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Published: December 11th 2018
Stephen fortunately woke up feeling a little better today.
We enjoyed our standard breakfast for this lodge - tea, toast, fried eggs and fruit (watermelon today). The women serving are so kind but make us chuckle - the number of slices of toast you get is random, the order of service is random and I’m sure we’re supposed to get juice as well but today we didn’t (everyone else did!).
Check out is late so after packing our bags we went for a walk.
First of all we went to the central Secretariat building and walked around the outside. It’s currently being renovated and the outside looks fantastic. It’s only on closer inspection you notice that parts of the roof are missing and there are trees growing inside some of the rooms!
From here we walked to the Church of st Marys. This beautiful catholic cathedral is made of red brick and the inside decorated with coloured tiles and pretty stain glass windows. They’ve also done a good job decorating it for Christmas with trees and lights. I didn’t spot a nativity up yet though...
From here we walked towards where Stephen thought the old hospital was. We weren’t able
to find it but there was a large, old building covered in scaffolding and behind screens which could have been it.
At the end of this road was the Anglican trinity cathedral. Another red brick structure but inside decorated with dark wood and much more like the churches at home. They had a group of chickens and a turkey outside in the little garden at the front. We were slightly disappointed to discover we had missed a carol service they had had the first evening we were in Yangon. Unfortunately without it being publisied online there’s no way of knowing about it until you are in the church.
Already cooking due to the heat we headed back to our hotel, past a number of market stalls and shops. Here we cooled down, changed and checked out, leaving our bags in reception.
Hot, we meandered slowly, via a slightly different route to the air conditioned ‘The Parisian’ cafe for some lunch. From here we walked along The Strand to the Botahtaung pagoda.
This pagoda was destroyed in WW2 bombing by the allies and rebuilt with a hollow stupa you can enter and see the relics of Buddhas hair in. I
found the pagoda underwhelming compared to the others in Yangon.
Stephen waited outside in the air conditioned foreigners ticket booth as he wasn’t really interested, and it’s quite expensive to enter at k6000 (£3). It’s quieter than the other pagodas I’ve seen, and there’s a bronze Buddha which spent 66 years in the V&A museum before being returned to Myanmar, but overall I felt there was less to see.
From the pagoda we walked to the river front and saw the docks and passenger boats. There are day cruises along the river which set off from here - something I’d have liked to do had I known about it earlier. We then walked back along the strand to The Strand Hotel where we stopped for yummy virgin mocktails and a nosey around this luxury hotel. From here we went back to the Parisian for a cheaper afternoon tea. (The tea in the strand did look good - proper teapots & cups with tiered cake stands served at the table unlike the buffet offered at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai).
We picked up some pastries & lychees for supper and some bread for breakfast before picking up our
bags and heading off to the bus station. As per usual the bus stop is miles out of town so we had to set off at 5pm to catch our 7pm bus.
With the rush hour traffic it took us just over 1.5hrs to get there. There are loads of different companies covering a huge area and without our Burmese speaking taxi driver I think we’d have really struggled to find the correct company.
We were pleased to find the staff well turned out, polite and organised and the bus set off on time as scheduled.
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