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December 25, 2003
|Christmas in Mandalay. No one would know; it's a Buddhist town. We rode our bikes thru the streets and sang carols, but not one Burmese seemed to appreciate our version of "Jingle Bells" or "Silent Night."|
Mandalay Fort and its moat dominate the city. The last Burmese king used it as a palace, then the British converted it to a club until the Japanese took over in World War II. Fierce fighting between the Japanese and British left the palace as a ruin. The Burmese National Army uses the fort today as a base and farm. Its huge grounds offer space aplenty for orchards and vegetables.
We wonder: does bad caroling jeopardize the stability of the State?
Besides Mandalay Fort, the city's other dominating feature is Mandalay Hill. The Hill provides a natural focus and offers the city's best view. A Buddhist complex crowns the top. From there you can view the fort on one side, the prison on the other. A Buddhist temple, an army fort, and a political prison - the essence of modern Myanmar.