Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Burmese Days

I made it! I was supposed to go to Burma in 1999, but there was a hostage crisis at the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, so we went to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos instead. 

This is Sule pagoda, right in the heart of everything.
It's hot and sticky, after hours cooped up in planes and airports. Everyone was out at the park, taking pictures. This monument above honors Burmese independence from the British in 1948, a year after India and Pakistan left the empire.

Yangon City Hall looks like it belongs in LA, or perhaps Shangri La, aside from the peacocks. 

By contrast, High Court building is in an old British style.

Yangon is nothing if not polytheistic. Although most people in Myanmar are Buddhists, the city is home to Hindu temples, 
Anglican, Methodist, and Catholic churches, 
a synagogue, and many mosques.

The traffic is dreadful. I was pleased to figure out how to cross the street without getting run over, by following local women and monks.

This is the block by our hotel. We're on a quieter side street. Still, I'll be happy to get out of the city.

Lots of cool decorative touches. Because of Myanmar's location, it combined the crafts of Southeast Asia with the garish colors of South Asia.

I took $200 out of the ATM. It was distributed in a giant stack of 5000 kyat notes, work around US$4 each. This isn't even all of them.

I had a cup of tea and a bowl of noodles at the cafe downstairs. The little boy whose family owns the place thought it was hilarious that I said "Mingalabah" to him. Total cost: 80¢.
Finally this picture is for my mom. I really wanted to get a fresh orange juice in the airport in Guangzhou just to see how the machine worked. But it only took cash (Chinese yuan) or a few mobile payments I don't have. I'll get one on the way home.

This is the first holiday trip in years that I haven't overplanned (which doesn't mean I haven't been up late reading guidebooks and bus schedules for months). We have two nights here and Yangon and the rest...we'll see.