First Impressions – Yangon

Arriving in Yangon, Myanmar, we really didn’t know what to expect.  No friends or family had made the trek over, thus we decided to go solely on our impressions from what we could find on the internet and read in Lonely Planet.  As it’s yet to be 24 hours since we’ve arrived, it’s hard to tell if our expectations match our first impressions, as our expectations were never really clear.  Like a first date, we want to remember all the little things that quickly become ordinary and commonplace.  Therefore, here is just a snippet of all we can remember after spending just one day in Yangon:

No remote control toys.  No playing cards.  Taxi Driver, “Where you from?”  Us, “Canada”  Taxi Driver, “Celine Dion!”.  Longyi (long-G) everywhere.  No horns.  No motorbikes.  Steering wheel on the right side, but sometimes on the left.  Traffic on the right side, but sometimes on the left.  Spectacular view of Shwedagon Paya.  Nap.  Explore.  People staring.  Water $1 US – Change 500 kyat.  Base of Shwedagon.  Shoes off.  Many stairs!  $5 admission.  Camera free (today).  Hot, hot, HOT!  Grey tile floor HOT, white marble floor COOL.  Betel nut spit.  Need money.  No banks.  No ATM.  Find market.  Think we found Bogyoke Aung San Market.  People staring.  Mission: exchange money.  Look, look, look….ASK!  Calculator and money counter…duh!  $1 US = 780 kyat.  “One spring roll please”.  No change for a 1000 kyat note.  Bag of potato chips instead.  “Asked” for fried quail egg, instead got deep fried something or other.  Sat on a bench and pondered our woes in silence.  People staring.  Explore market some more.  Medicine, medicine, medicine….surgical tools??  Can’t be the right market.  Go back outside and look across the street: BOGYOKE AUNG SAN MARKET.  Oops.  Jewelry, longyi, fabric, makeup, wood carvings, bras, panties, and of course….money changer!  Money changer.  Money changer!  People staring.  Exhausted.  Need dinner.  No restaurants.  BIG trucks too large to pass under power lines.  Raise power lines with giant poles…why not?!  Return to hotel and bask in the spectacular view.  Lights out!

Ugh….what a day!  Can somebody say culture shock??  Let the adventures begin!


Thomas & Katherine

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Categories: Myanmar, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

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