Myanmar: "I will see for myself"

January 5, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

Every Lonely Planet guidebook has a tag line on the front cover:

The Thailand book has "What to Do in the Land of Wats."

The Austria book has "The Hills Are Alive."

The Southwest France book - "From Hot Springs to Holy Shrines."

The Los Angeles book - “From Collagen to Celluloid.”

The tag line for the Myanmar (Burma) book is “Should you go? See inside for details.”


The four page Introduction gives a brief description of the current political situation in Myanmar. Then the editors explain why they publish the book and why they use the name “Myanmar.” They present a balanced approach: “Reasons to Go.” “Reasons Not to Go.” Six of each.

I read the Introduction and I carefully noted the negative phrases: “repressive military junta,” “forced labor,” “repression of minority tribes,” and “Aung San Su Kyi. calls for international boycott.”

I also re-read an article I had saved, “Dilemma on the Irrawaddy” published by “CondeNAST Traveler” in 1996.

For three reasons, I decided to visit Myanmar.

- I have never been there.

- Much of the money I will spend will go directly to the local people.

- Every traveler I have met says that Myanmar is wonderful.

I will see for myself.