Temples Large and Small

After Hpa-An we headed to Mawlamyine. We hired a guide, Hlien, to take us around for the day. He was the most smiling and generous guide we’d ever had, arriving with bananas, bags of chips for the kids and endless water bottles. “We love foreigner children,” he told me. His English was at the level […]

Nepalis in Disguise as Westerners

Sometimes I’d be walking down the street in Nepal and someone would pass by who I thought was Western. They’d be wearing Western clothes and their features looked Caucasian. Yet I’d look again and see they were actually Nepali. It was a little disconcerting – this effect of seeing so quickly the assumptions you make […]

Stalking Monks

I sat in the courtyard on the metal bench stalking more monks. They were so interesting to talk to and some were inclined to chat to visitors. One monk, Ngawang, wandered over. I asked him about life in the monastery. “We are like family,” he told me, “Little brothers and big brothers looking after them.” “So you are happy […]