Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yangon

Hello all,

After some long deliberations on the subject, Austin and I decided against going to Laos in favor of Burma. The reasons being that we already had flights booked to Yangon thanks to Lori and that we are now running low on time. Our options were to spend two weeks in each place or a month in one. It seemed like the best option to spend a full month (or just shy) in Burma.

We flew back to Singapore and started work on our visas. In the meantime we had a great time in Singapore, which is truly one of the best cities in the world. We spent our nights at the best hostel in town, the Prince of Wales, and ended up getting to be friends with the staff there: Nick, Junia, Niq and Joe. At night there is so much going on in this city. One evening we walked by the water front and happened upon a sound check for a concert that was going on later. The next night we returned to the same spot and heard a great band from KL by the name of Telebury. Check out their site: myspace.com/telebury.

A few nights later the head bartender of Nick asked me if I wanted to work the bar for a night. I agreed and we ended up having a great time. At first I wasted a lot of beer with poorly poured pints (alliteration!) but after a while I got the hang of it. I ended up getting to work two nights ago, but that was probably a bad idea as I was exhausted by the time we had to leave for the airport. We only got a few winks there before our flight left, at 8:30 AM.

After getting into Yangon we took a taxi to the guesthouse we had picked out in the Lonely Planet, called the White House. This nine-story apartment building has a little courtyard on top which provides a great view of the city. On the taxi ride we changed some US dollars into the local currency, the Kyat. In government banks, you get 400 Kyat for $1 US. On the streets you get about 1200. After getting checked into our hotel we randomly picked a city bus and hopped on. The people in Myanmar, as we were told, are some of the friendliest I've ever met. We sat down next to an older man who spoke English. He ended up walking around with us and took us to a little cafe where we had a few beers and some friend noodles. It feels surprisingly safe here, but that's probably due to the harsh punishments the government doles out for anyone who harms a foreigner. Later we met a young student who took us around town and talked about life in Myanmar. We spent lots of time taking photos; most of the people here love being photographed. They also happen to have great smiles, so it works out well. Tomorrow we are leaving for Bagan.

--Will

6 comments:

Neal said...

Green, green, green with envy, I really am. Did you get my e-mail like, a month ago? I think you should dig it up and reply. Or write a poem or something, I've heard Mandalay is great for that. Better yet, e-mail me a poem!

jeremy johnson said...

WILL AND AUSTIN!
gg
you guys have some pretty epic pictures. i only found your blog today... way to not tell me.
singapore sounds sick,
have fun in bagan..
..wherever that is o0

Anonymous said...

Hello William, This aunt Sue Typing for Oma, Oma wants you home NOW!!!!lol Anyways See you in the fall.
Love
Oma
And Aunt Sue

Anonymous said...

Will, je suis a Quebec and we are flying home today. Everyone is waiting in the bus to go to Montmorency falls outside of the city, but wanted to quickly see the site and say BONJOUR!! Je tèaime!!! Maman

Lori Shyba said...

Hello William. Seems that the moms were on the same wavelength. As I was writing this note, the entry came zooming in on your blog from your maman too. I too just flew in from Quebec a few days ago. Go Moms in the air! I'm sure glad you're posting news from Burma and I'm sure you guys are having a wonderful, happy, safe, meaningful time -- clean shirts or not. I sure miss you both and wish I could be experiencing the road to Mandalay, light years away. Love to you and Dino both.the other mom.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

Met your mom here last Saturday! She always looks like a million dollars!!! Just wonderful reading about your travels. Enjoy Myanmar.

Tante