Long-time readers may know that Mommy was born in Burma, a.k.a. Myanmar. She hadn’t been back since 2003, and Daddy had never been there. So when we moved to Singapore a couple years ago — Singapore being just two hours or so by plane from the Yangon, the capital — we put Burma high on our list of places to visit.
Or rather, places to visit eventually, since Nyan was not yet three years old, and we thought he was still too young to subject him to a very, very developing country.
By earlier this year, we decided it was time. Phwa Phwa was visiting Myanmar for a few weeks, so Nyan, Mommy and Daddy popped over for five days. It was a pretty amazing place. (Editor’s note: the names Burma and Myanmar are used fairly interchangeably. There’s a deep history behind what each particular name means, which we won’t try to go into here. For sake of consistency, we’ll call it Myanmar from here on out.)
Let’s start off with a look at random scenery from around Yangon. We should note that it’s a fascinating place, filled with gorgeous old buildings and friendly and helpful locals, but it was also run by a military junta for many decades. A lot of urban amenities — like closed sewers and organized traffic flows — just don’t exist. Keep that in mind as you look at this first batch of pictures, which, yes, does include a shot of several layers of crumbling sidewalk with open sewer beneath.
Myanmar is home to a tremendous number of Buddhist temples, and Yangon is sort of built up around Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the biggest and most opulent temples you’ll see. We went there one evening:
Another night we visited Sule Pagoda, which is in the heart of downtown Yangon. Part of it features a wooden model ship in which you put offerings; then you turn this hand crank and it drags the boat up to a pagoda. Nyan dug it. Read the rest of this entry »