Early start to the day, as I was to meet a lady from language exchange: Aye Myat. She didn't seem that enthused when we talked online, but thankfully she was friendlier in person. I had a rough itinerary and asked her for suggestions. First stop was Inge Lake, which while a lot clearer than the stinking water of Bgyoke Park, was overall pretty dull. Through multiple taxi rides I got to know Aye more. She was well educated, well spoken and well paid native Burmese which was somewhat rare for the poor country. We got to the national museum which was more basic than I anticipated.
I was hoping to gain an understanding of what forces had made Myanmar into the country what it was today, and some insight into the various cultures and ethnicities. Instead there was a random selection of artifacts, some labelled, others not.. At least they were interesting to look at.
It was now early afternoon so we headed to lunch at a famous local restaurant. On display was an open kitchen with dozens of various fresh vegetables, curries and dishes to choose from. I picked a spread of the most delicious and interesting dishes and we sat to eat. Burmese food is a mish mash of it's neighbours: Thailand and India chief. The most prominent flavours sour, herbal and fermented. Unmistakably healthy and very alien on the palate. Native Burmese food is unlike anything I've eaten since.
The remaining item on my itinerary was taking a ride on the city train. Aye mentioned it would be rush hour and very busy, and that it wouldn't be that fun. Instead we headed to an expat bar, which was the equivalent of TGI Fridays: very corporate, lacking soul and character, squeaky clean. Very much a contrast to everything else in Myanmar.
She seemed more relaxed, and we talked for the next several hours. We soon headed home. Before leaving Aye verbalised what I'd been thinking: That Myanmar is on a journey of major change, and progress is marching on. Who know what the country would be like in even five years.