“Swiss Miss, Swiss Cheese, Swiss chocolate, that’s me…”
… and now
Early in life I developed a strange fascination for travel. My childhood memories are still quite vivid – local trams and buses; weekend excursions with my parents and sister in the family car; and my first overnight train trip with my sister and grandparents through the Swiss Alps when I was about five years old. Throughout my school years I traveled with friends and chaperones throughout most of Europe. But even among a bus full of students I was somehow always able to create my very own world of adventure travel; alone and surrounded by all things foreign – French, Italian, English.
We had a small globe of the world in my father’s library and I can still recall spinning it around and around while closing my eyes and then stopping it with my forefinger – looking carefully at the place which my finger had covered. I always used this method to determine my next ‘destination’. Before each bedtime my mother would ask: “Where are we going tonight?”So, I imagine, I was deemed or doomed to travel. Not surprising then that I am writing to you today from my office in Yangon, Myanmar. Don’t start spinning your globe of the world – many of them are still marked with Rangoon, Burma. I first arrived in this city in 1985. Alone of course, looking like a mix between Liv Ullman and Mrs. Trapp in the Sound of Music! Yes! Yes! Yes! Blond hair and blue eyes – I could not have been more different in appearance from the local Burmese! But somehow this never made a big difference to anyone here.
In the mid-80s it was still Rangoon, Burma. But even in 2014, after name changes, the life and landscape look almost about the same. It’s an amazingly green former Asian capital city. Wide boulevards of manicured trees and flora, with a full view of blue sky and cotton puff clouds which are still, even more amazingly, unobstructed by high-rise towers and buildings. They’re on the way but still the panorama is clear. This is a country with colourful contrasts between the people and their surroundings.
Alas – as time goes by, life changes, especially in this area of the hemisphere – where nothing is granted but continuous change! When I traveled to Burma in the 80ies, I was just granted a 7 days stay in a country, ruled by the notorious dictator Ne Win, who mostly followed the advice of his astrologers and thus leading the country of golden pagodas and graceful people into a bizarre political system, combined with Buddhism, socialism, superstition and the spice of a brutal dictatorship.At the Shwedagon I met the future father of my only daughter and what started like a fairy tale… ended one day… however I succeeded with having my own business as the only Western woman, in one of the most exotic countries in the world, whose unexpected opening is now again at the centre of attention. Join my travels through this fascinating but controversial Golden Land!