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The Pandaw Story: On the Rivers of Burma and Beyond
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In 1995 Paul Strachan invited an unlikely assortment of eccentrics and adventurers to join him in an untried new boat that would venture up the Irrawaddy River, the first time foreign tourists had ventured up the mighty Burmese thoroughfare since the Second World War. Against all odds, the trip was a huge success, word quickly spread and before Strachan knew it he was running a business in one of the world's least business-friendly environments. He named it the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company in honour of the Glasgow-based company that ran Burma's river transport when the country was an outpost of the British Raj. The company now trades under the name Pandaw, after the Clyde-built paddle steamer it restored in Burma In turns hilarious, shocking, moving and often highly provocative, this book celebrates the 20th anniversary of the revived Irrawaddy Flotilla Company and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the original Irrawaddy Flotilla. In The Pandaw Story Strachan describes many adventures, successes and mishaps on the rivers of Burma and then, after 2002 on the Kwai, Mekong, Ganges and Rajang rivers all of which he pioneered for river cruising. Few foreigners lived in Burma through these years and this book gives a number of fascinating insights into life in a military dictatorship, offering a uniquely well-informed account of the brutal impasse that for decades has dominated political life in one of the world's least-understood countries. This lively, humorous and anecdotal account gives some insights into the trials and tribulations of doing business in Burma and in South-East Asia more generally, introducing many outrageous and some sinister characters
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