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may 9, 2014
     I arrived in Yangon yesterday morning at around 9am and took out some kyat at the airport ATMs, just in case, catching a taxi to Sule Paya for 7000kyat. Mahabandoola Guesthouse is located right by it, on the corner of 32nd street, and has the cheapest rooms in the city for $6 a night (and a "special" dorm for $4). The room has one plug, so you have to choose between having the fan on or charging your electronics, and it's really basic but does the trick if you just need a night's sleep. The common area has wifi, albeit patchy, and there is a common washroom with showers.
     As soon as I checked in I headed out for some Indian food on Mahabandoola street - a filling masala dosa for 800mmk - and walked around the neighbourhood. There are many street food stalls everywhere selling handmixed noodle salads, boiled corn, fresh fruit and a variety of deep fried goods. In the evening, I walked about a half hour to the Shwedagon Pagoda, paying a hefty 8000mmk (or $9) to enter. I left my shoes at the entrance (or you can get them bagged to hold onto) and proceeded up the staircases from the South entrance (you can pay the fee at the top). As it was already 7pm it was a lot cooler out and the climb was bearable in the heat. The last rays onf sun illuminated the pagoda, and artificial lighting flickered on when it set. There are stations around the stupa marking each day of the week, so if you know which day you were born on, this is where you pray. It is useful to remember to keep your feet to yourself when you sit, ideally cross legged. When I sat down with my legs to one side I had someone come up and gesture for me to retract my feet. Upon leaving, I noted that the going rate for taxis to Sule Paya was 2500mmk, or 2000mmk if you walk a little further away. Walking another few minutes southbound, I caught a bus into town for 200mmk instead. By 8pm, most food stalls were already closed so I got some boiled corn for 300mmk on Merchant Road before going back to the Guesthouse to sleep.
     In the morning, I left the guesthouse at around 7am and the city was still sleeping. The morning market on 42nd, however, was bustling. I ended up buying a knife for 1000mmk and two large mangoes for 800mmk, and as I was eating one on a street corner a man came up to give me a tissue to wipe off my hands and face. The kindness of the Myanmar people continues to surprise me, and I am quickly forgetting the world in which smiling is not as genuine as here in Myanmar.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! Beautiful! Is the feet thing because they're considered dirty?
    Sounds so amazing!

    ReplyDelete