When I was a child, my grandfather would tell us stories about his time spent in India and Burma back in the ‘40s – he would spare us the gory details of the war and focus more on the time spent in the jungle. Walking through the monsoon rain, falling ill with malaria and developing a taste for curry that remained a favourite for the rest of his life.
Arriving in Myanmar, I find myself travelling through this mesmerising country in awe of what it must have been like more than seventy years ago, when every step you took was one into the unknown. Exploring a country so diverse in vegetation, wild life and its people.
The earth red like the fire that warms the family home, the rice fields glistening in shades of green and yellow as they sway in the warm summer breeze. The grey water buffalos and locals bathing in the cool rivers as the evenings descend upon them. The mountains and hills blessed with terracotta and gold stupas, religious offerings of the past and present now inviting you to wander amidst the historic sites and marvel at the architecture. The water lilies spread out like an emerald carpet on the water. Fishermen casting their nets in between the floating gardens and colourful long tail boats weaving their way in and out of life on the lake. The trees alight with bright orange blossom equal to the colour of cloth draped effortlessly around the devoted monk, as he wanders the pebbled streets with nothing but his bare feet to carry him to his destination.
Tracing my grandfather’s footsteps has added colour to his stories and the sketches have come alight with new images of this beautiful country we have had the privilege to explore.