Outside the luxurious hotels in Ngapali Beach, there is a reality made of straw huts where fishermen and farmers live. Simple and humble people who live by their hard work.
People who don’t care about the future because the moment in which they have to live is today.
Every morning the women wait at the beach.
They wait for the fishermen: their fathers, husbands, and children.
They wait for the fish for their meals and for selling it to the market.
With the sun or the rain, they wait and when the boats begin to appear, tiny, defying the waves looking for the safe harbor, they thank Buddha who smiles benevolently from the hill indicating to the sailors the way home. The road to those women who every morning wait to embrace their loved ones.
The sea gives and the sea takes away.
The sea brings people, stories, but also waste. Many wastes.
If Ngapali Beach is in fact well maintained for the presence of the resorts. The beach of the fishing village is an open-air dump where you can find rubbish of all kinds. In the midst of this plastic hell, however, I remained motionless, stuck like a marble statue, in front of a smile.
He had about three years, he was squatting with bare feet in the sand dirty and full of trash. He was playing happily with a sly look. For children that is normal. That is happiness: a plastic game carried by sea. A toy that hides the story of another child that, perhaps because he had too many, threw it away.
Myanmar’s people have always a smile for everyone.
The smile is hospitality, friendship, the beginning of a bond that can last a second like a lifetime. I received so many smiles during the trip. Big smiles, open, full of hope for a better future. Smiles that I will not easily forget.
The women of the market always smiled with their long black hair gathered in braids and colored clothes. They made themselves beautiful putting the thanakha on the face.
They told each other about their days, looking for fruit and vegetables that then carried home. Simple beauties, but just for this unique and ageless.
The real life at Ngapali Beach hid behind a small but busy mud lane.
Noticing a coming and going of people at all hours, I went there asking myself what there was: a world opened up.
A world made of wooden houses.
A world where children played barefoot, while women cut their hair in a small shop.
A colorful, hospitable world, intrigued by the stranger who was crossing it.
A world of happy children and ancient crafts.
Where the houses ended, the rice fields began.
Where the rice fields ended, the forest began.
An authentic world.
A world not to ruin with mass tourism.
I don’t know how Ngapali Beach will change in one, two or ten years, but I’m glad I saw it that way.
I’m happy to have seen the monsoon coming from the sea.
I’m glad to have smiled to everyone.
I’m happy to have discovered a simple world.
I’m happy to have ridden with a rusty bike getting lost in the rice fields and then arriving at the beach.
I’m happy to have met you Myanmar, you gave me so much, and more than a goodbye my is a see you again.