Archive for April, 2016|Monthly archive page

Merry Happy New Christmas Birthday . . .

In Uncategorized on April 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

Part 1

A few months ago, in order to celebrate Chinese New Year ( Christmas, New Year’s, 4th of July, Halloween, Arbor Day, Columbus Day, and Administrative Assistant’s Day all wrapped into one ginormous ball of fun ) the Stockdales went to Myanmar ( metric for Burma ).


Some of you will remember Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) as a former and until recently current military dictatorship that had suffered decades of civil disturbances that occasionally bordered on being referred to as civil wars.

Back in the late 1990’s, Myanmar ( metric for Burma ) was one of those place you didn’t go.  Kind of like North Korea, Cuba, Iran, or Decatur.  As this started to change, in 2005 the military rulers moved the capital from Yangon ( metric for Rangoon ) to Naypyidaw.  Imagine if Washington D.C. relocated to North Dakota — just because, yeah it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Everything in Myanmar (metric for Burma ) has two or three names.  One for when the British were in charge, one for after the British left, and one just to confuse everyone.

Today, Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) is hopefully on it’s way democracy and prosperity.  Of all the random destinations for Mrs. Stockdale’s work, this is arguably her favorite and the one with the most potential.

For the first afternoon of the trip, the Stockdales toured downtown Rangoon (metric for Yangon ) via foot and visited various important buildings.

For some reason, Mrs. Stockdale liked the name of this bank and insisted that a photo be taken.  I’m pretty sure this is the bank where squirrels deposit their nuts for the winter.

In addition to randomly moving the capital, Burma (metric for Myanmar) also has a unique method of driving.  Belonging to the British until 1948, the cars had the steering wheel on the right ( wrong ) side and cars drove down the left ( wrong ) side of the road.  ( Just remember that whether you are on the American system or the wrong system, the driver is closest to the center of the road and passengers exit at the curb.  This is how the wrong system works in places like Singapore and London.  )  However, in Burma, one night in 1970, the leader of the country ( General Ne Win ) decided all the cars should drive on the other side of the road.  So, from then on, all the cars drove down the right ( right ) side of the road with the steering wheel on the right ( wrong ) side.  You would have thought that over time, the right ( wrong ) sided steering cars would have been replaced.  However, that would be wrong.  They continued to import mostly right ( wrong ) driving cars and drive them on the right ( right ) side of the road.   The super-duper extra added bonus of driving with the steering wheel on the right ( wrong ) side of the car while driving in the right ( right ) lane is that when you get off the public buses or the passenger side of the car, you exit into traffic.  Good thinking General Ne Win!

The Stockdale’s second day in Burma began with a tour of a local market.  The market sold fruits


and vegetables

and fresh chicken

and seafood

and not fresh chicken.

After completing the tour of the market, the Stockdales were on our way to the Shwedagon Pagoda.  This is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) so we wore our fancy clothes ( covered our knees and shoulders )

and gave the monk children some food so that we would have a prosperous and healthy visit.  ( As a serious side note, the food was awesome in Burma.  It was also yummy in Myanmar. )


Before entering the Shwedagon it is important that you do not bring certain personal possessions into/onto/above this holy site.

While Mrs. Stockdale did get me a full military spec Predator drone for Christmas, I thankfully left it in the hotel safe with the passports.

The Shwedagon is huge and gold and you’re there for about two hours looking at all the statues and Buddha’s and people praying and socializing.


In the event you can’t see one of the many Buddha’s in the many temples, it’s OK because they have them on CCTV.


On the way out of the Shwedagon, I saw this sign.  Usually, I have some clever/dumb/tacky/extraordinarily hilarious way of describing what I see in these countries, or I can just make a joke about tote bags, however this one truly has me stumped.  Needles and snakes are good, but needles and electricity and broken spaceships are bad???

So ends Part 1 of the Stockdales in Burma ( metric for Myanmar ).