It was an amazing stay I had in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, observing and trying to live like them during my short stay in their country. Like I always say on my travel blog about Myanmar, their country reminds me of Philippine provinces 20 years ago and somehow, Laos 5 years ago. Their slow phase of living, contented and sincere, generous, happy people, it was an eye opener to me, a simple reminder of where we used to be.
(Me and Chowen)
I noticed on my 9 days stay in Myanmar, they are still wearing their traditional clothing which they call, Longyi for women and Pasu for men. Both are just the traditional ‘malong-like’ wrap around skirt that goes until their ankle. Which varies in prices from the shops depending on the fabric you prefer.
Burmese Sunblock and Makeup
They also have a traditional makeup called, Thanaka. It was actually made from the bark of Thanaka tree that most women use as they makeup and sunblock. Vain men uses them too to protect them from the intense tropical heat in the country (which it was really HOT!). Thanaka tree only grows in Asian countries such as India, Myanmar, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Usually, we have to wait 35 years before taking the tree down for it to have enough time to get its skin protein that is beneficial to the human skin.
People keep trying to tell me how I look like locals and its funny how in Myanmar, most of them was convincing me to dress and lo0k like them for my benefit. I wasn’t sure but then when 2 motorbike drivers, 1 taxi driver, and the hostel manager said it to me, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try. Since I would like to experience living local, that will be far more realistic fitting in.
(Photo credit: http://traveleatspa.blogspot.com)
Burmese Lip Coloring Nut
I did not try the red betel nut but we did try to chew some similar stuff like it, it tasted horrible. I remember my grannies used to chew stuff like it back in the Philippines when I was a kid, it wasn’t pleasant looking. However, in Myanmar, everyone loves it. Young, old, and teens are chewing it. You can even see them spit the colored juices on the ground, for what reason I don’t know. Most of them have stained set of teeth and lips. Teeth whitening would be impossible at that stage.
Living like a Burmese local
I got myself a Longyi at the market and everyone at the hostel were so happy and delighted seeing me just like them. Soon enough, one staff asked me if I would wear the ‘makeup’, and I was like “Sure, why not?”. Soon enough, I was on a photo shoot from their phone cameras. They were so happy to see me like it!
The Longyi is comfy but it wasn’t cool to be wearing in a hot weather temperature like that. Yet, the Thanaka makeup was awesome. In fact, I wore it all day and only washed it before going to sleep at night. The next morning, my little blemishes I have on my right cheek were gone. I wanted to get the powdered Thanaka makeup but my taxi will be there in 15 minutes. The receptionist said, “We can get it everywhere but we don’t have time, you should have told me last night”. “I just noticed it this morning when I woke up but its okay…” 2 minutes later, the taxi arrived. I would have been left behind if I did take my chance.
Burmese fashion and beauty regimen is not at all too bad. They benefited me the most. The wardrobe got me free entrance on every tourist places and Thanaka make up had protected me from the sun and took away my tiny blemishes. I would recommend you to try it when you visit there, however, our skin reaction may vary regarding its components and your skin chemical components as well, so if you want to try it, just do the skin test first.