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Published: December 20th 2014
They tasted odd, but I was ravenous and thought nothing of it, plunging my hand back into the foil packaging for a second and then a third salted cashew. It was my first purchase in Burma, from the shop in the domestic departure lounge of Yangon Airport and I was a little foggy after connecting through Singapore on a 1am flight from Melbourne. All I wanted was food, so eat these funny tasting cashews I would! Then, as my eyes scanned the scene before me, I decided to see if I could decipher any of the information on the packaging, trying to determine if they were a local product. It was at this point that I noticed a rectangular yellow sticker affixed to the top of the packaging, right where I tore the packet open. In plain English, it stated: Remove the shell before eating. Oh. I see. That would explain the peculiar taste that didn’t match up with my prior cashew nut experiences. I plucked out another cashew, peeled away the dark brown shell to reveal a nude cashew offering itself up to me. The taste difference was a remarkable delight.
It had been about twelve months since I had been in a developing world nation and the moment described above was a swift reminder to take in my surroundings with wider eyes. Especially seeing as this was going to be my first ever foray into Burma/Myanmar. In fact, it wasn’t my first blunder for the day. After disembarking from my flight in Yangon, I changed my money into the local <em style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">kyat (pronounced ‘chat’) and then, bold as brass, strode over to the check-in area, scanning my belongings on the way through, only to cast my eyes over the airline counters and not be able to find my carrier anywhere! Air <a name="_GoBack"></a>KBZ couldn’t have gone under, surely?! After walking from end to end, I had the thought that maybe I was in the wrong terminal and it was small minded of me to think that a country like Burma wouldn’t require separate airports for domestic and international flights. More fool me. I approached a counter and asked if there was another terminal for domestic flights. The lady smiled, holding back a small giggle and informed me that it was in another building altogether. So, I went back out through the security I had passed through shortly before, wandered out of the air-conditioned comfort and into a humid day, which then promptly followed me into the domestic terminal. There was in fact an air conditioner doing its level best to cool the terminal, but a solitary machine in such a cavernous building did nothing more than chew up electricity in its ineffectual cooling effort.
So, I had found the right terminal, spotted the Air KBZ counters, strolled on up and handed over my passport and waited as they searched for my name on the flight manifest. Then I waited whilst they checked a second time. A third time duly ensued. They then asked me where I was flying to, to which I replied, “Heho.” I knew that I had time up my sleeve, so I wasn’t too panicked about getting another flight if they had overbooked the flight or lost my booking. In fact, I had hours of time. So many hours that another flight to Heho was still open for check-in, prior to mine. I was told to return in an hour, which I sheepishly agreed to and then went and found a seat beside the indomitable air conditioner, marvelling at how I was sweating in my seat as I read my Lonely Planet guidebook.
Thus my Burmese adventure was underway, albeit with a few stumbles, but underway nonetheless.
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