While in Mandalay, we gained an overview of the Buddhist culture from the early 1700s to the present.Our most significant experience was visiting the site of the prison where Judson was held captive while his wife cared for and fed him diligently 22 months. It was in this prison that Judson completed his Burmese Bible and his dictionary of the Burmese language, both of which are still used today. The monument erected there for Judson was destroyed by the government as part of an agenda to conceal Burmese Christian heritage and the area is now a grassy patch in the middle of a banana plantation.
A palace near Mandalay that was burned down during World War II and rebuilt in 1990 gave us a detailed look into the treatment of Burmese royalty and how Burma as a nation worshipped the gods of Buddhism. In addition, we were able to visit a temple restored by a Burmese queen in the 1800s. It now lies in ruins, a perfect testimony to the temporality of man's creations and devices.
Wherever we went in Mandalay we were treated like kings. There were at least three waiters watching us while we ate and doing everything they could to make us comfortable. Our guide said they were staring at us because they thought we were movie stars. Apparently, we really stand out here.
—Benjamin Lenz, Team Historiographer