Sunrise in the Ayeyarwady Delta.
We drove out to Pathein in the Ayeyarwady Delta, southwest of Yangon, during our week in Myanmar. The Delta is the rice bowl of Myanmar. From the time you leave Yangon until you reach the Pathein river front you drive through a seemingly limitless vista of rice fields broken up only by occasional corn fields.
This is agriculture the way it's been practiced for a millennia or more. The fields are plowed by teams of oxen or water buffalo. Weeding is done by hand, by workers with hoes.
Workers break ground in a tiny paddy.
The rainy season is just starting, in a month this will all be rice and underwater.
I did the same drive last year when I was in Myanmar. Last year I made the trip a little later in June and the rainy season had come a little earlier. There was more activity in the fields last year - this year it felt like people were just getting started.
The other thing that struck me was how quickly change is coming to the Delta. There are gas stations and restaurants being built along the highway the whole way down to Pathein.
People on a motorcycle pass a natural gas exploration well.
We also passed a natural gas exploration well. A local person told us the well was owned by Chinese interests and that other exploration wells were planned in the area.
There are more photos of the Delta in my archive and available from ZUMA Press.