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Mandalay – Mawlamyine 

March 16, 2017


BY THE old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ lazy at the sea,

There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;

For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:

“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay! ”

Come you back to Mandalay,

Where the old Flotilla lay:

Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay ?

On the road to Mandalay,

Where the flyin’-fishes play,

An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!


This is the first verse of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “Mandalay” that he wrote while in Mawlamyine back in 1890. He was 24 and I can totally see him represented as the guy in the background of the first picture, lookin’ lazy at the sea, possibly thinking of a blonde girl in Rotterdam. Kipling never made it to Mandalay by the way and I don’t know if I will. 

Mawlamyine, called Moulmein by the British who like everyone else had difficulty pronouncing it, was nothing special for me. I skipped the pagodas and hung out at the waterfront all afternoon, hoping to get a better feel for the poem and the atmo. It worked!

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