Myanmar or Burma, by either name, or both are acceptable, exudes an aura of the exotic, mysterious and alluring. Even the names of its former capitals, Mandalay and Rangoon, evoke a lyrical glow. Yet, it's the magnetism of its ancient temple architecture that draws visitors to the valley of the Irrawaddy River. Joseph embarks on an Irrawaddy River adventure from golden pagodas to colorful markets, from working villages to frenzied cities where unimagined new sights, sounds, smells and emotions capture his attention. On his journey of discovery, Joseph finds that on the Irrawaddy's 1,350-mile journey to the sea the full range of Myanmar life unfolds along its shores. The river embodies the historical, cultural and economic soul of the country and has been the lifeblood of its people since Stone Age man first arrived there 13,000 years ago. As his Myanmar odyssey unfolds it becomes clear that with a long history of conflict and conquest, until recently, Myanmar/Burma was isolated, shrouded in secrecy and hid its brilliance. Yet now it has opened its doors and is displaying its glories for all to see. And the people of Myanmar and a world of travelers are better for it.