Beauty has many definitions and I understood this more during my travels.
The Myanmar people are warm and friendly. It was heart warming to be a foreigner and be welcomed with a smile and wave especially in Inle Lake. It was so interesting to see how they lived and what they valued, particularly women. Here are just some highlights and moments of my experience of Myanmar and their beautiful women.
MYANMAR MAKE UP AND MAKE OVER
I first noticed that many women, young men and kids wore what looked to be like creamish sunscreen. I soon found out that it was Thanakha, Myanmar make up that is made out of water and bark that is grinded.
I first tried it in Inle Lake where I liked the lady’s make up design. They all wear it differently. She offered to make me over and I was keen. Then she pulled out a cement slate, a piece of a tree and started to grind them together with water. I started feeling bad as I didn’t realise she had to work hard for my make up. She explained that the portion of tree is 300 Kyat and there is a version now available in a tub but most like the tradition form. (I later saw some young ladies saw the tree branch in Bagan and it didn’t look like an easy task. )She graciously applied the make up to my face and it was cool to touch and soothing. I was moved by her sharing their tradition with me. That day I appreciated their natural make up and my convenient bottle of foundation.
KAYAN TRIBE WOMEN
After getting my Myanmar make over I was so excited to meet the Kayan Tribe women or as some have dubbed them as “giraffe women”. They were gracious, dignified and purposeful, creating scarves and the like. I learned that the brass coils are placed on their neck from age 7 and the coils can weigh up to 10kg. I was able to hold some coils and boy it was weighty. I noticed that they also wear coils on their legs too. I met 3 women, aged 15, 40+ and 68. We were told that the rings are worn for beauty and are on for a lifetime. Contrary to belief, the necks aren’t elongated but the neck coils do push down on the collarbone and compresses the rib cage so it does appear that way. It was awkward to take photos but they were very accommodating and whilst I took a photo with one lady, she held my hand. I got emotional as she was so dignified and seemingly unbothered by life. She had such a beauty and grace about her. Meeting these beautiful ladies, was a highlight of our trip.
BUDDHIST NUNS – PRETTY IN PINK
We first landed in Yangon, the former capital of the Myanmar. It was rich with street food, fresh produce markets, monks all with the Shwedagon Pagoda in the skyline. But what caught my eye the most was these little ladies, some very young girls without hair and dressed in pink robes. We learnt they were Buddhist nuns. I smiled every time I saw them as some were still kids and very sweet. Whilst I didn’t understand it all, I appreciated their devotion to the monastic life and their pink, girly outfits. I’m glad that at least they’re attire was pretty in pink.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MYANMAR WOMEN
We met a myriad of people, all warm, gentle, accommodating and kind. Here’s just a snap shot of how they live.
It was clear that like most Asian countries, they value white skin, light features and long hair. In fact, in Ngapali I got my nails done and the nail technician in her broken English explained that her skin colour used to be lighter but now living near the beach, she is darker and now not beautiful. I reminded her that she was beautiful no matter what colour she was and in fact in Australia, all we want is to have more colour!
Whatever your definition of beauty is or what your make up regime is like, I wanted you to know that you are beautiful and I hope you feel and know it deep within. It is kindness, warmth, a nurturing disposition and a loving manner that makes a woman universally beautiful. It is the inside heart that always trumps the physical exterior so stay beautiful and kind through and through.
Will share more about our Myanmar travels soon but until then…
xo Daisy 🙂