Being in a new city and in a new country is thrilling, overwhelming and often hilarious. Here are a few shots and moments from a day on the town.
The Circle Train is a “must do” for Yangon novices and veterans alike. The train leaves from the downtown train station (seen in the Anthony Bourdain Myanmar episode) and takes about three hours to circle the entire city. The train we intended to take transports locals from one township to the next.
When we arrived at platform 7, the man in the ticket window gave us each a ticket for 1,500 kyat (about $1.50). He was very worried about us as we waited for the train and every five minutes or so would come out of his booth and tell us to “please wait” – a common phrase Myanmar people say to foreigners. A few minutes before the train pulled up, he brought us a new ticket that said “foreigner.” We had been warned that they might make us take the “foreigner train” which is less desirable because it has aircon and they make you keep the windows closed. We wanted the local experience where you sit on hard wooden seats and are in the mix of locals bringing their goods to sell at the markets. Now we know and next time we hope to ride the local train.
However, I would not call our experience anything less than “interesting.” The time spent waiting for the train was a highlight of the day. We saw handmade chairs balanced on a stick carried on and off trains. We saw a little boy take his pants off and poop on the platform to be followed by his mom picking it up in a bag and throwing the bag in the train tracks. We even made a friend!
Hopefully next time we’ll get on the local train.
Since the borders to Myanmar were recently opened in 2011, there isn’t a lot of current information about life in Myanmar. Most travel books are outdated and there are very few blogs that are current and applicable to our new life in Yangon. Over the past few months we have collected a list of the best resources out there that are the most up to date!
Free downloads: Burmese by Ear or Essential Myanmar
Did we forget any essential Myamar resources? Add them here!