Last Chance Rangoon

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January 2nd 2017
Published: January 4th 2017
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We made it back to the sanctuary and slept like babies. Deaks must have picked up on the parental anxiety in the taxi from Popa to Bagan - he said he saw the driver (Sleepy Dwarf) 5 times at the airport. All the parents were watching Sleepy's eyelids and Deaks would have had a good veiw throught the rearveiw mirror, and that face will be burned in all our memories for some time. There's still a palpable feeling of relief that we survived that ride.

But today is our last day in Yangon. And like a heat-seeking credit card, Jules has her sights set firmly on the artwork we saw earlier in the week. My only hope is for a cheaper tourist print at the Bogyoke Aung Sun Markets. Over 2000 stalls in one colonial building, selling woodworks, lacquerware, haberdashery(?), art and souvenirs. If we find something there, the Tight Arse Tours budget will remain in tact.

Unfortunately...they are closed on Mondays. As we arrive at a deserted building the driver tells us "sorry, closed on Tuesday". For the next few hours we think it is Tuesday. Don't you love the ignorant freedom of holidays?

Plan B involves a trip to Rangon Tea House for some local tucker and a hunt for alternative markets. Jules and I get to try some Mohinga and local fried snacks - peas, onions and some other random stuff. Bloody good! Who thought fishy noodle soup could taste so yummy. Not as good as Dave's favourite Mohinga, but not a bad effort apparently. The duck egg floating in the soup is initially confronting but surprisingly perfect. The kids tried a sunkist smoothie with no success (it tastes as bad as it sounds) but found solace in the chocolate samosa on ice-cream.They need a little help maintaining energy and focus today. And what better than chocolate and ice-cream at 10 am? And if the kids can have chocolate, Daddy can have beer! Can't decide? Why not try half-and-half?

We make the most of Milla's sugar high and hit the streets for a souvenir hunt. We grab some bracelets and oven-mits (yes oven mits - the practical souvenir) from a western tourist targeted craftwork boutique and the kids both avail themselves of the clean western style toilets. They're learning the toilet tricks of the trade very quickly.

We continue our exploration of downtown Yangon and by chance enter a curious market 'hidden' in one of the many rundown buildings we pass. As dark as a cave and with the variety of an eccentrics garage sale, this place has everything! A plucked chicken speckled with flies, exotic fruit and veg, an indian looking butcher stripping the hind-leg of some beast, women sewing on vintage flying-man sewing machines, a cute kid that approaches Milla with a smile and even a mini Bunnings section filled with random hardware and homewares. An awesome impromptu experience and a brief insight into a local shopping experience.

A week in and it's the first piggy-back request from little-legs Milla. She's done very well but is fading fast. We make a quick stop to purchase some pirated software. $1 per disk or 4 for $3. Apparently the piracy laws are yet to be drafted in Myanmar and Tight Arse Tours loves a bargain. Even if I can't load it when I get back to Aust. It's the getting of the bargain that's important.

Before we know it we are back at Pansadon gallery and appraising the artwork. The paintings prominent position was now vacant. Were we destined not to buy it? No! It was out the back. Don't know if it was reserved for some other white tourist and they got us mixed up or because we looked at it for so long last week, they moved it for us. Either way, we're buying it. Small blessing is that it is $100 USD cheaper today than it was last week and after numerous attempts on the credit card machine we walk away with an original Novice on the Stairs. It is a beautiful piece of art and a wonderful reminder of our time here.

We catch another taxi to Lady Luck or Lucky Lady or Lady Love and grab a bundle of souvenirs. It said on the door "Closed Tuesdays", but was opened and allowed us to figure out it was actually Monday!

Back to the sanctuary for some downtime. Dave and Alex's nanny Bridget is back from holidays and has brough home a puppy and the girls fight over cuddles and play on the tramp with soap and water. Oliver steps on the puppy's snout and pretends to pee on Elliot. He's a live-wire! Bridget has agreed to watch the kids tonight and we head back downtown for some sushi and cocktails at Gekko (this one is not a spelling mistake). Step inside and you forget you're in Yangon. It could be a trendy London bar judging by the decor and clientele. We sit chatting and sharing a plate of sushimi, gyoza and endamame beans. The cocktails are good, the kid-free conversation is better. A fine end to a great week with Dave, Alex and their family.

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