is the grandson of U Thant — who was the third secretary general of the United Nations– works tirelessly to preserve Rangoon’s old British era architecture. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on 18th of January 2013, Thant has met with numerous government officials to stop the destruction of buildings 50 years or older. He founded the Yangon Heritage trust in January 2012, focusing on preserving 189 buildings, mainly 19th century synagogues, mosques, monasteries, and colonial British structures. His real challenge is making the survival of these buildings commercially viable.

The former capital city of Burma is Mandalay, located in the South-East, on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Martaban, a port city, some 700 km from Rangoon.

Cheers,

Elisabeth and Natasha

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