Yangon, the old capital

By campodegelo

Former capital and biggest city of Myanmar.

A place that has not been on my plans, but embraced me with its Temples, Pagodas and vivid mixture of ethnic groups.

It is possible to observe an intense influence of Chinese, Indian and British here.
Buddhist monks share their space and cigarettes (yes, it is weird to see them smoking) with Muslims and Taoist followers.

The Chinese new year is still celebrated even one week after its actual date.

Curious looks are still everywhere, but do not seem so pure as the ones from the small Hpa-An.

Scooters and motorbikes have been forbidden, in a tentative of traffic reduction, leading to a huge fleet of taxis. Even though it is a big and poor city, with approximately 6 million inhabitants, the streets are cleaner and less noisy than the ones found in some Indian towns.

Thanaka and longyis are still part of the daily life, and now umbrellas give some colour to the environment. That’s because the weather is extremely hot and dusty, and pale skin is a beauty pattern. Talking about beauty, I can say that the Burmese women are so far the prettiest ones or Southeast Asia.

One day with the presence of Kim, a Dutch girl who joined me around local markets, parks and the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda, which it is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas and eight strands of hair from the head of Gautama, and I’ve already felt I had to leave Yangon.  

I think I got spoiled by my first impression, and here lacked a bit of the most sincere smiles. Let’s hitchhike again, or at least try to.

With a local bus I managed to get out of the town, and by the main road I started to wake to my possible drivers.
One hour passed.
Two hours. Three hours and no success.

Just taxis stopped to know where the red guy was going, and got disappointed when the North of the country was mentioned.
Everyone recommended me the same: the bus station.

I was reluctant to it, but the Sun was punishing me, 37 degrees and no shade to stay.
After some time a group of 3 girls in colourful dresses decided to present me with a blue umbrella with pink adornments.

How sweet.  It gave me the strength to stay a bit more there.

4 hours passed and the first normal car decided to check what I was doing, but nobody could understand a single word in English. Fortunately I asked the hostel owner to write some phrases explaining my situation, that I did not have money to travel and wanted a ride to the north, it did not matter where.
The vehicle was not going to that direction, but got touched by my paper and offered to buy the bus ticket for me.

I had money, don’t get me wrong, but how could I explain that I wanted to travel in a different way, just relying in the good actions of people? They would not get there.

Anyway, I could not accept his offer and he left without understanding the situation.
Half an hour later and another car decided to check what the crazy westerner was doing. He would go less than 1km further and said I should try the Express highway.

Have I been on the wrong road all the time?

He offered me a ride within him, his wife and a cute baby, and more innocent than a fat guy on a diet going to an All You Can Eat restaurant, I accepted.
He ended bringing me to the Bus station.

NO, I said! (Politely of course).
I would not give up.
I explained to him how I was traveling since Vietnam and at a first glance he seemed to have understood.

Mere mistake.
When I was walking back to the road, he appeared again, with a big smile on his face and a bus ticket to Bagan in his hand.

Apparently hitchhiking in Myanmar is not easy as it seemed, or I was unlucky, but people’s goodness and generosity make always a way for you.


This entry was posted in Asia

One thought on “Yangon, the old capital

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