Thursday, April 6, 2006

Yangon part 2

As always there are kids selling postcards, and like the adults they generally take a no very well. I had a fascinating conversation with one young girl.
'you very beautiful'
'I think you are'
'I think you are more!'
'nope, you are'
'you buy postcard?'
'no thanks'
'only 1000 kyat' ($1us)
'no thanks'
'ok I wait for you here' (while we went to be tourists at a paya)... and she did, reappearing afterwards , 'you buy postcard?'
'but I waited for you!'
'I know you did'
and a HUMPH, would have bought some just for the theatrical performance. Around the corner a boy offered postcards at double the girl's price...
We visited the Shwedagon Paya which is the most revered place in the country to Buddhists, the main impressions we got was that it's quite pointy in a vertical kind of way, there are hundreds upon hundreds of Buddha images and figures and it's very very bright! Apparently there are a few thousand diamonds on top of the central stupa but apart from them being a long way up, it was so glarey there was no way we could have looked at it.
Afterwards we went for looking for lunch, wandering around wishing we'd bought the more up-to-date guidebook as most of the places we were looking for had gone, we ended up catching a taxi back to our guesthouse and having lunch there!
Lunch was served (eventually, again the patience thing appears!) by a friendly young man who seems to run the restaurant section of our guesthouse. He's almost impossible to understand, to me he sounds a bit like he might be slightly deaf as he speaks in a very muffled manner, we get by on signals and facial expressions.
And then there is The Duck. A small child who we think lives a bit down the road and kept us entertained for a good hour last night at dinner by running around at top speed flapping his arms and quacking. We saw the Duck again this morning and Dylan and him had great fun playing a game of hide-and-seek between him and the camera. Every time he looks at us we get a wave and a hello. It's completely cute.
Like everywhere we've been, people break out into song spontaneously. Monks wander the streets with their fans, bowls and umbrellas. There are many nuns as well, dressed in baby pink robes with a wicker dish for donations.
It's very humid here, but not actually very hot so it's quite bearable.
But I said Yangon is a mixed bag and this is why...The streets are a mess, the roads are appalling and this is the city centre. There is masses and masses of rubbish everywhere, layer upon layer of plastic creating a whole new and totally unattractive type of soil. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it not even in Cambodia. Oh, some streets are better than others, one in particular that we have walked down was simply squalid. There are skinny mangy dogs everywhere, and their sh!t along with them. Human too in places I think. My plans to be more adventurous with food have gone out the window here, it's just too dirty to contemplate it. Maybe I'm being a stuck up westerner but its pretty bad. Even if I look out a window in our guesthouse to the block next door it looks a bit like a rubbish tip. Where would you even start to get this cleaned up?
Hoping to go to Pyay tomorrow and then onto Bagon and it's famous 'lost temples' afterwards.

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