The Sunny Side of Travel Blogging

A travel blogger’s work is hard work!

All that gear and preparation before a long trip. Cameras & equipment, the right clothes, shoes, etc. But if there’s one thing we never forget, it’s our sunglasses. You might laugh and think it’s a silly item, but I tell you, it might even be more important than sunblock.

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 the hectic business of travel blogging.. 

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Take for example our recent trip to Yangon and the neighboring coastal cities. The sun was so strong, it was scary. And we spent extended hours outdoors, under the sun, exploring the place. While it is easy to cover up your skin with long sleeves and sunblock, there is no equivalent for the eyes.

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Yangon Railway Station.. this is how the folks cross the railway lines – no designated underground crossing! LOL 


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Waiting for our ride into town.. 

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Myanmar fashion – a lovely young girl who was willing to model for us.. Thanaka to protect her skin and polaroids for her eyes;) 

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Golden Rock, in Myanmar language known as Kyaikhtiyo (pronounced ‘KyiteHteeYoe’) Pagoda is one of the breath-taking and also a sacred place for Myanmar people. It is located in Mon State and perched on the highest mountain of Paunglaung mountain range. The ozone/stratosphere here is particularly thin, and the UV rays strong.

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Kyaikhtiyo is a 4-hour drive from Yangon, and from the town, it is a further ride up the hill in an open truck, to see the Golden Rock. There is also a hiking route that takes several more hours on foot if you opt not to take the truck. With constant exposure under the hot sun, you really need your sunnies to protect your eyes. We spent half a day exploring this small village, before we headed on to Mawlamyine. Mawlamyine was then another 4 hours by bus from Kyaikhtiyo.

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With a ridge of stupa-capped hills on one side, the sea, port, many small fascinating islands on the other, and a centre filled with crumbling colonial-era buildings, Mawlamyine a mere 6 hours ride by bus from Yangon, was a unique combination of gorgeous landscape, bustling markets, great food and captivatingly friendly people.

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Formerly known as Moulmein, the city served as the capital of British Burma from 1826 to 1852, during which time it developed as a major teak port. When we arrived it was blisteringly hot and glaringly sunny. We took a day trip out to the Island of Bilu Kyun (Ogre Island), a 45 min ferry ride from the jetty at Mawlamyine.

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On ferry to the island of Bilu Kyun – because of the open sea and unsheltered ferry on the upper deck, the glare from the sun was a real scorcher. Luckily we had sunblock on and our Polaroids.

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Taken from the ferry, on the way to Bilu Kyun island.. 

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Mingalaba.. Welcome to Bilu Kyun!

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Dusty and windy traveling around in a motorcycle drawn taxi – the sunnies protected my eyes from these pollutants and from squinting

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Though your eyes might not hurt immediately after sun exposure, but more often damage accumulates over the years, leading to sight problems. The ultraviolet rays from the sun – in particular UVB, the same spectrum of ultraviolet that causes the skin to burn – are most damaging to the eyes.

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Smoking (OK, pretend smoking) the Lenin peace pipe – small cottage industry on Bilukyun – wood carved pipes

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Walking through the padi fields of Ogre Island .. giving it a good stretch after that bone-shaker of a taxi ride! 

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I soon make several new friends of the paddy fields! 

UVB can damage the lens (which helps focus light) inside the eye – the lens is made up of proteins all in a straight line – that is why the lens is clear. UVB causes those proteins to unravel and tangle so the lens becomes cloudy in places – this is a cataract and can develop after years or decades of sun exposure. Skin cancer of the eyelid is also a risk. A type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, can look like a spot or a sore on the eyelid, and can also occur after sun exposure.

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Many exciting, outdoor markets to explore in Yangon..

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The massive Thiri Mingalar wholesale market, Yangon

That’s why we started wearing not just any cheap sunnies, but Polaroids. I’ve tried many pairs, and only these make the cut. The protection yet clarity means I can take the best photos without squinting into the sun. And we all know a Travel blogger needs to take a million good shots on location, do they not..?

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Since only polarized lenses filter out the reflection of light off a surface, only these sort of sunglasses will filter glare from the sun, which is usually reflected horizontally into your eyes impairing your vision. Polarized lenses corrects this with a special filter blocking out the horizontal rays giving you clear vision. Clearer vision means better judgement, which helps you gauge and take better photos in glaring conditions.

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Most of us, know of Polaroid as the classic instant camera maker, instead of being the pioneer of polarised lenses, which is equally ground breaking. Well, Polaroid eyewear is now in Malaysia, distributed by Safilo Group, another world leader in lens and optics technology.

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They aim to accessorize folks with premium polarised eyewear which has helped many performance aviators, athletes especially in sea sports, and even travelers and the average folk, judge better by cutting out the glare and harmful rays when going about daily activities outdoors – practical, durable, light weight, sweat/slide proof .. and just generally highly wearable sunglasses.

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I particularly like them because they don’t slide down my nose, or hit against my cheek – being Asian, this is the usual problem I encounter with sunglasses made to better suit Westerners. Polaroids by Safilo fit like a glove.

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Polaroid’s UltraSight polarised lenses reduce glare, give clear contrasts, natural colors, reduced eye fatigue and give 100% UV400 protection. There are variety of Ultrasight lenses. There are 5 levels of filter strength on different colored lenses.

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Different tint colors and shades cut off different levels of glare interfering our vision besides dimming the harsh sunlight. Level 3 is not too dark, and really just perfect for traveling. I never leave home without them. They are definitely a travelers best friend.

 

CCFoodTravel are ambassadors for Polaroid by Safilo. The blog however maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site as always.

 

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