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Buyer Beware in Burma

January 31, 1988

"Seeing the Best of Burma in 7 Days," (Jan. 17), by Alan Littell, is true but incomplete. I was in Rangoon, Pagan and Mandalay last year and was accompanied by a different state Burmese guide in each city.

In Mandalay we purchased a five-unit sequined and embroidered tapestry called a kalega for $50 U.S. Earlier I had purchased a single-unit tapestry. At customs, the inspector confiscated our five-unit tapestry after producing a printed paper, written in excellent English, concerning a new rule, which stated that no tapestry can be exported unless accompanied by a pink slip obtainable only by purchasing from a state store.

Our guide, who earlier had assured me that we would have no trouble with customs, entered the customs area and also argued. However, the inspector was adamant, but he did allow us to keep our single-unit tapestry. Let the buyer beware in Burma.

BARBARA G. MITCHELL

Balboa

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