Announcement - Bamarlay's Diary

I am moving my blog to Myanmar Man's Diary.It has already passed the beta testing stage and now up and running. Please visit my new blog. For, I will be updating it with the excerpt from my new posts in Myanmar Man's Diary. Another blog I was invited to contribute to is Today in Myanmar, a website about Myanmar culture, custom, information, travel advice, life and anything about Myanmar. You can also visit the new blog. So far, I am the only one who regularly contribute to this blog while other friends are still writing their articles. Thank you for your support.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How to insert images and pictures in Gmail

Gmail is cool, really cool and I use it as my primary mail. I used to use other emails before but now I use gmail as my sole email. I even assess my office pop mail using gmail's pop collector. However, there are a few things that I like to see in gmail.

1. You cannot insert images and pictures into gmail message. You can send them as an attachment but you cannot insert them into the message body.

2. You cannot format the message using html. That is too bad.

OK, they are too bad but you can still do these, and it is not difficult. Very easy indeed.

To so these, first, open a google document. Write your message with message in it. Just write anything you want and insert any picture or image anywhere you want in the message. After you finish, just select the whole page and copy. Then go to gmail, open the compose window, and paste. Done! It is that easy.

Now what if you want to do some html formatting? Go to google pages, create a new web page (no, you don't need to publish it), and do what ever you want. Then select all, copy and paste in gmail. Bingo!

Hope you find it useful.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ah-lhu - a donation ceremony

When you visit Myanmar, you will encounter ah-lhu one day or another. What is ah-lhu? It is in deed a religious donation ceremony. People usually do ah-lhu when they donate food and offerings to the monk or the monastry. It can be a sole even. Or it can be in celebration for the wedding, anniversary, or to mark the day a family member died. People usually do ah-lhu at home or at the monastery.

Usually, on the day of ah-lhu, monks are invited to the home. They are then offered food and offerings, after which monks recite Buddha's scriptures and give sermon. After the monks go back to the monastery, meal is served to the invited gusts. This is usually a Burmese formal lunch, although sometimes, it can be monhingha, a popular Burmese noodle soup.

Ah-lhu is an integral part of Myanmar Buddhist life, and most Myanmar people, if they could afford, will do ah-lhu quite frequently.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All Channel

This is a news website for Myanmar people. The site is written in Myanmar, but features news not only from Myanmar but also from all over the world. They have sections on E-books, cartoons, fashion, video, music, sports, money, interview, photos, short stories, games and many more. They also have live radio channels but it seems these radio channels are the online channels from other providers, they just list them here.

Anyway, it is a nice place to read current news for Myanmar people. Visit the site at all-channel.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adobe launches photoshop express

Now, Adobe also joins the increasingly popular free online photo sharing, image hosting and photo editing war. Adobe just launched the Adobe Photoshop Express a few weeks ago, in beta version. The sign up is free and includes 2 GB of free storage for photos. You can also edit the photos using the online editor, which is a simple and easy to use but a useful editor. I tried the Adobe photoshop express and found it quite a useful online service. Check it out free at Adobe Photoshop Express.

My favourite photo

This is one of my favorite photos. I took this photo in Kanpetlet, Chin Hills. The mother was looking at the foreigners who were visiting their village, while the boy was looking at me and my camera. I grasp the moment and get a snapshot of the boy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Phoe Wa

Here is another start up web portal from Myanmar. This is entirely in Myanmar language. They started the web portal a year ago. There are current news stories on Myanmar, entertainment, travel, fashion, and celebrities. There are also sections on movies, music, fashion, new products, models, shopping, sports, horoscope and Myanmar web directory.

You can visit the Phoewa web site here.

Weekly Eleven News Journal

This is an online version of Weekly Eleven News Journal from Myanmar. It is quite a popular weekly journal from Myanmar with news from both Myanmar and the world. You can read the journal at Weekly Eleven website.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Money Exchange in Yangon (Dollar Exchange)

If you are visiting Myanmar, you will find yourself trying to find a money exchange to change your foreign currency into Myanmar kyat. Although US dollar is universally accepted, small vendors will be reluctant to accept US dollars because of difficulty in exchanging into kyat. So you invariably have to change some money into Myanmar kyat anyway.

The first place you can change is at the airport. There is an authorized money exchange counter at the airport, but the rate they pay is very low, so you better not change there.

Your hotel might be able to make money exchange for you at a reasonable price, so you should always ask their price first. If they cannot, they can give you some advice on it. They can contact a money exchange dealer as they always have contact with these people.

Apart from your hotel, the most convenient place in Yangon to change your dollars into kyat is in Bogyoke market. There are a number of money exchanges in Bogyoke market although none of them are authorized. Just ask any shop in the market and they will show you the direction to one of these black market exchanges.

Next, you can try in the Bar Street (Maharbandoola Garden Street) near the Yangon City Hall. There is Myanmar Foreign Exchange Bank in Bar Street, and many black market dealers stalking the street near by. Just walk along Bar Street, and they will ask you whether you want to sell your US dollar.

There are also some black market money exchanges near Trader's Hotel in downtown Yangon in Sulae Pagoda Road, but be mindful of them. Read the following comment posted on my blog by one of my visitors.

Blogger guy said...

I went to the theater on Bogyoke Aung San Rd./33 street. The movie was very dark and the sound crackling (english). But the tickets were available without a problem. Nice way to spend an afternoon in Yangoon. I think I spend about Kyt 500 -600. Btw. Beauty Land II Hotel was a great place to stay. And one more thing. There are always some money changer crooks hanging out in front of the Traders Hotel. When I changed money they let me count 1000 Kt bills and later handed me a stack of 500 Kt bills with the same thickness without me noticing it.
I lost about $15 not to bad but very irritating. Those crooks seem to work in organized groups of spotters and closers. They were nicely dressed and spoke good english. A few days later I recognized one of those guys in front of the Traders Hotel in Yangon and When I grabed one and started to shout for the police they gave me my money back.

Personally, I recommend those in Bogyoke Market. They are safer and quite well established, so you are unlikely to be cheated. Those on the street, you cannot trust them.
US dollar is the only acceptable currency in Myanmar although on some occasions, you will find somebody who is willing to buy Thai baht or Singapore dollar. For other currencies, like Japanese yen, Euro or Australian dollar, forget about them. Nobody would take them. So bring enough US dollar when you go to Myanmar.

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Orbituary - Ludu Daw Amar Died at the age of 93

Ludu Daw Amar, a famous and beloved author from Mandalay, and wife of late Ludu U Hla, died at the age of 93 at Mandalay General Hospital this morning. She was born on 29 November 1915 in Mandalay from U Htin and Daw Su. She studied in Mandalay ABM and National School, and later studied in Mandalay College and Rangoon University. She established herself as a writer by translating Trials in Burma by Maurice Collis. She later married to Ludu U Hla and publish Ludu Newspaper. Her husband Ludu U Hla passed away in 1982. She has five children.

It is perhaps one of the biggest loss for the literature circle of Myanmar in recent years.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bus to Mandalay

If you are planning to go to Mandalay directly from Yangon, you have three options. The most comfortable, convenient and expensive one is to take a flight. The price (for two way ticket) is more expensive than a two way ticket between Bangkok and Yangon. The second, less expensive one is to use the train. The cheapest and most uncomfortable way to travel is by bus.

Buses from Yangon to Mandalay usually leave around 5 PM in the afternoon, and arrives to Mandalay the next morning around 9 AM. The buses are all air-conditioned, but some of the bus drivers may turn off the air cons once the leave Yangon. Most buses will also take passengers in the axle seats, which makes the bus very crowded. The buses will stop on the way for dinner and supper, usually around 8 PM and after midnight. The stop depends on the bus service. Food might be a little difficult for you to digest as this is always Burmese rice and curry. Food price is not included in the bus fare. The toilets at these restaurants are almost always dirty.

The road is OK for most of the way although it is quite bumpy. Burmese soap operas, karaoke or sometimes Burmese traditional Anyeint is shown on the bus, usually with unbearably loud sound. The road is usually bumpy, and the bus jumpy so it is difficult for a traveler to sleep well on the way. There is no toilet on the bus so don't hesitate to go to the toilet even if the toilets are extremely dirty (which is true in some cases).

For a bus service, I recommend "Man Shwe Pyay" as the buses are newer and in better condition. They also open air con all the way and don't have the axle seats so the bus driver cannot take any passenger on the way.

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