I 'm not sure if it's that we are getting old and dull or it's that Yangon isn't the party capital of the world but we saw in 2015 in a taxi traveling through the largely empty streets back to our hotel listening to the odd cry of 'Happy New Year!' and the bang of a few fireworks. Our night had been spent in one of a relatively small number of bars that resemble bars as we know them that exist outside hotels. The place is called Gekko, is stylish and kind of Japanese. Food is good (except if you are a veggie), wine is available and they have some interesting cocktails. The downside is that on NYE it is a little soulless and only frequented by expats. Hence the early night.
Our second visit to Yangon was short but we did a fair bit. The big tourist thing we did was visit Shwedagon Pagoda which is the largest in Pagoda in Myanmar and is as impressive as it is disturbing. The most impressive parts is its immense glittery goldness. It is huge and it is very gold. Its size and the wealth within is the disturbing bit. It appears that in order to show devotion to the Buddha by donating something you value to him and nowhere is this more the case than in this place. At the very top, were no one will ever see it is a 70 caret diamond. Slightly lower are as many jewels, gold and silver items as you can imagine. When the junta felt that people were getting a bit fed up with them they would spend a ton of cash stolen from the people in the first place to build a great big gold something or other in the grounds. And meanwhile people die of disease, go hungry and are denied an education. What a load of old k*** s.
On the 'load of old k*** s' front, we learnt that Buddhists will always know what day of the week they were born on. Each day is related to an animal and that animal gives characteristics to people born on that day. There are tigers, elephants, dragons and other great creatures. J and I discovered that we were both born on a Friday. Our animal is a gerbil. Squeak.
We all so got to meet up with a friendly face in the shape of our old next-door neighbour, Malcom. Malcom retired and sold the house about 8 months ago then went traveling. He liked Burma so much he is back there now, living in a guesthouse, teaching English and enjoying the culture. It is a small world.
Next stop, Singapore