Published on December 2nd, 20134
A Sunday Stroll in Yangon…
Given that I have to wait til Monday to pick up my Thai visa (grumble, grumble, Thailand why must you always give me grief?), I have more days in Yangon than I might otherwise like (5 days/4 nts.) Nonetheless, I like nothing better than “slow travel” and never tire of aimlessly wandering around the streets of a new and exotic city. And I must say, Yangon (formerly Rangoon) in Myanmar (formerly Burma) offers an especially diverse assortment of surprising sights.
My only Sunday chore was to locate an ATM that accepts VISA plastic – no easy task in this land so recently opened to travelers. While there ARE more ATMs here than had been rumored, comparatively there’s still but a dearth of them, and many/most seem to be A. out of order, or B. they don’t accept VISA cards (I KNOW, it’s such an obscure credit card after all).
I did manage to eventually locate a proper ATM, and grabbed a thick bundle of kyats (pronounced “chats”, 1,000 kyats = about US$1, so very easy for we Americans to do the math) to serve me over the coming weeks should I find ATMs even less handy in more rural areas. Btw, I’m also carrying a boatload of crisply pressed US dollars as they are accepted at many hotels and other Myanmar services.
So my Sunday was pretty low-key – mainly…
My morning spent here at the keyboard doing research on my *planned itinerary.
And my afternoon – strolling the streets of Yangon, snapping photos hither ‘n yon, finding a (most unusual for Myanmar) modern shopping center, complete with the ubiquitous “Cinaplex” on the 5th floor (currently playing some Thai film dubbed in Burmese) and a swimming pool on the roof! I opted for a dish of coconut ice cream, and marveled at the Burmese teens playing Wii and other games in the 4th floor arcade.
Streetside, there were amazingly picturesque crumbling old buildings with a bazillion pigeons flapping about (for a moment, I actually thought I’d been transported to some stray plaza in Italy!), and plenty of streetfood to sample. I was especially delighted to find a lass mixing up fresh “Tea Leaf Salad” and ordered a bag to take home (“home” here being a relative term for my current hostel, Agga Guest House).
All in all, a most lovely leisurely Sunday.
And what did YOU do on your Sunday?
*(an overnight bus to Kalaw Monday night, followed by a comfy room HERE to recuperate from the 11 hr. bus trip; then likely a 2 nt. trek to Inle Lake (the trekking said to be wondrous) plus a couple of nights at Inle Lake. After that – dunno, the bazillion stunning temples at Bagan of course, but not sure if I’ll take a train, bus or plane. Following Bagan, the plan is to take a slow (overnight) boat to Mandalay plus possibly a couple nights around Hsipaw – northeast of Mandalay. All very loose right now (the way I like it) but will firm things up as I go along.)