16. September 2001 11:10
by Rene Pallesen

My Friends in Denmark . . .

16. September 2001 11:10 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

my friends in denmark

Believe it or not, I still have quite a few friends in Denmark. I would like to put photos of all of them here - unfortunately I do not have photos of all of them. If you are one of my friends and your photo is not on this page then please do not despair - I still consider you a friend, and maybe, the next time I go to Denmark, I shall have photos of you all!

Kenneth in kitchen

Here is one of my best friends in Denmark. This photo was taken quite a while ago, before I came to Australia.

Kenneth is now living here in Sydney, on the beautiful Manly beach - only about a half hour away from me. Kenneth came to stay with me a few months ago. He was trying out a new job, and actually came back! He is going to give Australia a go, to see if he likes it like I do. No more biting winters, lots of warmth and sunshine, beautiful mountains and bush to explore... and I think he has discovered, there are lots of friends to make - especially the pretty fun-going ones with two legs and a skirt! *smile*

He is actually a pretty good cook. Whist he stayed in my apartment for a couple of months, he cooked pot roast with gorgonzola sauce, and also gave a wonderful 3-course dinner for a small group of friends here. About two years after I arrived in Australia, I returned to Denmark for a visit. On the day I arrived in Denmark, he threw together a party for me!


Here is Ester, another one of my friends.

She is a fashion designer and paints some wonderful paintings.


Naturally at parties, there was quite a large amount of beer being consumed (how can you not?? - not possible to have a party otherwise in Denmark.

It was nice to taste one of the annual Christmas beers from Tuborg.
Created: Jan 2000 Last Updated: 16 Sept 2001

28. July 2001 11:11
by Rene Pallesen

Photo Gallery

28. July 2001 11:11 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

photo gallery

Photo Gallery

I have placed photos here - those I could not fit on the respective webpages.

Big Stuba at nightBig StubaBig Stuba at night
Schwedagon 1Schwedagon 2Schwedagon 3

Mandalay facing eastMandalay HillMandalay Fortress

Puppet Show 1Puppet Show 2


Created: 3 Nov 2001

28. July 2001 10:52
by Rene Pallesen

South East Asia ( 24 July ~ 24 August 2001 ) . . .

28. July 2001 10:52 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

south east asia 24 july 24 august 2001

Map of area I went to

I initially made plans to explore Burma and then make my way across the border into western China at Burma's only border crossing up north. I had not made any definite plans wanted to play it by ear... but in the end my trip consisted of Thailand, Cambodia and restricted areas to Burma.

I was away for a total of 5 weeks and must admit that parts of my trip really frustrated me - there were many restrictions in Burma and being in Bangkok at times stressed me because of all the tourists and crowds. I really only went to Cambodia to see the magnificent Angkor Wat - actually I really did enjoy being there. I think my most enjoyable part of the trip was the days I had climbing on the secluded areas of Krabi.

Burma - Temples at SchwedagonCambodia - Angkor WatThailand - Scuba-diving at Krabi
(23 Jul ~ 5 Aug)

(6 ~ 10 Aug)
Page available soon

Page available soon

28. July 2001 10:51
by Rene Pallesen

Monkeys . . .

28. July 2001 10:51 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

There were quite a lot of monkeys at Mt Popa.

Mother & Baby Monkey

Monkeys fighting

Mother feeding baby monkey

The photo above in the middle, shows monkeys that look like they are playing around. They are actually fighting monkeys and can be very dangerous because they bite and also snatch things from you.

They were rather oblivious to me being there, until the flash on my camera went off. Then their attention was on me and they were ready to attack.

I adopted the “monkey mentality” - avoid eye contact and move away backwards - the only way to stop the monkeys from attacking is to not look at them.

Monkey 1

Sitting Monkey

Monkey with eyes closed

Monkey Portrait!

28. July 2001 10:50
by Rene Pallesen

Mt Popa . . .

28. July 2001 10:50 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

mt popa
Mt Popa

There is a monastry on Mt Popa - a hill located 50km away from Bagan.

When I was there, it was a cloudy day.

Woman selling petrified wood at Mt Popa

I ran into a woman selling petrified wood - quite silly really, considering the place was covered with it.

Road sign

They must think tourists are stupid! *laugh* I managed to pick up a couple of small pieces to take back with me.

As you can see, there are stacks of them around.

And no... this is not a tombstone.
This is actually a road sign.

Example of petrified wood

You would be surprised how big some of these pieces are - this piece below was actually about a metre long and 40cm wide.

Toilet in Burma

Actually what I found interesting were the toilets in Burma.

My girlfriend tells me that squatting over a toilet is quite common in Asia.

In many of the city areas, they would have toilets as we know them, and they would also have a carved hole in the ground, on which either side, one places their feet on.

Toilets in the rural area are more crude than that - a hole leading into a gaping pit.

However, what I found interesting about these toilets were that recycled running water was used to wash away any excrement. The water is first used for washing one self and then used in the toilets.

As there were a few toilet cubicles a row, sometimes you would see the excrement from a toilet uphill go beneath you! *laugh*

Very clever and environmental system, I think!

Me at Mt Popa

Trying to grab a snooze... *smile*

Like Schweddagon, most of this is real gold as well.

And yes, there is a monkey sitting near my head.

If you click to the next page, you will see that I have taken a series of photos of the monkeys.

28. July 2001 10:50
by Rene Pallesen

Burma Up North (continued) . . .

28. July 2001 10:50 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

burma up north continued
Volleyball Player Photo 1

Whilst I was up north, I watched a rather interesting game of volleyball.

I have never seen such dexterity and agility amongst the players!

It was amazing to see how flexible these guys were.

Volleyball Player Photo 2

Volleyball Player Photo 3Volleyball Player Photo 4
Volleyball Player Photo 5Volleyball Player Photo 6

Volleyball Player Photo 7Volleyball Player Photo 8

Volleyball Player Photo 9Volleyball Player Photo 10

Volleyball Player Photo 11

28. July 2001 10:49
by Rene Pallesen

Burma Up North . . .

28. July 2001 10:49 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

burma up north
Map of Northern Burma

View from train

I decided take a 20-hour train-ride to Myitkyinã *laugh* it took 20-hours to get there by train because there was only one track.

It was definitely faster to run next to the train than to travel in it!

We had to wait for the oncoming train to return before we could travel north.

At one point, we crossed a bridge that was so rickety that I thought it would collapse any moment!

Working in the rice fields

Locals working in the rice fields.

Working in the rice fields

Locals using water-buffaloes to plough rice fields.

Jrrawaddy River

The train travelled along the Jrrawaddy River.

It would have been nice if I was able to travel to Mandalay via a riverboat down the Jrrawaddy River.

People living on lake

It was amazing to find out that people live “on” these lakes, by building houses on stilts.

This sort of housing is quite common in many parts of Asia, especially areas where monsoons quite frequently flood an area.

It is also very environmentally-sound, I think, and hurts the land less.

Most of the houses are made of wood.

Myitkyina in rain

Myitkyinã is pretty dismal in rain!

There is a huge drug problem in Burma, especially through the crossings into China.

I have scanned a copy of a recent newspaper article about this problem in Burma.

28. July 2001 10:49
by Rene Pallesen

Puppet Show . . .

28. July 2001 10:49 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

puppet show
Puppet Show

I saw the most interesting puppet show, known as the “Mandalay Marionettes”

There were 2 or 3 puppeteers out the front, with a live band of musicians.

Unfortunately, it was more of a show for the tourists, rather than the locals.

It cost 1,000 chats or US$2 per show.

4 men manipulating the marionettes A child posing as a 'puppet'
The Marionettes

Lots of bright lights

28. July 2001 10:48
by Rene Pallesen

Mandalay . . .

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


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

Medicine . . .

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


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