I usually post once we’ve left a country, but we are having a lazy day, resting on the ship today, after a long hot day in Rangoon, Burma yesterday (I like the old names better, but as of 1990 the city is actually Yangon and the country Myanmar). The ship’s port is a 90 minute bus ride away from the city, over bad roads, and we leave in the middle of the night tonight for a flight up north to Bagan (still Burma) so we thought we’d take it easy today.
Yesterday was awesome. Hot, dusty, crowded, yet still seemed a lot more laid-back and peaceful than some recent stops. Rangoon has 5 million people, so it’s crowded, but there was a lot of space to ramble around in, and plenty of shady spots to find to get out of the sun. The Shewdagon Pagado was our main stop yesterday. We had a long walk from the shuttle to get there, and stopped at an interesting market along the way. Dan and I bought loties (I am positive I am misspelling this word) which are long wrap-around skirts, perfect for the heat here. And yes, Dan bought the men’s version too. Most of the local men wear them, and they are a lot more comfortable. I even got to pick my fabric and have mine custom sewn in 5 minutes (and for $9).
I will include as many pictures as the internet connection I am using will allow. But honestly, pictures do not do this place justice. The gold is staggering, and the scale of the architecture is immense. So many Buddhas!
Joe is a bit of a celebrity most places we go in Asia, and Burma was no different. He gets a lot of attention from older women who smile and want to touch him. Here in Burma, women and children wear a sort of cream they make (pronounced like naqqa) on their cheeks and elsewhere on their faces. It is primarily for sunscreen and cooling, but also is cosmetic. As Joe has a tendency to get very red in the face when he’s hot, we had women gesturing to us yesterday, indicating that he needed to have some naqqa on – we think they were worried he was sunburnt!
Even the monks like him – one actually insisted (through gestures) that we should take a picture with him. I am so used to trying not to inadvertently take pictures of locals (I worry I will offend someone) this was very interesting. He then wanted to see the picture. It’s a cute one, so I had to include it here as well.
And, at the end of a long, hot day, nothing spells relief like a local brew…
On to Bagan tonight, where there are upwards of 2500 pagodas, and the whole town is a protected archaeological site!