Yangon, Bo Ta Taung and Merchant Road

Myanmar as we all know it, was called Burma once when the British was in power during the 1800s. British's legacy among their language and their trains, was their labour system of transporting workers from China and India into their commonwealth countries that eventually became one if its earlier and bigger races to date. Now Myanmar, the nation is a beautiful "mish mash" of the natives and the visitors from all of its neighbouring countries, the ever so influential Chinese and the Indians of course, as well as the Thais. This is especially frequent and a seamlessly common feature you would be able to recognize thanks to its geographic location, being right smack in the centre of these two giant nations.

What was supposed to be a promise of a new government formation by the Burmese government after its independence, had not become, and the military took charge eventually. It had ousted the "democratic government" and began what was a rather communism way of governance.

And yes, that's where our freedom fighter Ms Aung San Suu Kyi stood hard and stood strong like a brick of wall through all the years and challenges. She had had house arrest, for decades, continuously fighting for freedom and education, like she wasn't made of flesh, that nothing could break her. She stood face front to the military reps, fearless. Part of Myanmar's slow but surely openness now is also thanks to her when her freedom and fight for education has finally been recognised after she had won the election. She's now traveling the world (after decades of house arrest) speaking out to investors, visitors and basically everyone to continuously support Myanmar.

So take this mental picture - of a nation like Myanmar, similar climate with Thailand / India, population of 52.8 million with 676 578 km2 both double the size of Malaysia, located right smack in between of China and India and language transfused on its own dating back when it was still sharing its soil when its neighboring countries (so you would imagine how the language would similarly sound like, or even similarly feels like). They have been recorded to be one of the poorest country in the world, with poor linkage to electricity at some remote areas, high unemployment and governance providence was uncertain and what seemed "not enough". And you would think a country with so much resources would do "okay?" -- not if corruption and massive nonalignment take place. But all I can think of while visiting this kind country, Yangon specifically, was the fact that Yangon, Myanmar is only going to improve. It is only going to improve. People are great, and just tons of things to do.  

I reached Yangon at about 8am in the morning and immediately was smacked with a bit of a culture indigestion. I reached at a very clean and massive Yangon airport to flocks of people waiting for their families and friends and guests outside of the arrival port, and men, in what I had remembered back home as sarong! All of the men were in Sarong! I was grinning when I reached but I had to take photos of this, I told myself. Ok fast forward.

Ocean Pearl Inn had complimentary transfers, so my first hand experience with the people of Burma was too pleasant, everyone speak good English, everyone was friendly and kind. Upon reaching the hostel, I checked into my room and passed out. 

(because I had to stay awake in the airport overnight, too worried I would overslept and miss my flight) 

I woke up after 1pm after hours of catching up on sleep. Yangon was 1.5hours behind, so there was some minor jetlag. Day 1 was basically, on foot around Yangon. I had decided to walk on Merchant Road and Bo Ta Taung road (the area where I stayed) which was maybe about a couple of hours stretch of interesting food, beers and hang outs for the locals.

I had no itinerary for the day since I just reached, so I walked around and slowly take it all in :)

My lunch

Some people had asked me, Why Yangon? Before I answered something what most people would, like WHY NOT YANGON? I actually think it's because, of the pagodas and the fusion between the Indian and the Chinese. Having 89% of the Burmese are Buddhists, that means you'd see tons of pagodas and monasteries around Burma and Yangon.

Some folks prefer Bagan because of it's crazy beautiful temples, monasteries and pagodas and trust me, none of those sights are something you have ever seen before back home.

My days were blessed with sunny days, after my lunch and about 2 hours of walking around, I decided to head into an Indian cafe. If you see right across the table I was sitting at the cafe I was at, there was a Hindu temple, stood beautiful and glorious. I chuckled to myself, now this is something I wouldn't usually see back home as well. I took sips of my Cappuccino (oh my God, they make such good coffees, nevermind they've only got 5 items on their menu, coffee is always one of them!!) and my Indian Rasgula :)

Minutes after I took this shot, I reached my place and saw people swarming around looking out at my hostel like something terrible had happened. My first guess was someone had jumped off from the building (I had no better judgement that time, I'm sorry) but then a few minutes after that I hear siren going off, and saw a massive red truck (I'm guessing firefighter) zooming through Bo Ta Taung road and eventually stopped right infront of me. Seconds later, some dude with a video camera and another guy with a green book that writes "Life" on it rushed towards the red truck's driver and started talking, they replied to one another really fast. Media, I thought.

 I was looking for someone to answer me what the commotion was all about, asked a dude, and apparently there was an electric short circuit at the block next to my block and it blacked out the whole road! o.O

Then I remembered the photo again...

Damn, somehow something somewhere will be short-circuited I figured.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.


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