20 July 2013

mingalaba, myanmar

as the plane descended into yangon, i looked out the window and thought: MYANMAR IS BEAUTIFUL. the landscape was overcome by lush tropical trees and vegetation, dotted with red-roofed buildings and with shiny gold pagodas everywhere. it was completely unique and totally breathtaking.

unfortunately, our first view at groundlevel was rainy and dark. happy monsoon season, y'all.

first sighting of the shwe dagon pagoda! and clearly some of my best photography.

we haven't gotten to see the pagodas yet - except from afar. and we haven't done anything worth writing about. but yangon is fascinating, and i've been taking way too many photos, as always.

sule pagoda road poses the eternal question: "which came first, the pagoda or the traffic circle?"

the city is a weird mix of crumbling old and brand new, as myanmar races to develop ahead of the influx of tourists and business after the country opened.

elsa bought this sassy t-shirt at the chaotic market.

mingalaba is a burmese greeting and about the only word i've learned so far. it's a tonal language and uses a completely unique alphabet, so i'm not sure i stand a chance. we also realized that if we got hit by a car, we'd never be able to remember the license plate; all the letters just look like squiggles to us.

every other road seems to be named after its own pagoda.

we couldn't seem to find a decent laundromat anywhere - doesn't look like the residents have that problem.

did they just give up on this sidewalk?

the view on a typical cab ride.

this taxi was the oldest car i've ever seen that actually moves (that's an old timex alarm clock taped to the dash...) but the driver was so friendly. we couldn't really understand his english, but he went on and on about aung san suu kyi and barack obama and how great they are.

the indonesian embassy.

market stalls + my obsession with dragonfruit continues.

this abandoned railway building is just so INTERESTING. it's like a setting for a horror film. but it's being newly restored, so i doubt the dirt, moss, and broken glass will last much longer.

i wish i could help.

caught in the act of taking this photo... oops. 

one last note: from now on, i'm referring to this country as myanmar, not burma. the u.s. government may not have officially endorsed the new name, but that's what everyone here calls it, so i'm going to do the same.

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