A River Runs Through It
The Irrawaddy has a timeless quality that captivates as he takes a cruise through the heart of Myanmar Paul Ehrlich
Photography elow a yellow-white, midmorning sun, the river begins to narrow between jungle-clad cliffs. The only sounds are those of birds and monkeys in the untamed foliage. As the ship slides through the lazy, caramel-coloured water in the tropical heat, the gorge closes in. It has a timeless quality, almost prehistoric, as if a pterodactyl could suddenly take flight.
It’s day five of my 11-day journey snaking north on Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to Bhamo, near the Chinese border. The river, also known as the Ayeyarwady, sweeps down from the Himalayan glaciers through the heart of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, to a fertile delta on the Andaman Sea. It’s the country’s largest and most important commercial waterway. Of its 2,170 kilometres, 1,400 are navigable, but only