Myanmar is filled with gorgeous temples. // (c) Janeen Christoff
Going to a country where there are no ATMs or mobile telephone service definitely sounded like an adventure to me. I don’t think I’ve gone a day without using my iPhone since it arrived on my doorstep a year ago. Before going to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), I was told to get make sure that I had plenty of crisp U.S. dollars and that my iPhone would most likely only function as a camera. As our cruise ship slowly entered the mouth of the Irrawaddy River, I wondered what it would be like to be in a country so cut off from the world. What I discovered was that, despite the fact that there were some societal differences, it was still easy to navigate life in Myanmar.
True to what my advisors had said, there were no ATMs. But its lack of convenient currency exchange didn’t mean that the country didn’t have any modern conveniences. In fact, Myanmar is an amalgamation of modernity mixed with quirky un-technology. A case in point: We flew in very modern Airbus planes from Yangon to Bagan. However, at the airport, there were no check-in gates and the scales to weigh your bags would have been considered antiques here in the U.S.
And there was mobile phone service in Myanmar and Wi-Fi access too – for free. But despite all of the country’s modern “flaws,” its traditional culture is beautifully displayed and preserved for visitors. In Bagan, everywhere you look seems like a photograph. Each temple looks like another world, and around every corner there is something new and interesting to see.