Ben MitchellComment

Yangon - 26.12.2016

Ben MitchellComment
Yangon - 26.12.2016

The initial trepidation for Myanmar wore off when my plane landed. New country, new city, new adventures. I was invigorated by the possibilities. Plus it was gorgeously sunny.

After the usual taxi bartering, the journey and hotel check in were smooth. After quick a nap I hit the road to visit one of the pagodas in the area. Boy it was an interesting country.

  1. Traffic is insane and there are no pedestrian crossing. It was life and death dear reader! I was on edge trying to navigate the roads, avoiding an early grave, and followed the natives when I could.
  2. Life is cheap. Bottle of water: $0.50, dessert $0.50, 1 hour taxi ride: $10. Awesome!
  3. Yangon is the corpse of a city, swirling with new life. Congested roads, no traffic lights, power cables strung from trees, beautiful colonial buildings left to rot, shacks in the streets.
  4. The Burmese are poor but not impoverished. They seemed happy, went about their daily lives. I saw no beggars, no prostitutes, it felt safe. The people seem hopeful.
  5. Food is so unique, heavy on carbs and vegetables. Savoury, tangy flavours. Lots of fermented ingredients. Somewhere between Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian.

So observations aside, I had a great day. A lady who looked ethnically Indian (though spoke fluent Burmese) sad beside the road with a giant pot of pink goop, I had to try and it and was thoroughly rewarded: a sweet and coconutty dessert refreshing in the 30 degree heat.

I worked my way to the remarkable Shwedagon Pagoda, the towering golden dome has to be seen to be believed. It was pretty busy, but most visitors were Burmese, only 40% or so foreigners. Despite the surface level hustle and bustle, there was a distinct air of tranquillity.

Oh yeah, forgot about the 'chewing' tobacco that I tried. It gave a pretty intense buzz, and I later found our that it's a leading cause of oral cancer locally! Didn't stop me from trying it several times though.

Tomorrow should be more of the same. This time a visit to a lake, a market a train ride and perhaps a massage.