The Ayeyarwaddy river that flows from north to south through Myanmar is the country's largest river and has been the most important commercial waterway since the 6th century. Rudyard Kipling referred to the Ayeyarwaddy as “The Road to Mandalay”. It was to have been dammed through an agreement with a Chinese power company in 2007. Fortunately, this controversial move was subsequently reversed in 2011 when construction was halted, preventing significant ecological and environmental damage.
Kipling loved this land and its people. He wrote “I love the Burman with the blind favouritism born of first impression. When I die I will be a Burman … and I will always walk about with a pretty almond-coloured girl who shall laugh and jest too, as a young maiden ought. She shall not pull a sari over her head when a man looks at her and glare suggestively from behind it, nor shall she tramp behind me when I walk…She shall look all the world between the eyes, in honesty and good fellowship….”