XXXXI – Everyday life in most of Myanmar was like a trip into the past…

Local buses are really crowded!!

We arrived in Yangon (the largest city in Myanmar/Burma), also known as Rangoon. Yangon/Rangoon! Burmese had a confusing history/habit of renaming cities and places! Strange? Confusing?

Well, even if didn’t make sense, it happened and it happened overnight… Imagine our government deciding that as of tomorrow Brussels would be called Zussels, and how you would feel about it!

……………………………………………………………………….;;;

Current iron used by Burmese !!

The first days spent wandering around Yangon were eye-opening!

Who needs international mobile phone coverage, hot water, internet, elevators, good infrastructures, computers, the latest iron, big shopping malls, tap water, sunscreen, brand new cars, tractors, machines and reliable electricity?

Need to make a call?

…………..In one word, progress?!? Being in Myanmar made me realized just how much I was accustomed to having all these things in my daily life, how much I had taken for granted! But if I had to live without it, well I would survive… although I would need to learn to be patient (because waiting 20 minutes for my Facebook homepage to download was pure torture!!)

In the middle of the street…

Need some wood?

They carry every thing on their head!! Amazing!!

The man is preparing the bettel nut leaves to chew…

tired…taking a nap…

Another little stand with phones…

………But Burmese found inventive ways to improve their living life, to make up for the lack of progress. Walking down the street on almost every corner, you see these stands with all latest newspapers for sale (front pages were all about opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the future elections), booths with 2-3 old phones to make your local calls, stands with fruits and vegetables, stands with tobacco and bettel nuts leaf to chew (Yes, you read correctly! Bettel nuts, the same seed used to paint in red the old district of Melaka/Malacca/Mad town),…

Working all day long with buffalos!!

You can’t help to also notice all these strings hanging down from apartment balconies, with large metal clips and small bells. They served as doorbell and as some kind of “delivery system”. When the electricity went off (almost every night around 7pm the whole city went dark), Burmese would just light some candles and continue to do what they were doing as if nothing had happened.

Small cooking place in the hallway of our hostel! Delicious meals!

And, they can do wonders with almost nothing! They can cook these amazing tasty dishes with barely 2 pans, old pots and antique looking stoves! They can work their land relying only on buffalos! No machines, no tractors!

Not only do Burmese make it work somehow… but they live their lives with sincere big smiles on their faces! It’s completely surreal, but ALL the persons we’ve met always smiled at us, and greeted us warmly with a “hello” or “Mingalaba”(Hello in Burmese)!

Thanakha powder!!

Thanakha is put on children’s face….funny design sometimes 🙂

Always smiling and laughing!

Men wearing longyis!!

Fresh flowers in their hair…so beautiful

.You have to imagine these beautiful Burmese women with fresh flowers in their hair and thick layers of “Thanakha” on their faces (Thanakha is a yellowish powder used mostly by women and children, and that serves as sunscreen protection).

Children making funny faces in front of the camera!!

An old woman we met at the market in Amarapura!

A mother applying thanakha on her son’s face.

Children giggling and laughing! so cute!!

Imagine these sweet children waving, smiling and shyly giggling at you. 

Imagine these really affectionate men (walking together holding hands or with arms round each other. No! They were not gay! It’s in their culture, in their traditions!) with blood-red teeth (because of all the chewing of Betel nut, tobacco and lime smear, folded into a Betel leaf) and wearing dresses…well, not really dresses, LONGYIS! Again, they were not gay! It’s a question of culture, tradition, religion and being practical in a hot tropical climate country! ALL WOMEN, MEN, CHILDREN WERE SMILING!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Royal treatment for our backpacks as well!!

The three of us were warmly welcomed every place we went. It felt sometimes as we were princes and princesses! Even in the smallest street food joint, chairs were pulled over for us and for our bags (Yes, royalty treatment even for our bags!), and Burmese were watching us to make sure we had enough to eat and drink, to make sure we were having a good time! They were so full of small attentions, and always ready to help us as much as they could!

We ate so much during this trip! The food was amazing!!

…….For instance, in our favorite small restaurant in Yangon (delicious, cheap food), after we ate, we asked the manager where we could catch a bus to go see the Shwedagon temple. He asked one of his waiter to walk us to the bus stop (a few blocks away), and make sure we got on the correct bus! Just incredibly nice!

Devotees come to the Shwedagon Pagoda with offerings!

Gleaming in gold and decorated with diamonds, the huge Shwedagon Pagoda!! Very impressive!!

The Shwedagon temple.

The sunset was beautiful!

A mother and her child praying…

Little Monks in Shwedagon Temple!

The magnificent pagoda!

Buddhist devotees pour water over an image of the Buddha with a prayer and a wish.

Thanks to this manager, we got to see Yangon main’s sight, the Shwedagon temple’s gold pagoda. It was interesting to seat there and see all these Burmese visiting this temple to pray and give offerings.

…………….In this world, I strongly believe there is no country with friendlier people than Myanmar! And even though, it did feel sometimes as if I was time traveling to 60 years back in time, I never felt more happy! Kindness, generosity, friendliness and smiles were contagious!

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2 Responses to XXXXI – Everyday life in most of Myanmar was like a trip into the past…

  1. Carly Larson says:

    Wow, that looks like such an amazing place, with amazing people.

  2. Sunanda says:

    I hope I’ll there some day!

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