FLORA IN BURMA
FLORA IN BIRMA
In Burma the flora is lush, as there is plentiful heat and rain, the two elements vital to growing vegetation, flowers and trees.
In addition to the Betel nuts that make teeth red, teak is grown on a large scale, and Burma is the world's largest producer of it.
And then there are the old trees in Mandalay, "neems" in Burmese, planted around 1850 by King Mindon during the construction of his royal palace. I was moved to know that my great-great-grandfather had known these trees in their early youth and that I saw them as tall, gnarled, and just plain magical. I felt in communion with Louis-Barthélémy and I would have liked to have had a time machine in order to go back in time.
Black tea has also been cultivated for a long time, as Louis-Barthélémy wrote in his diary:
« In Burma, black tea has the subtle taste of these peated whiskies with cold cigar flavor, mixed with the warm smell of burning Bitumen. It’s a strong tea, one that I drank in the halls of the palace with my compatriots and the many Italians present. »
« Sometimes », he wrote, « King Mindon invited us, his distinguished foreign hosts, to have a cup of tea in his apartment.»
As for the flowers…
Lotuses everywhere - blue, white, pink…..
We buy bouquets to put at (the) Buddha’s feet. The fibers in the stem are still woven. These fabrics, which cost peanuts in my ancestor’s time, now cost more than silk.
Little girls make orchids and jasmine garlands in all colors and forms, which they sell at the entrances of pagodas.
As with lotuses, they are offerings to the Buddha.
Peanuts are also cultivated and set out to dry in certain temples, such as in Mingun.