All 120 images in this Burma slide show were taken during a recce ride in May 2012. The purpose of this ride was to set up guided motorcycle tours starting in the fall of 2012. (Photo of Bagan)
Many people are unfamilair with the word 'recce'. Recce is short for reconnoiter, which is an exploratory survey of a region.
George Migliorelli (bending over) and Reed Resnikoff (owner/operator of ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES) preparing to start their recce tour from Mandalay.
Not every image in this slide show will have a caption. They appear only if an explanation or clarification of an image is needed.
Burmese meals are usually served in small portions and are accomanied by many side dishes of condiments. Here George is nibbling from an appetizer tray.
Our first dinner on the tour. We thought we ordered reasonably for two people, but this is what we ended up with.
A bowl of noodles is the most common meal in Asia. Delicious and filling.
We garner a lot of attention wherever we go. Here we just pulled into a tea shop for a break. All eyes are upon us.
Teak is one of Burma's most important resources and a major export commodity. This is a vast timber collection center, one of many we passed.
One of the few English road signs we saw. Asking directions was extremely difficult because of the language barrier and also because many Burmese words are unpronouncable by foreigners, plus the correct pronunciation has no resemblance to how the word is written using the Latin alphabet. (Nice looking script, though.)
Sweet piece of road.
The next 29 images are from the Inle Lake region. Our tours will spend 3 nights and 2 days here. The first day we explore the lake by boat. On day 2 we explore the lake area by motorcycle. There will be off-road riding involved.
George and I stayed in this hotel during our stay.
The Intha ethnic group live on the waters of Inle Lake. Their houses and gardens are built on stilts driven into the lake bed. Everyone gets around by boat. They developed a unique, one-legged rowing technique that frees up their hands to do other things, like fish.
Conical fish traps are another signature sight on Inle Lake.
This lady is from the Long Neck Karen ethnic group. They reside in various places in the Shan state of Burma and are not native to Inle. This lady is weaving on a backstrap loom.
This Inle Lake Buddhist temple displays these five ancient Buddha heads. For hundreds of years the devout have been applying gold leaf to them and today they are nothing more than amorphous blobs. They are considered extremely holy.
This fancy barge carries the five gold Buddha heads around the various lake communities on certain holidays.
Notice the man standing in the middle of the canal. Inle Lake is overall a shallow body of water, mostly chest deep. Its level remains fairly constant throughout the year.
Surrounding Inle Lake live the Pa-O ethnic group. Here two Pa-O ladies are carrying heavy sacks of produce to market.
There are several antiquities spread around the Inle Lake region. We spend our second day here exploring some of these seldom-visited sites by motorcycle. The following twelve images were taken on this ride.
Great off-road touring in the Inle Lake region.
I have no idea what the significance is of this crimson-clad, eyeglass-wearing, fan-holding statue of a monk.
Looks just like the comedian George Burns, sans the cigar.
One of the largest Buddha statues in Burma.
Buddha statue wearing eyeglases. It is believed a pilgrimage to this statue cures eye problems.
Hand-made paper temple decorations for sale.
Laungyi stall. Burmese women all wear tube skirts and most men wear laungyis, which we call sarongs in the West.
Baw Baw Gyi Paya, a huge antiquity outside Pyay. It is made from solid brick.
Close-up of the Baw Baw Gyi Paya.
The Irrawaddy River is Burma's longest and most important, linking Mandalay and Yangon to the Andaman Sea.
We were heading back to Mandalay when we spotted this hilltop shrine in the middle of nowhere. No mention of it in our guidebooks. It was also deserted. And the road it was on was one of the nicest of the trip. A very pleasant surprise.
Close-up of the hilltop shrine.
The next seven slides are from Ngapali Beach on the Andaman Sea. It is scheduled for major development. Considered one of the finest beaches in Asia, but the infrastrucure is abysmal. As a holiday destination it is not quite there yet.
Processing fresh-caught fish.
The next ten images were all taken in the Shwedagon Pagoda, hands-down Burma's most important religious site, as well as its most famous tourist attraction. Endlessly fascinating. A must see. We have made a seperate slide show composed entirely of Shwedagon Pagoda images (click here to view it).
Crossing these wood-bottom bridges is tricky. Notice all the gaps in the planking. Not made with motorcycles in mind.
Toll collector. The entire tour I was never required to pay a toll and was always waved through. Tolls were only a few pennies.
This is a statue of Aung San, considered the "Father" of modern-day Burma. He was instrumental in bringing about Burma's independence from British colonial rule.
His daughter is Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who actually became the democratically-elected leader of the country in 1990. This prompted a military junta into seizing power and they declared her election null and void. The country has been under authoritarian rule since then, until only recently. Reforms seem truly to be taking place.
Close-up of Aung San on horseback in the middle of a traffic circle in Pyay.
Aung San was assinated by a bomb only six months before Burma was granted its independence from England.
Notice this ancient and decrpit truck climbing up the mountain. We had to deal wioth slow moving vehicles like this all the time during our recce ride. At least the truck drivers were courteous and gave us enough room to pass.
In rural Burma, ox carts are ubiquitous.
Loading an ox cart. Animal-powered conveyances are widespread. Horse carts are used as taxis in all the towns.
Proud farmer showing off his prize-winning bull.
The next nine photos were taken in Bagan, Burma's most amazing attraction. Bagan, an ancient city founded over 1,100 years ago is Burma's most amazing point of interest. 2200 temples and pagodas are scattered across 22 square miles in a lazy bend of the Irrawaddy River.
Bagan hotel swimming pool. We plan on staying in a lodging such as this one when we begin offering Burma motorcycle tours.
Hotel bed decorated with fresh flowers.
Typical scene of Mandalay traffic.
Cauldron full of delicious halal chicken rice.
Burma is a hot country. This vendor sells cold drinks by pouring water over a chunk of ice and catching the runoff in a cup.
Typical streetside eatery in Yangon.
These final five photos were taken at a Hindu festival I fortuitously stumbled across. Never leave your hotel room or your get off your bike without a camera.
This man was the head of the temple.
We hope you will join us one day an ASIAN MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES Burma motorcycle tour.