Gorgeously Gory Paintings in a Burmese Temple

Most people visit Ananda Phaya to see the massive gold Buddha. I’m not surprised: it’s remarkable.

But hidden in a side-alcove, propped up in the ceiling, I couldn’t help noticing a series of paintings. Gloriously gore-filled paintings of demons wreaking havoc on mortals: boulders rolling over bloody victims, body parts dangling from coatracks, quartered corpses splayed out for crows, body part littering slabs of tile.

What was this?

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The Illegal Mae Sot-Burma Border Crossing

I put this up on YouTube a little while back, but it’s definitely worth putting up here: the illegal border crossing at Mae Sot.

I shot this from the Thai side of the Thai-Burmese border. To get from Mae Sot to Myawaddy, you cross a bridge, pay a toll, and have your passport confiscated for a few hours. (If you’re me, that is.) Or, if you’re Burmese, you could pay a fellow with a fat innertube a few pennies, and be waded across under the bridge. Literally, in the shadow of the legal crossing.

It’s pretty beneficial, really, if you work illegally in a Thai factory for sub-minimum-wage, or a monk on the run…

Don’t Date, Sell Cars, and The Future of Burma

The Burmese palm reader warned me not to invest, or date women, until April. “You will be very unlucky,” he said.

And to stay in after 9pm, "unless you go out with a friend." After referencing a chart in a book, he decided selling cars would be a good career.

"Do you have any questions for me?" he asked.

It was foolish, but couldn't resist.

"What does the future for Burma look like?"

He froze. He looked at my minder. My minder looked at me. No-one said anything, and they stared at each other, unsure of how to respond. Finally, the fortune teller spoke: “It will not be good.”

They both laughed, nervously, then my guide ran off to pee.