Notes on the Demise of Travel Guidebooks

Paintings that bear a strong resemblance to Mexican retablos show perplexing scenes: a frog eating a snake, a demon hammering a stake in the ear of a woman, a horse with two heads. Captions in Burmese don’t help—the locals smiled and nodded, but I didn’t understand what I was seeing. The Lonely Planet doesn’t explain these things—it can’t, really, when it only has five pages for the town.

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