Scenes of a country that was still in offstage during our journey. Myanmar was under the rule of a military dictatorship for more than fifty years. During this time the country was cut off from the rest of the world.
Right lane of the highway heading north: In 2011 Myanmar was still a closed country. Few tourists strayed here. The country suffered under the military regime, very many things did not exist, among other things very few people could afford a car. And those who wanted to or could buy a car were subject to hard and expensive import conditions.
Yangon-Mandalay-Highway, also called A1, during our trip from Yangon to Kalaw we met more horse-drawn carriages than cars. But those who had a vehicle also avoided the highway, because it had to pay tolls.
On the A1 there was also a rest stop on our section, for the improvised washing facilities at the toilets the Burmese had creative ideas.
Also in the villages one rarely saw cars, mostly mopeds or horse carriages.
Farming families built their bamboo house right next to the highway and the farmers' cattle drive took place next to the roadway.
The city traffic in Yangon was also clear. And the construction industry helped itself with scaffolding using natural building materials, bamboo.
Some people have constructed their own buses from vehicle remains and other materials. With 30 kmh these vehicles chugged through the country.
As far as transport today is concerned, the country is suffering the same fate as so many countries in the world. With the opening, many, many Burmese bought vehicles and meanwhile the cities are suffocating in the traffic chaos. The country roads are also congested and still share the roadway with horse-drawn carriages, scooters and bicycles.
In 2010 the first elections in decades were held. In February 2011 a civilian government was installed. Since 2016 there has been a civilian president.
The politician Aung San Suu Kyi - many Burmese reverentially call her "The Lady" - has been working with her party NLD (National League for Democracy) for the democratization of the country since the late 1980s..
Despite its wealth of resources, Myanmar is one of the ten poorest countries in Asia. Years of mismanagement by the military government and Western sanctions have literally sucked the country dry.
Whoever travels to Myanmar can feel the longing of the people for freedom and democracy. However, the rapid opening of the country also brings problems with it. Myanmar's society, with its rich, millennia-old culture, is exposed to new influences, such as foreign investors who are after the country's raw materials.