Ah the sounds of the city. I have been in Yangon for 2 days now and finding it a pretty interesting place. It is similar to other large cities in the fact that it is busy and very congested. Crossing the street is a lot like being the frog in the old Atari game Frogger. There are multiple ways to become injured. It is also a bit exhilarating too. Avoid certain death by running, darting, jumping and twisting. It is a dance with death I suppose. Well that is a bit over dramatic, but hey that’s what I do.
Yesterday was my first day here and it was spent meeting up with John and Maung Maung Gyi from 100 Schools. We walked around and had lunch with some other donors from Singapore. We tried to go to a craft market which was closed due to a National holiday. Later we went to happy hour for a couple of beers and in bed by 9:00. It was a much needed slumber indeed. The entire day was a blur…not just after happy hour.
Today was an early rise and down to breakfast in the hotel I am staying, the New Aye Yar. Breakfast comes in the price of the room and is actually quite nice. It is not your usual continental breakfast. The buffet style setup has several options including curries, noodle soup, a type of rice pudding and a young man making omelets. The coffee is also how I like it, very dark and sludgy.
After breakfast it was off to the market that was closed yesterday. The Scott Market is a tourist based market that is pretty expansive. I was there looking for more handy crafts to take back to sell to raise money for building schools. There are hundreds of stalls selling a vast array of items. Things from silk scarves and bolts of cloth to jade bracelets and wooden elephants. I would like to purchase many of these wares, however I have no idea how to tell a real gemstone or even if an amber necklace is real. Are those real pearls or diamonds? Yes they tell me. Hmmm, still not convinced. When I go back to purchase items it will most likely be items made of jade and tiger’s eye. Pretty sure I can tell those….
After the market it was time to source out the rest of the gear I needed for the computer lab. This I did at a shop called KMD. I am waiting for a quote by email to determine if it is going to work out. They have a store in Mandalay also which will work out perfectly as I won’t have to transport anything on the 8-9 hour trip up.
tomorrow I will be heading down the the delta south of Yangon to attend the opening of the 50th school and enjoy the festivities that come along with it. This evening, however, visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda is on the docket. This is the most important pagoda in the country and is apparently an amazing place to visit. I’m in.
It is now time to head back out into the hustle and bustle of Southeast Asian city life. Beep-Beep-Honk-Honk!