Someone needs to tell the ageing, overweight German tourists that swimwear and a video camera does not pass as 'suitably dressed' in a Burmese fishing village. Or anywhere for that matter (it's a hard look to pull off well). The lack of cultural awareness by some tourists continues to amaze me.
I am at beautiful Ngapali Beach on the Bay of Bengal on Myanmar 's coast, listening to the sound of the gentle waves brushing the shoreline. After nearly three months of horns, trucks, motorbikes, cars, prayers, karaoke, loud televisions and roosters at ungodly hours, the peace and relative quiet is a welcome respite.
Geared at a higher-end European market, rooms here don't come cheap. At $50 a night, it's been my most expensive accommodation yet anywhere in Asia, but the lure of the clear water, white sand and no dust was too strong. From my bungalow door, it is a long three metre walk onto the sand and into the ocean. It's tough, but I am doing my best to cope.
Past all the expensive tourist resorts, there is a fishing village full of fishermen, boats, baskets of fresh fish and sheets of small, silver fish drying in the sun. Despite a rapidly growing tourist market, real life is never far away in Myanmar.
Unfortunately the ugly change that tourism often brings is also not far away here. I was touched when a little village girl gave me a shell as a 'present' .......... then tried to exhort money, sweets and a pen from me. It was not her lucky day.