Burma, currently known as Myanmar, is a forest-clad country of mountain ranges and river systems, with an abundance of golden pagodas. After a period of isolation, it has again opened itself to visitors, while remaining one of the least Western-influenced countries in Southeast Asia. Travel to Burma to experience Asia as it once was.
Rest of group arrive Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar)
Lunch and dinner are on your own.
2 of 4 nights PARK ROYAL YANGON HOTEL
33 ALAN PYA PHAYA RD
Tel: 011Website: WWW.PARKROYALHOTELS.COM
We came a day before the tour started and nothing really was on the agenda for today so I thought there wouldn't be much to blog about. Well, it does add up.
Not to waste the whole day we decided to set the alarm for 7:30. Got ready and went for breakfast. OMG what a breakfast buffet it was. Couldn't get it all in one picture.
Don't ask me what these are for.
Perfect timing. Just when we came from the breakfast room there were a bride and groom standing on the stairs and pictures where being taken. Don't know whether this was before or after the ceremony. There was a whole crew of photographers.
Everybody was so beautiful.
Everybody seams to wear flip-flops here. These were the most elegant flip-flops I have ever seen. I tried to take a good photo but at this point they walked too fast.
Alright, off for a little exploring. From the hotel reception we get a map and explanation. A look back so we know what to come back to.
Soon we have to cross the railroad. Happens a train is coming. No, nobody is hanging out like in India.
Well, I must admit we were in a bit of a culture shook. It was difficult to walk around. You always had to look down because the sidewalks were so incredibly uneven/broken. The concrete slabs on the drainage were often broken or missing and you really didn't want to step into a deep hole or twist your ankle. Sidewalks were taken up by "businesses" of all kinds, you didn't feel comfortable walking through, well, just no space. So we dodged between the cars. There was definitely nothing for us tourists to buy so we headed back to the hotel.
And yes, several women were carrying things on their heads like this one. Men were carrying great loads hanging left and right on a crossbar over their shoulders. Didn't get a picture of that. To be honest, since I don't have a telephoto lense I am bit reluctant sometimes to take photos in case somebody doesn't want me to. I guess I am timid.
Church almost across the street from the hotel.
Don't know what happened. The neon sign said that it was a money changer and that is what James did. Inside it was a beauty salon but they also changed money. We had been told that US bills had to be "pristine" or they wouldn't change them and the lady certainly inspected them very carefully. No marks or creases allowed!
Don't know whether you can see this but I cut the top off when I took the picture of the hotel looking mainly at the traffic which passed fast. I wanted something nice like this "taxi for the commen people" (?) ... a pickup truck with benches?
I could take the top from the next not-so-good picture and it gives the idea. So, here is the almost composite of our hotel from the front, exactly across the street.
So, we decided we would wait for our guide to give us the tour and chill at the hotel. We found a nice shady place next to the pool. James was reading his book, I did the Seoul quilt museum blog as promised.
Later James wondered whether he should check whether our guide Ronald had arrived with the rest of the group from the airport. Good thing he did. We had just ordered a beer to share but the guide had arrived and was giving a little tour in 15 minutes. So we hurried.
It was really a walk around the block and the guide was pointing out different restaurants we could go to when we were on our own for lunch or dinner. It also gave as already a chance to get to know each other.
(Helen, this picture is for you)
Back at the hotel. View from our window.
And back to the pool. James is going for a swim even so the water is on the fresh side. I rather enjoy the warm air instead of cold water. Don't know whether Sonyeon would like to go?
William, what do you think? Would Sonyeon like to go swimming with Papa?
We didn't have lunch but sharing a small pizza at the pool sounds like a really good idea. Vegetarian. Delish!
When I wanted to take the elevator up to the room I heard music. Looking over the railing to check it out ... and take a VIDEO!
At 7 pm we went on our adventure to find dinner, "local dinner". James likes to eat in the little places around the corner. This one was recommended by the guide as very Burmese. It seemed like the "waitresses" were all just little girls. A flock of them. This one spoke a little English. At least she tried. The menu had English "subtitles". Some of them sounded rather funny.
James ended up with his second choice " mutton curry". He was told to come to the kitchen since his first choice was gone. I had chicken noodle soup. O.k. Call me chicken. I admit to sometimes having a touchy stomach.
When it was time to pay, James was told 3,800 Kyat ($3.69) total for both of us.
This is it afterwards from across the street. Actually it was nice. The little girls were giggling.
Since we didn't dare drink the water we did wash it down with beer at the hotel bar. It was still happy hour.
So much to take in all around us. Better go to bed and do some contemplating. Tomorrow the tour really starts!