Travel diaries in Myanmar — Yangon
Sunday, 9 of October 2016
We meet Irene, Juliette and Cyril at the guesthouse in the city centre, everybody is coming from a different part of the world, so the arriving times are not the same. Around 16:00 everybody is ready to go grab some food, our first burmese meal. We walk a few blocks away from the hotel to find an address we take from a guide book. The place looks decent so we go in, the inside is very modest but the service is great. 4 persons checking that we have everything we need and suggesting us what to eat, we all order different, some salad, some soup or meat, at the end, we share. Someone, who’s name we are going to keep secret, orders a spicy sauce, “the spiciest you can get” to use the exact words, well it is damn hot ! Even for some of us more used to chili, we have to order some beers to put the fire out of our mouths. We have a Myanmar beer, the first of a lot of local drinks to come in this tropical trip.When we are done with the food, we go back to our place and grab our cameras and Kways as we foresee some rain coming with the sky painted of gray. We are right, just a few minutes walking in the street and the sky starts to pour down. A guy under a roof signals us to come with him to avoid getting wet, we have a small talk together, the difference in language makes this complicated but fun. After a couple minutes the rain is gone, we say goodbye to our new friend and continue or way to the Sule Pagoda. We arrive there late as we have a meeting with the others at the famous night market of Yangon, we just have a quick look inside and take some pictures from the outside.
On our way to the market we get lost. Luckily, a guy speaking english helps us to get back on the good way. By this time, we realize that Burmese people are very friendly. The guy is happy to practice his english with us. We arrive too late to meet with the others, the go on their own and us as well. We stroll around the market looking at the exotic fruits in the stands and all the weird stuff to eat that you can only imagine in dreams. We decide to have a beer in the bar area, full of expats enjoying a cold drink to cool down in the warm night. We eat in the stand in front of the bar, with a lady selling corn with spices, sounds Mexican, right ? After, we just go back to our guesthouse to rest after a long day and the past five hours walking in Yangon !
Monday, 10 of October 2016
We wake up, not so early, after a long recovery sleep and have the breakfast at our hotel. When we are just finishing to eat, a taxi is already waiting downstairs to take us to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. After a wild ride in the streets of Yangon we arrive at the breathtaking complex. We are escorted to the first building to pay the entrance fee and to have our clothes changed, the guys for a longyi, a typical costume for the men in Myanmar, the girls are asked to be covered in the legs and shoulders. We end up dressed ridiculously (picture the frame : longyi, kway, backpacks and walking sneakers)! We walk around, admiring the huge golden pagoda in the center and start to make our way around it. There is this tradition to put water on the statue of a buddha which as a sign of the day of the week, you pour water according to the day you were born. We both are looking for our day until we find it and wash the buddha. The others decide not to take part of this tradition using the excuse of fear and respect.
After finishing the turn around the temples and admiring all the golden structures and buddha statues we take a large stairway down. Out of the complex, we make the decision to go walking to the central park of the city. Once we arrive there we walk around, admiring the green areas, until we stop to take some refreshments and ice cream, (not everybody as they are scared of getting sick). We play cards sitting on a table to pass the afternoon.
We take a taxi back to the city center, where we want to spend the rest of the evening. Walking the streets, full of trash and rats walking around, smelling the penetrating scent of the durian, king of fruits. Then we find a typical burmese tea house, which is conformed by a bunch of tables and chairs outside in the street, full of people taking tea, we sit and order some for us, nobody likes it as it is prepared with milk! We see a stand with a girl selling giant grasshoppers, fried by the way, the curiosity is too much and we can’t resist, we buy one for each and, three, two, one… full bite, mouth completely stuffed with the crunchy insect. When it’s over we discuss and agree that it is not too bad, just very impressive to see !
We grab a beer, Myanmar of course, as the evening is coming to the end. We have to go back to the guesthouse where our backpacks are ready and a taxi is waiting for us to take all the group to the bus central, direction Mandalay.