Went to Las Vegas

Las Vegas

The Las Vegas strip, from a pedestrian bridge between the Venetian and The Mirage hotels.

I have been absent from blogging for the past few days, because went on a road trip with my family to Nevada and beyond, staying three nights in Las Vegas. I never bring my laptop with me on vacations, so I was essentially disconnected from news in Burma and have been completely overwhelmed by the amount of developing news in Burma. Apparently, CNN only likes to cover Burma when a celebrity like Jim Carrey decides to voice his support for Aung San Suu Kyi on Youtube (I videotaped the news story with my camera, but the file size is too big for Youtube, so I can’t upload it.)

Las Vegas, in one word, is suffocating. Inside the casinos, passersby are suffocated by the overwhelming stench of cigarette smoke. Outside, pedestrians are choked by the desert heat combined with the smell of gasoline and cigarette smoke. I felt like I was being baked inside a parking garage at 11 p.m. after seeing the Cirque du Soleil show “Mystère.” At nearly $100 a ticket, the show was a bit disappointing, but nonetheless amazing (the acrobatics were stunning). I did not really understand the abstract ideas, though. Next time I visit Las Vegas, I hope to catch all 5 shows of Cirque du Soleil. Anyone who has been to a Cirque du Soleil show will agree that they are much more than fancy visuals.

Anyway, I’m back but may be a little delayed in terms of updates in Burma.

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At the Golden Triangle Restaurant

I forgot to mention that yesterday was my birthday. I am finally able to legally smoke cigarettes, not that I intend to.

My family celebrated by going to the Golden Triangle Restaurant, a moderately-priced Burmese and Thai restaurant in Uptown Whittier. (I have no idea why the restaurant is named after the major opium-producing area). Even though the restaurant was established over 20 years ago, it was surprisingly empty. The Thai waitress pronounced the names of the Burmese dishes with such fluency that my parents began speaking to her in Burmese, but she did not understand. The food was average, by my tastes. Although Burmese cuisine places an emphasis on taste and not appearance, every dish that came out of the kitchen was garnished with cilantro (coriander).

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Buddha in a bottle

My grandfather’s house has an immense collection of Buddha statues, extending throughout the entire length of the living room. The most interesting Buddha in the three altars is one in a bottle. It is amazing how the artisan managed to put the elaborate altar, details like the disciples and flower vases inside the bottle, but what is even more amazing is its history.

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Food from Burma

From Burma, with love

My aunt and uncle returned from Burma today, bringing with them pounds and pounds of Burmese delectables from friends and relatives living in Burma. My mother got her share of goods and letters from her friends and family. I cannot wait to enjoy all of this, including the la phet (pickled tea leaves) and zi cho (preserved fruit).