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Published: March 15th 2018
Woolly says – We’d reached our last day in Myanmar and in the interests of keeping cool I had decided that today would be a day of indoor activities. First stop, the National Museum which was founded in 1952 with its premises at what was once the Jubilee Hall, in 1970 the museum was moved to a more spacious building and its current location. As Zoe was paying for the tickets I’d kept a keen eye on the bag checking area and had quickly realised that bags were going into lockers and no one was carrying anything other than there phones, before anyone could notice or question my presence in the ‘no mammoth’ rule which usually comes with the ‘no bag’ rule I scooted under the desk and into the first gallery.
Having deposited my bag I realised that a certain someone wasn’t in sight, I smiled to myself and hoped that he wouldn’t leave the building until he found us. Woolly says – The museum was spread over four floors and having snuck past the first gallery that was filled with paintings I found myself in an incredibly impressive room with a
huge throne as it’s centre piece. The Lion throne of the last monarch, King Thibaw, it was the first room where pictures could be taken, and I hoped that Jo would realise that. The ceiling and columns distracted me for a few more minutes with their lovely designs before I headed into the next area without being seen. Huge signs gave the instructions not to photograph which was a shame as there were some beautiful boat shaped palanquins which had once been used to transport the kings and queens of the country.
Having looked at the royal furniture and costumes I saw a brief glimpse of brown fur scuttling up the stairs to the first floor, he seemed to be keeping out of sight which could only be a good thing. Woolly says – The Royal Regalia Showroom was a no picture zone and having looked at the golden replicas on display I wondered why, I mean they weren’t real! Turning a corner, I encountered the real goods which were burnished with age and looked far to delicate to touch, bowls, spittoons and some swords which is all that is left of
the Royal collection as the British have refused to give back the rest of it, which is housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I considered this for a while and felt that it was very very wrong not to give something back, Jo has brought me up to always give back anything I steal and face the punishment, maybe the British need to rethink their ideas! The next room was a prehistoric delight with a huge array of bones and teeth from a variety of animals of the time. It was fascinating to see some of my distant cousins in the pictures and just as I was admiring a fine looking woolly elephant (not to be confused with a woolly mammoth) I heard a cough behind me, I froze, maybe if I stayed very still they would think I was part of the exhibit!
I think I nearly scared my small companion half to death by the look of fear on his face! Woolly says – I gave the terrible women a very hard stare and headed off to the second floor. This seemed to be filled with Myanmar’s
arts and crafts and had a huge selection of silverwork, bronzes, woodwork and lacquer crafts, all beautifully done, I nearly split my sides laughing at a wooden elephant that was a lime juice extractor, how had someone come to the conclusion that an elephant would be a good model for this! I trotted onwards taking a cautious look into the main hall to make sure I wasn’t being observed, the guard was snoozing, so I crept past and into a room that I knew would delight the girls. Musical instruments in wood, gold and silver were everywhere with some of the most impressive drum kits that I have ever seen, Mick Fleetwood would eat his heart out to use some of them! Harps shaped as boats seemed to be very popular and were incredible to look at. I crept up the stairs to the third floor.
A blur of fur and he was gone which left me to admire the marionettes in peace. I love puppets and had quite a collection from when I was teaching as I found them a useful resource, these out did anything I had seen or had ever owned. Woolly says – I had motored through the third floor by ignoring the paintings and gone up another flight, where I found a huge collection of traditional costumes from Myanmar which seemed to have a very varied taste in clothing. It appeared that I had finished and having found a handy plant pot to sit behind, I waited by the lift for the women to arrive.
Getting out of the building proved easy for the furry one as a large group were busy being checked, we found a nearby café and sat resting our feet and paws for the next part of the day. Woolly says – I’d really enjoyed the museum and it had defiantly been worth a visit, I wasn’t quite so sure about our next and last destination however as it leaned heavily toward shopping! Bogyoke is a major bazaar known for its colonial architecture and inner cobblestone streets, originally called Scott Market it was built in 1926, late in the British rule of Myanmar, and although it is commonly believed to be named after James George Scott, the British civil servant who introduced football to
Myanmar, it is actually named after the Municipal Commissioner of the time, Mr. Gavin Scott. After Burmese independence in 1948, it was renamed after Bogyoke (General) Aung San. Luckily it didn’t seem to busy, and I plodded behind the other two who were in the throws of delight with the materials and jade stalls that seemed to be the only things to buy. Up and down small aisles we went seeing the same thing over and over again, I was bored within seconds.
To be fair we were bored within half an hour and having found a small shady place for a drink we sat, and people watched. Woolly says – I was sad to be leaving this wonderful city and really wished we had gone further afield, maybe next time. It’s a place that I would recommend and one that has a huge array of wonders to see and if your bored you can always go to the market!
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