Published: June 18th 2012June 18th 2012
And I'm back on the road! It was great being back in Singapore for a week, and definitely after much travelling one just appreciates even more the familiarity of home... It sure doesn't hurt either to be from Singapore, where it truly is very clean, and where things just...work!
But the adventure continues, and I'm now in Yangon, Myanmar. What a difference six years make. I was last here in 2006, and there have certainly been some changes, most visibly the spanking new airport, that I recall was still being built my first trip here.
And it's noticeable also that westernisation has started to creep in more. A lower proportion of men (and women, for that matter) are wearing the traditional longyi, in favour instead of western jeans and slacks. It seems like there are slightly fewer women now also dabbed in the ubiquitous thanaka, the traditional local sunscreen (and make-up) for the face. And prices have definitely gone up! Probably in part due to the stronger kyat, which was about 1300 to one USD back in 2006, but is now about 850. Speaking of currency, they've also finally printed larger kyat denominations, and I was pleasantly surprised to
"Food Poison" Combos
Aw shucks I really wanted to wash down those watermelon omelettes and mangosteen syrup pancakes with a big glass of lime milkshake.
receive new, crisp K10000 bills when I changed at the airport. I still remember K1000 being the largest bills in 2006, and thus when one changed just a few hundred dollars, the thick stacks of old, worn kyat notes were, without exaggerating, Texas Holdem All-in worthy (big stack of course).
But some things still haven't changed, like seeing both left- and right-hand drive cars on the road, and everyone's continued insistence on receiving only new, unmarked US dollar bills. I've already had so many 100 dollar bills rejected that I'm starting to worry about not having brought enough "acceptable" cash! We'll see how things unwind.
Anyway, staying just one night for now in Yangon, at the White House Hotel in downtown Yangon, which, while certainly rather rough and rustic, has the weathered back-packer feel to it, and checks all the boxes, so I can't complain too much. Heading out real early tomorrow morning (4 a.m. wake up call!) for a long (5h+?) bus ride to Ngwe Shaung, a beach resort on the Southwestern coast. I'll be back in Yangon again though later in the week to meet YK (the same from Jogja) who'll be flying in to check
Close enough to scrutinize the inscriptions, if your Burmese is good enough!
things out here in Yangon. Hopefully he'll bring some additional "legitimate" dollar bills that I could use too!
There are more photos below