Saturday, 18 March 2017

One last day

Back in Yangon for the final full day of my third big adventure. This morning we had a walking tour with Alex in the main area of Yangon.  It's very hot, mid 30s and up, so we were grateful to be in the air conditioned bus part of the way.

Only in SE Asia would you see a sign such as this!

The streets provide rich still life opportunities, even in the shabby rundown areas there are pops of colour such as this door.

Or the personnel statements made in masonry paint.

Then there are the little quirky moments such as the bird seed seller.

More proof that I've actually come to Myanmar and not hiding away in my sewing room at home, here I am on the central pedestrian bridge with (yet another) stupa in the background.

As ever, street food is everywhere.  Deep fried cricket anyone?

No, I thought not.  Perhaps a punnet of fresh strawberries instead? I just wanted to buy some so that I could have the hand woven palm punnet that they came in ....

Plenty of book sellers lined the streets, most from what I could see they were school primers and revision books.  

We wandered down to the dock area and watched the ferries come in before heading off to the main market, the huge Bogyooke (formerly Scott market.)

Here food, handicrafts, clothing, jade, flip-flops and anything else you may need is sold, in vast quantities.  Longie, male or female, are everywhere.

Or if you prefer to have something custom made then that can be arranged too.

There's no need to worry about your safety either....

The dogs may command the streets, but the cats have the market under control.

We are on the move again, walking the busy streets to the south, where dilapidated colonial facades dominate the skyline.  There aren't many sky scrapers here,

but there are many colourful opportunities to be captured.

Other people's washing is always more photogenic than your own!

 After a hot morning full of bustle we felt in need of some cool calm and altogether different atmosphere.  So off to The Strand we went for lunch.    A colonial throw back, it was visited by the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham.  Lunch was very pleasant, if a tad expensive.

Before we headed back to the hotel we went on a mission to find Pomelo.  This is a fairtrade handicraft shop, take a look inside:

Just my sort of place to have a good rummage around.

And this is what Sue was on a mission to buy...a papier-mâché dog, which has now been christened Hazel.  I think it's a compliment from my roommate of two weeks!

Back in the hotel it was time for me to address my packing....will everything fit in I ask myself?  Of course it will....


Late afternoon we took a stroll around Lake Kandwgyi, home to the glittering Karawelk replica of the Royal Barge.

Finally our tour took us to the glittering Schwedagon Pagoda just in time for sunset.

This is the most religious site in Myanmar as well as being one of the most richly decorated with real gold sheet and leaf, 5500 diamonds and numerous other precious stones.  It is also said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha.

There were plenty of richly decorated screens and artifacts.

Plus devotes lighting candles, wicks and dinging bells.

 Recognise this little chap? Saw another one at the foot of Mt. Popa.

There were many people praying,  the two dressed in pink are Buddhist nuns.

Synchronised sweeping anyone?  Actually they are all regular citizens who after a day's work volunteer to come and help maintain the pagoda and keep it clean.

As sunset approached the place became more and more busy,

although in places I can't help but think that it all has the look of a theme park, with all the glitz, gold and flashing neon lights. There were even ATMs and foreign currency exchanges.  Baffling really.

But given all that, the main stupa does look magnificent at the close of the day.

As did the birthday cake Alex had arranged in honour of Rob's birthday.  A wonderful way to end the day and a two week adventure in Myanmar.

Tomorrow it's time to catch the flight back to London Heathrow via KL.  No doubt it will be raining and a little chilly, but life is an adventure and I'm determined to travel it well.  So be it London, Yangon or Saigon, there's always something waiting to happen just around the corner, another road less travelled. After all, the best adventures are the ones you don't expect to take!

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