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  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    The author after Burmese boys gently daubed him with clay during Thyingan, a chaotic water festival.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    A signboard in the country's biggest temple—Shwedagon—located in Rangoon.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Novice monks at Shwedagon look at the gold-leaf pagoda through binoculars, perhaps for the first time.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Mandalay's Royal Palace doubles as a military barracks.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Nuns at the Royal Palace have lesser status than monks, but can still receive education, aims, and respect.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Monks at Samsara University take a class on traditional medicine.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    A monk at the Pakoku temple—home to the launchers of the pro-democracy Saffron Revolution—adjusts a tiger pelt.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Lu Zaw, a member of the Moustache Brothers comedy troupe in Mandalay, plays the fool.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Banned from performing in public, the Moustache Brothers use their living room for satirical routines.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    More than 2,000 Buddhist shrines, temples, monuments, and libraries stand at Bagan in central Burma.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    Bagan, like the rest of Burma, receives few visitors.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    San Zarni-Bo, one of Burma's best-known palm readers, predicted the author would be lucky on May 1.
  • Photo: Patrick Symmes

    A boat floats on the Irrawaddy River. The majority of deaths caused by Cyclone Nargis occurred in the river's delta.
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