National Geographic : 1963 Feb
Stern-wheeler Padashin Loads Cargo and Passengers Plying between Bhamo and Man dalay on the upper Irrawaddy, the shallow-draft vessel halts at Shwegu, a town noted for its red-clay pottery. First-class passengers occupy the for ward cabins. Others carry their own blankets and sleep on deck. Some bring lunch hampers; others buy food at way stops. Double-sterned sam pans cluster along the shore. "Whackin' white cheroot," as in Kipling's day, gratifies a fish vendor in a village on the Irrawaddy. Using a cornhusk as wrapper, she mixes the leaves of trees with the tobacco. Um brella-size hat shields her from sun. 195 BURMA: facts and figures T HOUGH FOUR OF EVERY FIVE persons work on the land, Burmese also engage in a variety of occupations, from making phar maceuticals to prospecting for rubies. GOVERNMENT: Re public. AREA: 261,789 sq. mi. POPULATION: 21,500,000. 75% Bur mese of Tibeto-Mon golian stock; remainder minority tribal groups, also Indian, Chinese. LANGUAGE: Burmese, some 125 other languages and dialects. English taught in schools and widely spoken. RELIGION: 85% Bud dhist. ECONOMY: Agriculture (rice, oilseeds, sugar cane, tobacco, rubber). Leads world in teak exports. Mines tin, tungsten, lead, zinc; important source of jade, ruby, sapphire. MAJOR CITIES: Rangoon (pop. 800,000), capital, port; Mandalay, silk weav ing; Moulmein, shipbuilding. CLIMATE: Hot in months before and after monsoon rains of May-Oct.; cool season Nov. -Feb. Rangoon daily high average 97° F. April, average low 65° F. January.