Saturday, August 9, 2014

Myanmar: That News Paper Sealed the Deal

I was browsing old photos last Friday, my usual antidote whenever I can’t answer the travel bug call. I saw a photo of myself, eating breakfast at some side street vendor in Phnom Pehn, holding a news paper featuring an article about Myanmar. As I finish reading the whole article, I knew right away that it sealed the deal for me. I’m going to Myanmar by hook or by crook.

Two years after, I have visited two cities in Myanmar. The hottest city (literally hot as temperature reach 40 degrees Celsius on high noon) I’ve ever been - Yangon and the ancient city of Bagan. Locals are just starting to be accustomed with the influx of tourists in the country at that time. The Junta government is finally opening up to the world. Giving visitors like me more opportunities to cross out items in their bucket list.

I can still remember how demanding and bossy Mr. Moe was to the 9 of us during our first few hours in Yangon city. Though I must admit, he made the trip more memorable.

The shiny Shwedagon Pagoda that dominates the Yangon Skyline gave me a different picture of the local’s way of life. You just have to find a corner at the temple grounds and watch the tip of the golden stupa glimmer as the sun set behind you. And speaking of sunsets, I have witness a huge gathering of tourists waiting and documenting the sun setting by the lake in Bagan.

Our half day biking stint in Bagan is nothing short of misadventures. One thing to keep in mind: Looks can be deceiving. A tower that looks ancient from afar led us to biking almost all day just to find out that it was one of those new buildings in the area. We were tired, disappointed, and dehydrated but at the same time happy, fulfilled and thankful that it’s all over.

Climbing more than a hundred steps to the top of Mt. Popa barefoot was awesome and disgusting all at the same time. Monkeys and Doves litter the stairs going up the mountain meaning shitting is just a casual thing, so brace your selves for anything UWO (unidentified wet object) that you might encounter as you climb all the way to the top.

That weekend market is love. It was one of my favorite spot for some travel photography. With a pair of good eyes, guts, and your trusty camera you are set to have great photos.

I think I still have that news paper somewhere in my travel box, that news paper really sealed the deal and influence me to visit Myanmar. I’m still in the process whether to go back and visit Mandalay and Inle Lake, now who wants to join? 


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