Sunday, 4 March 2012

Life in Burma

Gardens in Burma

While talking about our crazy weather in this country, this week, my husband and I started to reminisce over our time in Burma and my husbands idea of a garden in Burma. In Burma, most the year is warm or hot, cooler times tend to be in the rainy season and early morning. Where my husband grew up the scenery is filled with lush green foliage of mango trees, palm trees, coconut trees and rice fields. As a child my husband thought that the trees that lose their leaves in winter must be dead!

In Burma, where my husband Aye is from, a garden is mainly for growing vegetables and for animals to live in such as cows having a rest from working on the rice fields. When I talk about Burma I am talking about the remote village where my husband grew up, not the city which is more westernised. In the main cities there is evidence of landscaping, particularly along main roads, parks and hotel gardens.

In the villages gardens are used for practical reasons rather than for relaxation. Aye grew up with his garden being the endless fields, lakes, rice fields, sandy paths and roads. In fact, in the villages it was possible to rent land from others, and if you weren't happy with your house there, you could just take it down (made from wood) and build it somewhere else!

There weren't really any boundaries too, I used to ask my husband- who's that coming through the garden and it would turn out it was just someone making a short cut home. You could walk through most people's gardens and they wouldn't mind! Only ones I avoided were the ones with guard dogs!

In my father and mother-in-laws house they had a guard dog- a really soppy thing when I stroked him. There are no gates or locks on doors..just a dog for security at night! Well this one dog was lovely. There was a similar guard dog next door- I would see him lying on the next doors steps when I went out to the well. He would growl straight away at me and show his teeth. One day I said to my husband- "I am scared of the dog next door, it keeps growling and looking at me, nothing like the dog you have in this house!" He stopped for a moment and then broke into hysterical laughter- turns out it was the same dog!! He would protect the next door neighbours house in the day!

 Fruit and vegetables

When we lived in Burma, I remember telling my husband I would really like to try a fresh coconut- the next thing I knew he was scaling 14 foot up a coconut tree with bare hands to 'pick' me one! Same thing for mangoes too!

Mango trees alongside the rice fields
Every morning ladies would walk around the village to each house with baskets crammed full of vegetables, herbs,spices, fruit etc that they have picked that morning from their garden. My husband would choose a few items and then they would be cooked with rice and meat that day.

Aye in the ride fields,checking a device that is placed under the water to catch fish.

It would be quite easy to write hundreds of pages on our life in Burma and Thailand (my time was relatively short there compared to Aye) but here are a few photos to give you a glimpse of life in Burma.
In another blog entry I will go into more depth on rubber sapping and rice farming (my husband's expertise)
With Aye's niece in the rice field.
New year in Burma - 'Water throwing festival'

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