Home

28. July 2001 10:48
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Mandalay . . .

28. July 2001 10:48 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

mandalay


Map of Burma


When I initially arrived in Yangon / Rangoon, I wanted to fly up Bhamo - one of the bigger towns north of Burma. I also considered exploring Myitkyinã - a town further north of Bhamo.

My Lonely Planet guide indicated that the only border crossing into China was to the east of Bhamo. My initial plans to Burma also included exploration of western China. However, I was disappointed by the military turning me back, despite the fact that my Lonely Planet guide said I could cross into China at Ruili.

I decided instead to fly to Mandalay, not only because it was cheap to do so, but it saved me a 20-hour bus ride there from Yangon.

City of Mandalay


I heard about a song for sailors.
“To be a real sailor, the sailor would have to have been to Mandalay way upriver”


I quite liked Mandalay.


The photo below, is of Mandalay Hill.
During World War II (20 March 1945), the British and the Japanese fought one another to gain control of the position on this hill.

Important Position in Mandalay Mandalay Hill facing east


The photo to the left is taken from the hill itself facing east - as you can see, it has an aerial view of the whole city, and puts any oncoming enemies at a disadvantage. Control of Mandalay was important during the war, as the soldiers were able to set up artillery and attack anyone approaching the fortress.

This hill was of big strategic importance.

The building you see near the shrine is a monument to the British regiment who managed to take control of this hill from the Japanese.

At the eastern part of the delta, a lot of logging takes place. There was a train line built that used to cart all the trees/wood for export to Thailand.

View of the FortressView of the Fortress


The moat around the fortress is man-made.
Although man-made, comes from the local river.


The original fortress was burnt to the ground.
The whole fortress covered an area of 2.5 x 2.5 km


Fortress at Mandalay

Fortress at Mandalay

Clocktower in Mandalay



The design of Mandalay was quite colonial, and surprisingly, most of the streets were at 90º to one another.


Overall, I found Mandalay the most expensive city to travel to in Burma.

No matter what one does in Mandalay, be it explore Mandalay Hill or the city itself, the locals always had “special” foreigner prices. It really annoyed me.

I tried to use local currency as much as possible. However, FEC (Foreign Exchange Currency) was more valuable and worth more to the locals. FEC is also used in China, and one tries to use local currency as much as possible. Any item you buy has 2 prices - and obviously it is cheaper to use local currency than to use FEC.

I must admit, even Mandalay Hill was not that nice for the price I paid to explore it. It was also expensive just to go into the fortress.

Surprisingly, I could not find maps of the area that was not more that 40 years old.

28. July 2001 10:47
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Burma Religion & Politics . . .

28. July 2001 10:47 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

politics

Politics . . .

Queue for Rations
There is a lot of politics going on in Burma that an outsider should not get involved in - Burma is one of those countries where political opinions are best kept to oneself.

In Burma, use of the Internet and mobile phones is illegal. This is the government's way of controlling the information entering the country. Even access to equipment such as laptops is illegal - the country is so poor that many could not afford such a piece of equipment.

I saw many young women queueing for their rations. They were standing so close together that I thought they were lesbians! *laugh* The girls stand close together so another person cannot jump the queue by pushing in.



Girls Standing Close

Girls Standing Close
Young Girls Working on Roads




The girls here are very young, some have barely reached puberty and are doing some very hard work.


Young Girls Working on Roads


There is a lot of critique by Amnesty International, of Burma's use of young girls to provide maintenance for the roads.

28. July 2001 10:47
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Medicine . . .

28. July 2001 10:47 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

medicine


The Wares of a 'Medicine Man'
Medicine . . .

My girlfriend, Arumi, tells me one sees the wares of a 'Medicine Man' quite often throughout Asia.

Whether they sit by the roadside, or whether they own a shop in a building, one will see very similar items being sold around Asia.

The “pellets” you see here are in fact different types of roots such as ginger or some unknown vegetable, that have been sun or air dried.

The Medicine Man 1The Medicine Man 1The Medicine Man 1

You will see the antlers of various animals such as deer or even rhino. There are also skulls from different animals - some of these animals may be endangered species, but somehow you will see them being sold in these markets.

The Medicine Man 2


These skulls are definitely not being used as “trophies” around the house!

The Burmese, like many Asians, believe in using very 'natural' remedies to cure common ailments.

Tiger Skull


A Medicine Man may not necessarily be a “doctor” according to western standards - that means he may not have a university degree.

However, a Medicine Man, may be what we know as “witch-doctors”. Some of the remedies they know are very natural and useful.

Unfortunately, not all of these remedies work. Around Asia, you will see shops or Medicine Man selling items like tigers' paws and skulls, or ground ivory tusks. Many of these are sold as cures or enhancements for the sex life.

In Burma, there is virtually no wildlife left.


Selling Tobacco


You will even find that even tobacco is sold naturally.

Not in cigarette form, but in leaf form! The laws in Burma are not quite the same as they are here. Marijuana is also sold very freely.



Fruit of the Lotus Plant
Lotus Fruit . . .


Quite often in Asia, you may see lily pads floating on the water. In fairy-tales, you hear about frogs sitting on a lily pad.

You will be amazed to associate that this fruit here, comes from the flowers/plant growing out of the water near the lily pads.

The yellow seeds come from the flower itself. The seeds are used often in many Asian desserts, and said to promote better blood circulation.

While, the root of the lotus plant is also a delicacy. It is white when cooked, and has a crunchy texture, similar to that of the water chestnut. Mainly used in savoury meals, although used as a dessert as well.

Personally, I think it is too much hassle retrieving the fruit! *smile*

Created: 31 Oct 2001

28. July 2001 10:46
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Schwedagon . . .

28. July 2001 10:46 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

schwedagon
Escalator leading up to Schwedagon








Schwedagon was a holy place with extremely large and beautiful temples.

To get to Schwedagon, you had to travel up very long escalators. I took this photo because these escalators were the only escalators I had seen during my whole trip in Burma. As Schwedagon is a very religious place for the locals, I guess to travel up these escalators give the sense of travelling to a higher and holier place.

Temples at Schwedagon Photo 1

The temples at Schwedagon were really impressive.

Temples at Schwedagon Photo 2
Another Temple




I was told that collectively, these temples were built with 39 tonnes of pure gold.

Cleaning Up







At the end of the day, the locals all contributed in cleaning the place. They clean all the tiles and are very organised.

Big StubaBig Stuba at Night

Buddhas at base of Big Stuba




Here is the 'Big Stuba'. All that gold...


Up close, the temples are a glorious sight. Especially at night!

Can you see those lights at the base of the Big Stuba? Each is a 'mini temple', illuminating a Buddha.



Lots of Gold



You can really see the magnificence of these temples!

Praying to BuddhaPraying to BuddhaIntricate Carvings


There are lots of rules or procedures about the way one prays to the Buddhas - very complicated to an outsider!

I saw a couple of the buddhists pour water onto the statue of the Buddha. Depending on the day of the week a buddhist is born, the individual would pour the respective number of bowls for the day of the week. A buddhist believes that by doing this, it would bring them luck.

At Schwedagon, I noticed there were hardly any tourists, mostly locals paying homage.

Can you see how intricate the carvings are in the foreground?

Praying Monk 1Praying Monk 2

Large Bell










The monks rung this bell to announce prayer times.


It brought luck to ring the bell.
For example, if you were born on the 1st day of the week, you rung it once to bring good luck. If you were born on the 6th day of the week, you rung it 6 times etc.





28. July 2001 10:45
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Myanmar ( Burma ) 23 July ~ 5 Aug 2001 . . .

28. July 2001 10:45 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

myanmar burma 23 july 5 aug 2001
Click here for full size Map of Burma






Burma/Myanmar surprised me in many ways. I would have liked to see more of Burma than I did, but due to military restrictions, I only had access to certain parts of Burma and was not able to see any of the indigenous people along the border as I had initially planned.Burma is a very poor country. It was difficult to travel... travelling 100 kilometres could sometimes take up to 6 hours.

One of the most beautiful places in Burma, I thought, was Bagan.

I took many photos in Burma, and tried to order them in the following pages:
  • I spent some days in Yangon, which had a heavy colonial influence.
  • Schwedagon was another place full of temples, a place laden with pure gold.
  • Whilst travelling, I could not help notice how influenced the people were by religion, and Burma's politics is one thing an outsider should not get involved in.
  • I was fascinated by what the Burmese used for medicine. They also had some rather interesting local fruit.
  • Mandalay also had an interesting colonial battle history. Whilst there, I watched the “Mandalay Marionettes”.
  • With the restrictions up north, I did not get to see much. But you would not believe how the Burmese play volleyball!
  • Finally, at Mt Popa, I went there to see a local monastry, and saw a lot of wild monkeys there.


Yangon ( Rangoon ) . . .

One of the main streets in Burma


This is the city-centre of Rangoon. Rangoon is the capital city of Burma.


It is actually a pretty big city if you compare it with other parts of Burma on a map.

Most of the buildings are from the old colonial period when the British occupied Burma. Unfortunately they have not been very well-maintained.

Can you see the green bits on the clocktower?

Clocktower with vegetation growing on it



If you are thinking it is vegetation growing on it, you are right! There is quite a bit growing on most of the buildings in the city.


Colonial Building 1Colonial Building 2The Strand HotelColonial Building 3

Man feeding pigeons



There were so many pigeons!


I managed to catch a pictures of a pigeon flying mid-air - can you see the blurred grey thing near the tree in the middle of the photo?



NextNext Page




Return to SE Asia menu

Return to Top



Created: 22 Sept 2001

15. June 2001 10:27
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

3rd Place in Photo Competition!

15. June 2001 10:27 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

competition photo 2001



I took part in a photo competition in November 2001, using one of the photos I had taken during my trip to Mt Cook in January 2001. This photo was of Kevin, the alpine guide from my group in the technical climbing course.

The following photo and comments appeared on the Planet Fear website, in the Front Line Photography Competition - not long after I was notified that I was one of 20 winners, and I was even more surprised to find out that I had come third!

The comments above the photo were my comments that I had emailed to them when I sent the photo. The comments below the photo were (one of the judges) comments about my photo.
3. Rene Pallesen

The attached photo was taken in New Zealand on the main range near Mount Cook. The valleys to the west are filled with clouds formed by the moisture from the forests underneath. The snowcovered mountains in the north are visible through the clouds. The photo was taking using a Nikon FM10 using a Fuji Sensia 100 film.

Kevin in the Clouds

Literally bathed in atmosphere. It would be easy to muff this high key exposure but Rene is spot on. The vertical format adds to a shot capturing all the euphoria of life on the tops. Reminds me of the legendary Mountain mag front covers.
~ Comment by Ian Parnell, Planet Fear
Feel free to see my photo on their website.

Also, you could go to the Planet Fear website to view the other winning photos.

15. January 2001 11:14
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Mt Cook

15. January 2001 11:14 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

mt cook





Mt Cook

Mt Cook
Our ice-climbing group

Alan


Created: 18 Aug 2001 Last Updated: 16 Sept 2001

15. January 2001 10:59
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Mt Cook ( 15 ~ 28 January 2001 )

15. January 2001 10:59 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

mt cook 15 28 january 2001
Above the clouds at Mt Cook - photo competition winner!Mt Cook ( 15 ~ 28 January 2001 )


I decided to do a Technical Ice-Climbing course with Alpine Guides in New Zealand.

I spent 10 days at Mt Cook doing a very challenging course, but I learnt a lot. I learnt all the techniques required to do ice-climbing safely. I also learnt the necessities of surviving in the icy mountains.

Prior to the trip, a lot of preparation was required. Everyday, I went jogging to build up my fitness, so by the time I left for New Zealand, I could run 3km on the sand without getting puffed. I also had to buy some of the equipment. I had to buy cramp-ons (looks like spiked metal soles) to attach to my boots; ice-axe and ice-hammer; a new Gore-tex jacket (I needed a new one anyway) and some other clothing and equipment.

The photo on the right became a 3rd-place winner in a photo competition.

Mt Cook

Our group consisted of 4 other doing the course. There were no prerequisites, other than a love for the mountains and a very high fitness level. Not all of us who do this course go on to climb the great mountains. We also discovered it takes guts and courage to stand on top of the world and feel confident. One cannot be an ice-climber if there is a fear of heights or if unsteady on the feet.

Our ice-climbing group




All of us in the group had come from different backgrounds. Søren was an experienced climber, who had aspirations of going to the Himalayas. Alan was a rock-climber who wanted to try the challenge of ice-climbing. Rob too loved the mountains and wanted the experience and challenge of being on the icey slopes of New Zealand. I had had quite a lot of climbing and mountaineering experience, but this was my first time ice-climbing.


The person holding the camera is Søren. I met him in NZ, whilst waiting for the bus for Mt Cook. To my surprise, he was a Dane living here in Sydney. He was a professional photographer (hence you see him holding the Nikon). He and I had similiar experience so our speed through the course was pretty much the same.

Soren


I actually ended up cracking a rib whilst on the course. I did this during a 'self-arrest' technique, where we actually throw ourselves down a steep slope and try to use our ice-axe to stop ourselves from falling any further. This technique is used in case you fall down a crevass and have nothing to hold onto.

Rob was the other person doing the course. He once dropped his ice-axe and one of us had to abseil down to collect it, as an ice-axe is a piece of equipment that is vital and you only carry one of these each.

We worked in pairs, but had to swap partners as our guide took turns working with each of us.
Søren doing a climbAlan doing a climb
Alan doing a climb


Ice-climbing is nothing like rock-climbing. You cannot use your fingers (well, they will freeze if you take your gloves off), so you really on equipment like ice-axe and ice-picks to anchor yourself into the ice. These pieces of equipment are really important, especially if you are sleeping on a ledge or stopping for a rest. Other than someone belaying you, using ice-picks to secure yourself into the ice is the backup should your belay fail.

We each took turns at ice-climbing! Alan is the one in the blue jacket, Søren is the one in the red.

I guess Søren has more photos of me climbing, whereas I can't take photos of myself!


In the following section, you will see a series of photos of Mt Cook.
If you want to have a look at the black & white version of this (quite artistic), click here.

Photo 1 of Mt CookPhoto 2 of Mt CookPhoto 3 of Mt Cook
Photo 4 of Mt CookPhoto 5 of Mt Cook



15. August 2000 10:43
by Rene Pallesen
0 Comments

Away from Headquarters . . .

15. August 2000 10:43 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

away from headquarters
Ecochallenge ( Sabah 2000 )

Magellan HotelMoving into SilamRepeater StationInjured CompetitorTransporting a Repeater StationBeetleKids in Village
ArrivalSilam / Jungle OpsRepeater StationsThe CompetitorsHelicopterJungle Around UsThe Village

Village people
Away from Headquarters . . .

I managed to explore the villages at Silam.

The people here wore this white stuff on their faces - I guess their form of sunscreen.

These people were refugees from the Philippines.

Kids in the village

The kids were fighting to fit into the photo!

Kids in the village



The kids here were really cute.Caught Monkey

These kids here, had caught a monkey and was trying to sell it at the camp for 5 ringgit (AUD$2.50).


No-one wanted to buy it because they knew if they bought it, and set it loose, the kids would just catch it again, and try to sell it.

In general, there were lots of great photos at Silam village.

Car in a ditch



One of the helicopter pilots was driving through the jungle roads, took a corner too fast, and had a minor mishap.


All of us having dinnerHuge crab dinner!

We headed into Lahad Datu to get some seafood!

An escape from camp food. Camp food was disgusting. There were live worms in the vegetables (yes, after cooked). Most of the food was not fresh, and was pretty boring. The seafood was fantastic here. Whenever we had the chance, we ate lots of seafood.

Yum... Paul did not get to eat all of the crabs - all of us had a portion of it.

Huge lobsterHuge lobster

Yummm... they were huge, but we did not eat them. They were too big for us to eat, pretty impressive though. They were the biggest lobsters I have seen in my life. We saw these at the same place we ate our seafood and frogs (below).

Frog



We had this frog for dinner about 2 min after I took the photo.


This was actually when I went out with Glen in Kota Kinabalu - he asked me to pick some food and to surprise him.

I did not tell him till a year later that he ate frog meat. He asked me what it was, because he reckoned it tasted funny, but I did not tell him at the time.

I think he will only eat it again. Only if he really had to.

The tallest building in the world



Petronis Towers - the tallest twin towers in the world.

Actually, they are the tallest buildings in the world, followed by the Sears Towers in Chicago.

The towers are joined by some sort pedestrian platform.

These towers are located in Kuala Lumpur.

I went to Kuala Lumpur to pick up my Permanent Residency for Australia.

Woohoo!!! After 2 years of lots of paperwork, and correspondence back and forth with Berlin, I finally managed to get it!

The inconvenience of it all, was that I actually had to leave Australia ie collect my PR before re-entering Australia.









Below, is the only photo I have of the Lateral Linking Team that I worked with during the race.

The radio communications team

Back to Top

Return to Borneo Homepage



Created: 7 Dec 2001
Perfect Moments Photography | Slideshow 2004 - canada_2004

Home

2004 - canada_2004