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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Bangkok and Myanmar (Yangon)

MYANMAR | Wednesday, 30 May 2007 | Views [5121] | Comments [1]

I just love this...it had me chuckling down several streets - like i wasn't getting looked at enough.  WHAT ON EARTH can they mean by meteorism?  Please if you know, then tell me.  No prizes though.

I just love this...it had me chuckling down several streets - like i wasn't getting looked at enough. WHAT ON EARTH can they mean by meteorism? Please if you know, then tell me. No prizes though.

All to pick up a parcel, one I've spent over 4 months waiting for.  It turns out it's already on its way back to England - thank you parcelforce.

Life is spent sorting out where to go next, watching films and experiencing the world of Kao San Road.  It's great to be back to air conditioned, huge shopping centres that I can get lost in.

Myanmar, or Burma as many of us British still think of it.  Yangon or Rangoon - ditto.  Very militaristic, oppressionist regime, bad human rights record - maybe shouldn't go?  I can think of more reasons for not going to America, strangely I haven't been there yet.  I consider the arguments but decide to go anyway.

I love it when i actually have expectations and they are completely wrong.  Yangon is a bustling city full of a very diverse mix of races and religions: Burmese, Chinese, Tibetans, Indians, Thais, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians etc. Flying over the land looks a green and wet, it's the wet season - it's bloomin' hot and very humid.  In Yangon  there's a lot of spitting: dark, thick, red, betel juice that stains everything (nice).  Most of the woman and a lot of the children have a thick powdered bark paste on their face (thanaka) because it makes them beautiful.  I think they might be right, many of the ladies here are decidedly more attractive than their neighbours (perhaps i should stay here).  There are cinemas, mobile phones, Internet cafes, uncensored satellite TV programs, and huge futuristic billboards advertising products such as LASER (toothpaste). There are stalls in every conceivable place, selling every conceivable piece of crap - a bit like a bad car boot market in England. 

It's not that long before I'm asked whether i want a massage, or some drugs and worst of all... to exchange money:

"muney exchange brudter" - I get it 5 times an hour, it's all black market and is likely to see me ripped off somehow.

Yangon is the same same but refreshingly different.  I noticed it as soon as I arrived, but i couldn't put my finger on what it was.  It could be that there are no tuk-tuks or motorbikes, no mad honking of horns, no jumping red lights (maybe Britain did have an influence, I've yet to be in a queue to test it out!), virtually no stray dogs, virtually no falangs and best of all a motley crew of new beers to try.  I also thought I'd smelt every flavour of Asia - but the ones here are more often than not gagging rather than mouthwatering.  I REALLY don't know what some of the food things on the market are.  There's a huge Indian influence, I could eat curry in a different place every day here...perhaps i really should stay (curry, beer and beautiful thanaka covered ladies).  Alas i only seem to attract the opposite sort - I am a ladyboy magnet, i even find 2 of them in Myanmar.

Ladyboy 1: "Hello, Hello"
Ladyboy 2: "Where are you going?"
Me: "erm this way....runaway runaway"

I visit the must see sight in Yangon - the temple complex of Shwedagon Pagoda.  You have to take your shoes off to visit it, so the trip becomes a rather short one for some - the floor is really hot in places, burning the dirt off your unclean feet.  It doesn't take you long to learn to dodge the dark paving slabs.  There are dozens of Buddhist shrines, statues and pagodas and everything else you can think off remotely Buddhist.  It is quite spectacular and it's fascinating to see so many people in abject devotion and prayer, and the golden Buddha with the neon flashing lights around his head is a true delight.  Gotama Buddha is doing pretty well for a guy who said not to worship him.  The religious centrepiece is a huge golden stupa - crowned with over 4000 carats of diamonds.  I'm reminded of it later as i watch a kid crying his eyes out on the pavement late at night...

...there's a big divide as always in the cities between the rich and poor.  I'm a little ashamed (although I shouldn't be) to say i spent a night dining in a 5 star hotel - all you can eat and drink for $16.  The food was excellent and i felt like splurging...what difference could one meal of mine truly make to the locals? 

There are a lot of Japanese in the hotel with their giggling, extremely young (read underage) mistresses.  i don't know what they are saying but obviously they wind me up:

fat Japanese guy 1: "what should we do tonight?"
fat Japanese guy 2: "lets say the odd unfunny comments to these girls, stuff our faces with food, drink too much alcohol, be rude to the staff and then collapse in bed and snore"
fat Japanese guy 1: "SNORE"
girls: "giggles"

Afterwards I walk back to my guesthouse, I pass people eating at little tea party tables - it's a common sight in Asia.  I don't know what they are eating and neither do they - there are few street lights and there are also many power cuts, at least a dozen in the couple of days I'm there.  It's only now i 'see' a lot of the homeless lying on the streets trying to sleep.  Except for the children it's not much different to London :(

It's been a good experience, not what i expected but I'm glad i came.  I look forward to seeing north Myanmar one day - as a sort of half-way house between India (and its poverty and madness) and the South East Asia that I know.

Tags: ruins

 

Comments

1

Hiya mate, now I promise not to doubt your word on how far you went with the Ladyboys.<br><br>Seems like you are still enjoying yourself but as I write this its been 3 weeks since your last entry. (I refer back to my previous comment about Ladyboys!)<br><br>Only a month left on shift for me then its permanent morning shift which will last till 7 at night!<br><br>Jason keeps edging closer to leaving so its all change here especially the couple of days half the accord trading team decidded to walk out to other jobs.<br><br>Anyway, training the new guy today so better get back to it. Keep enjoying yourself (Again, I refer you to my comments about the Ladyboys. ha ha) ... . Shane: Baz, it's really not funny. Read my latest on Penang. It seems everywhere i go! Maybe i should be flattered? I hadn't updated the site in 3 weeks because I've been in hiding...

  Barry Goodwin Jun 24, 2007 12:36 AM

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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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