On Friday, March 7, the Friends of the Library’s 2014 Travel Slide Show Series presents “Myanmar: A Photo Safari,” with photographs by Neil Groundwater. Groundwater traveled to Myanmar in December 2010 on a nature and travel photo safari hosted by cardinalphoto.com.
“The weather was mild and dry,” Groundwater said. “An experienced guide traveled with six of us to Phnom Penh and the Angkor Wat area in Cambodia. The Myanmar portion was seven days long. … We had not been to Myanmar or Cambodia before. We enjoyed our visits in both countries very much.”
Among his travels were temples and monuments during the early mornings and late afternoons, when the colors and shadows accented the landscapes. In the midday, he visited monasteries, schools and villages, meeting colorful and friendly people. Groundwater described two events when the group had a couple of exceptional opportunities to interact with the local people.
“Our guide in Bagan had worked with Cardinal Photo before and his mother invited our group to her house for dinner,” he said. “We enjoyed the experience of a rural middle-class home and living environment. While on an afternoon boat trip on the Ayeyarwady River, we were pleasantly surprised by a stop at a small, seasonal fishing village. The village can pack their shelters and belongings into their boats and move to promising locations along the river as the seasons and fishing varies. We got to visit with people that live a pretty simple life.”
Regions photographed included Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay. Tour stops included craft facilities (lacquerware, gold leaf, weaving and stonecutting), schools, monasteries and both urban and rural marketplaces.
“The biggest photographic attraction is the thousands of ancient temples and monuments,” Groundwater said. “Hundreds are in cities, hundreds in rural areas, and thousands are in areas which used to be heavily populated but the people more or less abandoned them centuries ago.”