En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Yangon

Shwedagon, the Iconic Temple of Myanmar

 

arrive Yangon around 2.30pm but only arrived my GH at 5.30pm. why??? partly my fault.
when i arrived the bus station, there were so many ‘hello taxi” “hello where you go” “hello where you from” as usual.  and i was running low on my budget. and i wanted to do it the local way. so i told them where i wanted to go, via local bus and where i was from (still assuming the Thai nationality)

and one very sweet gesture… after i told them i wanted to take a bus, some new faces who just entered the scene came after me. i was kinda irritated. but still told them nicely where and how i plan to go. and the lovely burmese didnt get unhappy but instead told me which direction to walk to get my bus. WOAH that really made me feel so ashamed again for being skeptical. lovely Burmese.

so after asking around, the locals combined-effortly put me up the local bus towards my destination, Hledan-lan (lan = street/road). so cheap somemore. 20 times cheaper.

so i alighted at my destination at 4pm. check location, check map. confuse. lost. ask around. nobody knows. wah siao liao.

wah then i smart. i spotted two students. higher chance of them knowing english right. at that moment i felt like i was the smartest ass in the hole wide world. okie. pun.

then i found out. i was at the wrong Hledan. what do you mean by WRONG HLEDAN! did i just end up in another province?! (having been there for 10 days, i know there is a strand road at EVERY different part of Myanmar…)

i was at the purple Hledan instead of the red Hledan!!!!

10 mins during off peak. it’s like from Ion Orchard to Geylang lor 27

 

it looks near la. but it really isnt. so ended up spending another 2000k on a taxi.. and by the time i arrived my gh… it was almost 6.
i was feeling quite depressed.. but my mood lightened up 15% when i saw this!

YAKUN!!!!!!!!!!!! from SINGAPORE!!! didnt go in though…

finally found my gh around Hledan street…

checked in at the 8 bedder mixed dorm, greeted by a contemporary art installation

masterpiece of Anna the ‘Hungarian’

showered, missed the sunset, still sick and lacking sugar and salt, and feeling another level of “yellow skin asian” treatment by my dorm mates (later i found out 5 of them were germans travelling together thus the anti social attitude)

and when i finally went out for dinner…

sky alreadyblack black.

so i was staying at the chinatown area. lots of food. but i was still feeling sick..

but still had to eat la.

actually is delicious. taste like singapore chinese fried noodles. a little different.  looking at this now makes me hungry. just that i was sick at that moment so i only had one fifth of it.. and could feel the oil greasing my throat.

needed a drink. something light and sweet… and i found THIS

another saving grace.

sat there until i felt stronger. and walked a little around the area

 

 

 

ah girl helping her ma out at such a young age

my body was still weak and i was very sleepy. so i headed back… had a little chat with the non-german dorm mates and then slepttttttttttt…


went for a walk the next day, with two missions 1- find post cards. 2- buy stamps and mail postcards. ok thats three missions.

the very nice Malaysian business big brother had also arranged to take me out for dinner that evening. so i had to be back at my GH by 6pm (mainly for the wifi to contact him)

 

 

 

cigs

 

looks quite tempting..

well since i was already a little sick, the worst that could happen to me was, to just shit on my pants. so i decided to buy and try!

wow!!!!!!!!!!!! it’s corn inside! i thought it was like calamari and chicken nuggets or something. its all vegetarian (not sure about the oil used). perfect to snack on as i continued walking.

 

 

Bogyoke Aung San market

everyone told me there’s postcards here. so i combed… =/ tak ada (malay word for ‘dont have’)

it’s also here that i started meeting some less friendly people.. cant be blamed. it’s a tourist trap
met the two Dutches here again (first met them at mandalay, moustache brother show)
they found out i was travelling myanmar alone and both said ‘Travelling here alone? Thats so unsingaporean!”

well i take it as a compliment.

this sign caught my attention quite funny if you know what it means.

“special discount for thai people”

 

 

no postcards…. no stamps… i mean yes there are postcards. but are all the one set one set ones. and very expensive.. and out of 20 piece-set, 10 are of Bagan. nah, not gonna send what i didnt see.

nothing much to keep me there so i left pretty soon.

some self indulgent here. at this mini mall there were two cafes.

yes yakun. thats not the main point… beside this singaporean cafe.. is..

Bar Boon, a dutch cafe…. like i said, it’s a little self indulgent. if you get it, you get it.

let’s move on! was hungry.. so went for lunch

noodle with oil and friend shallot

wah this is good too. it’s very close to the chinese onion oil noodle.  this one is a little more oily. should have known by now Burmese food can be on the oily and salty side.

i would have enjoyed this more on a normal day. the oil was really clogging me.

satisfied, i took the walking trail suggested by Lonely Planet

 

SO MUCH BIRDS

one of the three things that can make me cry is LIVING THINGS THAT FLY. and birds are HUGE LIVING THINGS THAT FLY.

i didnt dare to cross and had to wait until some young locals pass by and i asked if i could walk “in the middle“.

that must have made them a little puzzled.  yeah of course they let me walk in the center and even so, i was still treading with 120% alertness and caution. what if the bird decides to land on my instead of the 6 other people around me?

said thank you and bye bye to them and i carried on my journey.

 

Sule Paya

 

 

sat down at the park and three locals came over to talk.

Thissar, Mongkon and Nwee Mu

Thissar speaks super good Thai and i almost cheun-bou (expose). the other two could speak very good english!

spent about 15 minutes there then i carried on my search for postcards/stamps.  was a little behind time. only had 3 hours more before i have to head back to my GH!

 

 

the walk was bad for me. because the K’ung Ya stalls become very congregated in Yangon.
okie i MUST say the following in singlish. try to comprehend if you arent singaporean. sorry..

the smell is damn strong. it’s not like the rubbish dumb that kind of chao sng and fishy smell. 
then hor when i see the stalls i link link link and i will link to seeing them spit the remnants out. wah fk. now i type i also can smell it. 
then i will link to their red red stain on the road. which is like EVERYWHERE de lor. then i will link to their stained teeth. and that thing actually will like corrode their teeth. wah this is like the combo package of ‘imagination’. is really got smell, got colour, got audio, got visual, got acid reflux reaction. my hands suddenly feels weak now. 

 

 

this is like the buffet spread

so they take the betel leaves, spread some plaster (the white stuff) then put some betel nuts and then sprinkle chewing tobacco.

 

the different FLAVOURS

i was really too sick to take more photos. but will definitely take more in december.

anyway… i couldnt tahan(tolerate) the smell. there was like one booth every 20 steps. or sometimes its like 3 stalls side by side.. or down an alley, left right up down…. all is this K’ung Ya…

 

that was the first time i could feel vomit coming up my throat liao. luckily i brought my Citronella oil. put gao gao. but still felt like puking. then i saw a building and quickly went in to hide. wah really is born to be tai tai. of all places, i went in STRAND HOTEL. easily the most expensive hotel in Yangon.

sat for awhile and quickly continued my search for POSTCARDS (it was already past 3pm. i had to head back by 5.30pm)

finally found my postcards. needed a place to write… heh so i went back to Strand Hotel.
yes it’s a budget backpacking trip. but to experience the other end of the spectrum is also part of the experience!!!

a pot of tea for 4USD

really quite okie la. 4usd.

okie done with writing. took me more than an hour. quickly head to post office…. and then….

WAH LAU CLOSE at 5pm!!!! i was there at 5.03pm~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i want to (*&^&#%@(#?)(@#@$^*&# also boh lat (no strength)

dejected to the max.

boh bian lor. head back to gh. then it started drizzling.. and got a little heavy. (i dont remember a day it didnt rain…)
so i had to take a bus back.
ask left ask right, nobody knows.

then this local (probably in his late 20s) said he is going to somewhere nearby my GH and only knows buses to that place. not too far from my GH la. so i followed him.
wah and he paid the bus fare for me.  wah Burmese…… why you so generous also!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we alighted  he walked me to somewhere nearby so i could find my way back to the gh. really very nice.

SINGAPOREANS WILL YOU PAY THE BUS FARE FOR SOMEONE ELSE???? LET ALONE SPEND SOME TIME WALKING THAT PERSON TO HIS DESTINATION?

back in GH, there was a new dorm mate, Syzmon from Poland. who may one day become a ‘famous’ dude in Myanmar.
he was in Mandalay U Bein bridge and happened to chance upon some local production crew shooting a Music Video. the director spontaneously invited him to guest appear in the MV. hahahahha like that also can lor.

okies.. anyway Big Brother Lee (the malaysian business man) picked me up at my GH and took me out for “dinner for the sick” 555

porridge and giam neng (hokkien word for salted egg)
unfortunately, the other dishes were also very oily.. so the sick person didnt eat a lot..
but the porridge was god-sent.

it rained again…. aiyohhhhhhhhhhhhhh then Big Bro Lee took me to Shwedagon.

 

 

 

 

a really big and grand temple. majestic was the golden rock and Grand is this one.

ended the night. really really thankful to have Big Bro Lee taking care of me and insisted on paying for everything….  謝謝你的照顧!我知道你有在讀!


 

next morning after breakfast, i had a little time before packing to balik kampung (malay word for go home)

and i remembered the secret ‘hideout’ P’Thee took me to before i left Mandalay. so i went to find my own ‘secret hideout’. BEAUTIFUL.

the view from my secret hideout =]

quickly packed and headed to the airport.

but not before taking a selfie with one of the best non-asians i’ve met in this trip.

Anna the Austrian. we’re planning to meet again in dec!

once again, Yangon, Myanmar…

 

 

oh did i mention!!
i asked for a second helping of banana at the guesthouse during breakfast (so i could have it for lunch). she nodded and even filled my thermal bottle with hot water (i brought a sachet of instant milo, also part of my lunch).

so i had the banana at the side pocket of my cargo pants and when i was going through the metal detector i asked if i needed to take the banana out and put it through the xray scanner… guess the shock on the officers’ faces… they burst into laughter and even taught me how to say “banana makes me strong” in Burmese. unfortunately it happened too quickly and i forgot… but it was still a very hilarious experience!

if i was in another country i might have been brought into some room….

take away from Yangon? it’s still a beautiful capital and i urge all to visit this place before tourism infiltrates and turns it into another bangkok…

 

EXPENDITURE

Day 1: 
Local bus to Hledan – 200K
water – 300K
Taxi from Hledan Road to Hledan Street – 2500K
Room – 10USD
dinner – 1800K
bubble tea – 520K
Total : 15USD / 20Sgd

Day 2:
fritters snack – 200k
lunch – 1100K
postcards (15 pieces) – 3000k
tea at Strand – 5USD
laundry – 500K
room – 10 USD
Total: 20 USD / 28 Sgd

Day 3:
Taxi to airport – 7000K
Total: 7 USD/ 10Sgd

TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR YANGON: 42USD/ 58Sgd


and i thought the kindness of the adorable and lovely Burmese stops in Myanmar… i was wrong!
the passenger beside me on the plane home was a young Burmese girl. we had some simple conversation with the very limited english words. and when the plane landed, passengers took things out from the overhead compartments.. and she passed me a bag of the local snack… “for you, present”.

that’s definitely the most heard english phrase i’ve encountered in this trip. “For You, Present”.

i cant offer much in return, but will always always remember their kindness and return it by being kind to everyone else =]

Next up:
Myanmar in a brief. i will select my 12 favourite photos for this trip. 12… it’s gonna be really really really tough. okie maybe 20? teehee!
T.

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