Burma is the latest destination to be (re)discovered by the western world, basking in the warmth of a new-found approval by the PC brigade.
The last time reporter Zoe Daniel from the Australian current affairs program Foreign Correspondent visited Aung San Suu Kyi, she had to sneak into the country under the guise of a tourist visa. Now, foreign journalists can visit openly and ‘The Lady’ is again (who knows for how long?) free to leave her home, campaigning across the nation to the cheers of rapturous followers.
There are very few destinations I passed through in 1974 from which my cardboard-mounted Kodachromes could still pass for current images. Burma is one.
Still aloof from the world, Myanmar, as they call it, remains a land of mysteries, some dark, others whimsical. A golden boulder perches inches from perdition; a train lumbers into view, hours late; Buddhist monks busy themselves training cats to leap through hoops.
Sitting in a concrete-floored shop as horse-carts clatter past the door: an internet connection seems miraculous after three days of frustration.
Just a gentle paddle away, the ethereal waters of Inle Lake are home to the Intha, Burma’s famed leg-rowers. I must hurry back – no country can or should remain frozen forever in a timewarp. I know that I (and my dollars) will be as welcome as ever.