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Including the Annular Solar Eclipse!
January 7-19, 2010

Dear Travelers:

In the bright, pleasant days of winter, we will journey to Burma (Myanmar), one of Southeast Asia’s most enigmatic and fascinating locations. Our journey is scheduled to coincide with the Annular Solar Eclipse, January 15, 2010, as it passes over Mandalay. We hope you will join us for this very special adventure!

Entering the heartland of Burma is like stepping into the past. Ringed by hills, of the Indian and Thai frontiers, the fertile plains of the Irrawaddy River have, for centuries, nurtured a civilization that takes great pride in doing things its own way. Since gaining independence, the Burmese government has pursued a policy of self-sufficiency and isolation. Today this land, rich in resources, remains one of the least “globalized” places on earth.

Dignified and proud, the Burmese people regard foreign visitors as guests in their country and take pleasure in introducing their customs. Men wear lungyis, loose-fitting cotton wraps; young women brush their faces with tanaka, a powder made from ground tree bark, both for beauty and for protection from the bright sun. Ancient traditions that have disappeared elsewhere survive in the valleys of the Irrawaddy.

The Burmese people are devoted Buddhists of the Theravada school. The gilded spires and Buddha images of their temples can be sublimely beautiful, and temples serve as places not just for worship, but where whole families mark life’s milestones: young boys are ordained as monks; couples seek guidance according to the day of their birth. The complex of Shwedagon Paya, on a hill in central Rangoon (Yangon), is one of humanity’s spectacular expressions of religious devotion.

Highlights of our expedition to Burma include Inle Lake, the fabled city of Mandalay, and the stunning plain of Bagan where thousands of temples and pagodas rise from an acaciacovered savanna. At Inle Lake, we will stay in cottages raised on teakwood pilings, well offshore in about six feet of clear water.

Many of the most productive, scenic locales on the Irrawaddy plain have, at one time or another, hosted a capital city. Mandalay has had four of them, some of which combine exquisite historic architecture with intimate portraits of contemporary rural life, best observed from a small boat or a horse cart on an earthen track.

While Mandalay was Burma’s capital in recent centuries, Bagan was the power center of antiquity. Thirteenth Century temples and pagodas dot a broad, scenic plain. Other activities in Bagan include a visit to Mt. Popa, an exploded volcano cloaked in lush forest, and Sinluheing (Elephant Pond) village whose residents subsist by cultivating sesame and tamarind and distilling the fermented sap of toddy palms.

I look forward to returning to Burma and will provide commentary and insights during our journey. It will be a delight to explore Burma and see the Annular Solar Eclipse with you!

We hope that you will be able to join us.

Dr. Chris Carpenter
Expedition Leader

$3,795 + air.

Brochure (Requires an Adobe pdf reader to view)




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