I’m a few days behind. Oh well.
Having arrived a few days before Calvin, I got to settle in or marinate in (its ungodly hot) Yangon a good bit. It is my first southeast asian city though, so please excuse the comments that seem to regard the more generally southeast asian flavors of this city rather than specific burmese attributes. I have yet to figure out the differences.
Things I fell in love with almost immediately: the street food (mangos, weird meat on sticks, noodles, betelenut, roti), the people sitting in plastic chairs around every corner, the splotches of color in the landscape, the pago and langyi skirts, the takana make up, the smiles, the slower pace of this city, the fact that I can’t tell by their face who is “burmese” since everyone is a bit of something else, the other (really friendly) tourists staying in my hotel.
Things that I loved doing: wandering around the gorgeous Shewedagon Pagoda, talking to the monks, eating at cramped teahouses, watching locals play soccer by the river, finding a great art gallery in the strand hotel (and thus seeing what government censored art looks like), taking photos with Oriana around the market, having a fortune teller predict that I will be very good at karaoke, reading alternately david foster wallace and chicklit in a hammock
Thing I didn’t like: the obsession with big beautiful american dollars. I read the lonely planet section on this. I took money that I thought didn’t look too bad. I even made the money changers at the KL airport give me the newest bills they had. Yet, half of my money apparently has some small crease, or ink stain, or rip, which means it gets a lower exchange rate. or they won’t take it at all. ugh.