1000 kyat (burmese money), pronounced Chat = 1$
2nd morning in Yangon, woke up around 5 am. It’s the jetlag, but I love it, because I’m up at the crack of dawn and am ready for bed by 9 pm (never would happen back at home.. its more vice versa).
I took a walk around the city by myself in search of a rain jacket, as well as to explore. Same scene as the day before, locals up at 6 am setting up shop, setting up tents selling souvenir.. women setting up food carts. Passed by an elder gentlemen messing with his radio antenna to hear the morning news. Kids in the Unified Burma school uniform walking to school. White polo tops, and green trousers — all throughout the country. Didn’t find my rain jacket, but definitely loved the walk along the river. I noticed on a street corner – an elderly Indian Hindu woman squatted on the floor next to a 15 year old Burmese girl, feeding pigeons and selling bird food. They fought with each other to sell me a basket for 200 Kyat – 20 cents. I gave them both each 200 kyat, and fed the birdies with them.
All the children here have been taught to wave at us and say HI!! BYE!!! One little cross-eyed girl who was feeding birdies when I first saw her, chased me down minutes later, just to wave n say hello. As soon as I responded, she ran back 2 blocks to feeding birds. I Love the children here.
The hotel women were up at 6 am making our breakfast..
Breakfast was included in our hotel fee here at White House Hotel in the Capital of Yangon. Served at 8, The women had cooked for 2 hours for us. I awaited on the 7th floor patio restaurant with the owner, Chad and 2 french boys we met. Such sweet boys!! They are both getting into the Wine making/distributing industry in France, they’re traveling 28 days in Burma. There was also another shy French guy who we learned had stayed at a monastery in Burma for 15 days to meditate. He had 1 on 1 with the monk on Buddhism and how to meditate.
the Hotel Owner’s Stories:
As we waited, the owner of the hotel started telling us stories of the hotel and of his past. We ended up talking til 11 am (3 hours) when we had to go. He had been running hotels for 28 years. He traveled for the first time at age 8 when his father put him on a train by himself away. This guesthouse that he runs he hosts only for travelers, he says its not good to mix locals and foreigners. About 2 years ago, some hotel guest foreigners brought back locals and a prostitute from a bar after a night out. They caused a riot, and after regulating the noise, the travelers wrote poor things about their guesthouse, so unfortunately, it will not be featured in Lonely Planet this next edition. He is worried that his business will go down.
He has 200 acres of crops by the Thai border where he gets his food for the hotel. He says blissfully that he is at the 3rd and final part of his life (he’s about 55), and that he wants to leave a legacy for generations to come and to his family, his hotel business.
The food finally came and it was DELICIOUS!! Similar to taiwanese noodles, many different sweet jams they hand made, a lot of fruits (in every meal they’re are mango’s, little bananas, watermelon..), and the TEA definitely keeps coming!!
At 11 am, we had to say goodbye to the hotel owner who we’ve become very acquainted with. Took a taxi to the bus stop, and boarded the 12:30 bus to Inle Lake in SHAN STATE – central western state in Burma, largest. Yangon is situated in the southern tip. It was a 16 hour bus ride North, with 2 main 30-minute stops for food & pee. and many many short stops to pick up people along the road. We were the only tourists on the bus, but a rather nice charter bus.
I tell ya, riding the bus or train is the BEST way to see the whole country. There are many areas the Burmese government do not want you to see. As you view your tour options, there are only 4 parts of Burma they offer: Yangon (the city), Bagan (all temples), Mandalay (beautiful city & lake area), and Inle Lake (Smaller lake village).
With my IPOD playing, we drove past the whole GREEN country, filled with farmers, rice patty fields, kids playing soccer, little boys in hammocks, happy children playing with rocks.. villagers on bikes with their babies holding on tight in the back.. school children all in the same uniform walking to and from school.. Huts that everyone lives in, women washing their clothes by local water, everyone staring at me confused at who i am, where i’m from, what i’m doing here.. Carts selling things.. A lot of individual stories I piece together. Drove by a mother braiding daughters hair while little boy plays with the mothers hair. I saw 3 little kids playing a game of touching the floor and jumping in the air. I wanna play..