Monday, February 16, 2015

Asia Trip - Day 6 - Rangoon, Burma

Sat 14
Explore Rangoon
Optional Beyond the Rangoon River tour. After breakfast, we'll head to the city center, where we'll disembark to enjoy a walking tour around the area of Sule Pagoda, the City Hall,and the Independence Monument in Mahabandoola Park. We'll walk along Strand Road, where we'll find remnants of old colonial-era #buildings as well as modern architecture. Then we can spend time browsing the historic Scott Market before a visit to the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to one of Burma's most revered reclining Buddhas.
Begun in 1899, the massive image of the elegant Buddha resting on its side in the six-story pagoda is more than 200 feet long. Then, we return to our hotel for lunch and dinner on your own.Or, you can join an optional Beyond the Rangoon River tour, which features a visit to Dala, a rural village on the banks of the Rangoon River.


The guide told us we have a full program today so we meet in the lobby at 8:30 am. The bus will take us a short distance but it is always interesting to look out of the bus window.

If you are looking really closely you can see two workers (really boys) down in the water. Everybody in the bus said: oh no!

The bus let us out at the Strand Hotel. Seems that this is an old and famous one. Ronald lead us into a side entrance which is an art gallery and tells us where to meet and when. James and I take a quick look but then walk around the block.
What is wrong with this picture? A Jaguar in front of this dilapidated house?

See the meat hanging?

Back at the hotel lobby to use the "very happy room" and meet the others.

Now the city walking tour starts. Ronald stops at street vendors to tell is about things. Here somebody has a breakfast treat. Obviously she has carried it here with the wooden bar over her shoulder, seats and all. Vendors have to pay a fee of about 50 cents each day.

Ronald points out the old colonial buildings from the British times here. It must have been quite pretty. So much is dilapidated now but efforts of restoration are being made. The state is recognizing that tourism is a good industry.

And of course you see this: the old woman rummaging through the dumpster.

This seems to be the used book street. Quite a good number in English.

These are books for the different grades in elementary school.

At another vendor Ronald explains the betel leaf they chew. Something which gives you a high but also terrible looking teeth, cancer and all sorts of nasty problems. The big globs of bright red spit everywhere on the streets are that stuff.

The bus brings us the the center. City hall, high court, the park! James and I have a stroll through the park. This is the Independence Monument.

William, Sonyeon says that independence is very important and he wants to be in the picture too!

I did take a 360° VIDEO in the park (will be added when I am back home).
Back at the bus. We still have a few minutes.

All right, here is the VIDEO!

Right there on the sidewalk several vendors and "restaurants". He makes sugar cane juice. Ronald explains that the water in which the canes are standing in gets very foul in the sun. The canes soak it all up though and when pressed its in the juice of course. Not very appetizing. Another boy behind him is working very hard with a menacing looking tool to peel the canes.

The bus takes us to Scott Market. It used to be the railroad station but some politician moved it. There are lots of little businesses in there. It is hustling and bustling. There was a map over the entry which actually proved not to be much help.

Helen, guess what we are doing here?

It's Chinese New Year time. Suddenly some dancers. It was loud!

We were brought back to the hotel to refresh and lunch is on our own. James has a swim in the pool and we share a pizza.
We had signed up for the optional tour which started at 3:30 in the lobby. The bus took us to the river. We had to wait for the ferry just a little while.
Now, everywhere we get out of the bus, there always seem to be children or young girls trying to sell us something. Sometimes they even follow you but they are very friendly. There were two girls ar the ferry port trying to sell us postcards. After a while one of the girls offered us a smartphone for "only" $50. I think a poor tourist is missing one!
Finally we could get on. Ronald had told us to go upstairs.

Vendors everywhere. Food for people and even food for the seagulls. Strangely boys seemed to be the ones feeding those.

It was a short time to the other side. People swarmed off the ferry. We took out time. The next people are already getting on now.

The place in front of the ferry port was like pandemonium. Ronald lead us to where "tricycle taxis" where waiting for us. One per person.
We were taken through the rural village Dala on this side of the river. Every so often we stopped and Ronald explained something to us.

Took this in the "selfie mode". No way to turn around in these things. Besides, the drivers made us hold sunbrellas for our protection. Cute but in the way since we only have two hands.

Ronald took us to the house of an entrepreneur. As we found out later it's the candlemaker's. Here ordered candles are packed up in certain quantities, labels added into the bag and sealed.

Right next door he mixes "soft drinks" and seals them. Questioning what water he might use and everything happening and laying around on the floor I have changed my mind about sealed things. Not necessary as sanitary as one thinks.

Not far the candle making factory. This was very interesting.

He had a good number of these molds. The wicks are threaded from big spools and good for many turns. The paraffin poured in is actually not very hot. Since I asked I was told to stick my finger in.

Underneath is a water cooling system and it only takes 5 minutes for the candles to be ready.

Today was "water day". No running water here. There is a certain time when the villagers can get the water and many family members have to help. Most were almost running. Heartbreaking.

Back to the ferry.

Have to wait just a little again.

Back to the Yangon side.

And off to the Chinatown. The first picture from the bus.

This was really fun. All those different vegetables, spices and food. This is durian.

This is how the candle maker ladies sealed their bags too: folding the plastic over a saw blade and running it over a flame.

Dried plums (like raisins).

No idea what it is called but it is sticky rice with something else and you take it home and fry it.

These were tiny shrimps in butter making these cakes.

Quail eggs ... she put two halves together to make these treats.

This is very stiff jello.

More Chinese New Years celebration. James took a VIDEO (will inser later).

Very quickly it got dark. Back in the bus. The Golden Pagoda looked very pretty in floodlights. No picture opportunity though.

Dinner at this restaurant. It has a historic room where General Aung San had a secret office. He is a national hero and was assassinated.

James tried a typical cocktail (something sour) and I tried the local red wine.

Main course pretty much what we had before. Dessert was ... strange.

Time to pay for drinks and look at the famous office.

We have to pack and fall into bed.


  1. Great pictures but both William and Pops said wheres Omi?

  2. Very different from the riches represented by the Buddhas and temples.