February 13, 2009
Orchids, food and friends in Inle Lake, Burma
We love to introduce our travelers to the special people we know around the world. It makes the travel experience so much richer, and is a great way to get an insider’s view of the local culture and people. One such person is our good friend, Ann (pictured above), who lives in Inle Lake, a beautiful mountainous region in the Shan State of Myanmar (Burma). She is a charismatic woman who loves to share her passion for orchids–she is one of Burma’s foremost orchid experts and has written several books on the subject and also owns orchid hot houses in another area of the state.
We often arrange for travelers to spend an afternoon with her at her home. She lives in a beautiful Burmese teak house that has been in her family for generations.
The home is traditionally decorated and has a family shrine and walls covered with old family photographs. Like most houses in Inle Lake, it is built on stilts right over the water in the middle of the lake and can only be accessed by boat.
Ann is a terrific cook and quite well known in the area for her cuisine. She loves to tell stories of her family and childhood while demonstrating how to prepare traditional Burmese dishes in the kitchen. Lunch is then served in an elegant setting in her living room. This special afternoon can be incorporated into any of our private tours of the Inle Lake region.
The Burmese orchid known as Taw Win Thazin, the royal flower of Burma, is characterized by its tiny, delicate white and gold flowers. It typically grows in the high branches of tall trees in the mountains of the Shan State. They bloom just once a year in the cool January season, which is when many Burmese weddings take place. Brides will pay high prices to obtain Taw Win Thazin flowers, which are carefully placed on the side of a traditional, formal hair style.