Yangon the green crumbling city
Visiting Yangon in the middle of the monsoon is seeing green crumbling city. The heavy rain makes everything soaked in water. The concrete give way to green plants of different kinds all the buildings are dressed in green. This can´t last forever in the end the concrete walls will dissolve and fall apart. I arrives this green steaming hot city by taxi in the late evening. I asked the driver is this city safe? The driver laughed and said. Indeed, very safe you can walk in the middle of the night in Yangon, no one will ever touch you but you won´t meet anyone either, we have all gone to sleep.
My choice for the night was Pyin Oo Lwin Guest House. We arrived at 23:00 in the evening normally Pyin Oo Lwin should be closed for the night. The manager opened the door and gave me a single room for 7 US$.
I decided to stay in Yangon for three days using Pyin Oo Lwin Guest House as a base before going to Sittwe on the west coast. Myanmar is a cash only economy since it´s blocked out from the international banking system. One should bring crisp, clear, clean dollar notes without any signs of marks or tears. The dollar notes should look brand new!
Back in 2007 the only place for exchanging money was the market. This has changed nowadays it´s better to exchange money at official money exchanging offices. The receptionist at Pyin Oo Lwin Guest house exchanged 20US$ into 2400 Kyats. The receptionist told me to go to market and exchange money to better rates than she could give. At the market the moneychanger gave me the same rate as the receptionist has given. I told him that the rate was bad. He raised the rate to 128 000 Kyats for a 100 US$ note. I accepted the offer and exchanged the money. I received an enormous amount of very large Kyat notes nothing you will place in your wallet. One needed a bag to carry all the money.
The first place to see in Yangon was the Sule pagoda down in the city Centre. The more famous Schedagon pagoda with fifty tons of gold on the roof was about thirty minutes walking up hill from the city Centre. Botataung Paya is the third pagoda located in the harbor area of Yangon.
I met a guide when leaving Sule pagoda. He suggested a visit to a monastery school for young monk boys outside Yangon followed by Schedagon in the evening. I accepted his ideas. We took a taxi from Sule Pagoda to the monastery school. The drive drove the main road uphill out of Yangon, past the two lakes, in a sharp left bend after the second bigger lake (on the left hand side) he turned right into the monastery school area. This was a very interesting visit and got some nice photographs. This was about a month before the revolt in Myanmar 2007 so I am wondering how many of these boys are still in life today?
I ate breakfast and lunch at 999 Shan noodles situated at a parallel street to Pyin Oo Lwin Guest house. The best restaurants in Yangon are in the lake area about twenty minutes walking uphill from the city Centre.
Don´t miss to stroll around in the areas near the river on both sides of Sule pagoda. This is particularly interesting during the monsoon season then all the walls of the building’s a covered with shining green plants. Look at the local people´s day to day small business activities.
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