Before leaving

“As I announced for the first time I wanted to go to Burma, some have told me that I was a little mad, and others, that I was a bastard. The first wanted to dissuade me because they were a little afraid for me, and the latter squarely lynch me because in Burma, simply, “we must not go there.” Some good Western consciousness would add that the penalty of confinement, forbidding anyone to go “see” on site what it is. They talk of boycott vehemently, and then return to watch MTV or read Inrockuptibles.

What is strange in the case, it is the cruel privilege held by Burma. After all, the one who goes to China, we do not ask what motivates perversity. Not to speak of democratic countries as fantastically as Morocco, Tunisia, Cuba or the Maldives, which have yet used to host an annual lean of puffy exotic tourists which we do nothing but blame their shots unsightly sun.

But now, as I’m not the type to make me dictate my actions, whether due or not, nothing could make me change my mind, especially not precisely good conscience. I went to Burma and I came back. Almost once a year, however, since my first visit.

I like Burma and this little book is to say, in his own way that I am not alone. Michael Symes first “special envoy” Western Burma (1795) and Kippling Orwell, Loti, and more recently Kessel or Lewis tried before me to say what strange force distills this country so beautiful that sometimes dizzy. And what visions he graft you ever on the walls of the brain. Pagodas to no end, first, darting their golden arrows dripping blue sky and vegetation wet emerald. vibrant fabrics then undulations of the vast Irrawaddy tattoos Shan warriors, monks in purple robes beggar in the early morning sun to melt the head, lake houses indestructible teak, Mogok ruby ​​pigeon blood, on the face of Thanaka women and imperturbable serenity Buddhas, whether lying, upright or squatting. All this, of course, but above all, the smiles of Burmese. A permanent smile, sincere and proud, brandished as a challenge to the disdainful face of those who, behind the dam of their green uniforms would the snatch them. A smile at the image of this country, so full of strength, so full of myths and so witty that we seem to side almost underdeveloped, we spoiled children of the countries of the West.

Caught between China and India, which it seems to have succeeded the living synthesis, cut off from the world by the vagaries of history, jungles and high mountains, Burma, however, will require endless patience a traveler once past the first change of scenery, always caused by the impression of returning back years. And a fierce appetite also adventure because once the loop initiation circuit (Yangon – Inle Lake – Mandalay – Pagan – Rangoon), it will venture far to capture the essence. The steps of the golden triangle, perhaps, or to spicy territories of Arakan.

This little book therefore gives you more than a hundred speeches a desire to go see with your eyes the country to “ten thousand pagodas”. That you do dream, feel, above all, that you do understand. Do not stigmatize our immobility by a people who already carries so much stigma.

Christophe Ono – Says – Biot.