A year ago today I arrived in Yangon for the first time on an evening flight following a mad dash from my previous posting in Dhaka to get a last-minute visa ahead of Thingyan. My documented impressions of that first day:
There was no traffic, and the cars that were on the road didn’t use their horns, plenty of bars and restaurants along the route, a couple of smart, well-stocked shops selling golf equipment and toilets and mattresses, supermarkets that weren’t as well stocked, my first military convoy (shipping jade according to the driver), men wearing sombre coloured lunghis, Buddhist monks (that will always be more aesthetically pleasing than their Muslim counterparts), and a 15 minute wait at a red light (which amusingly kept re-setting its countdown). That led to the only communication between the driver and I, as I exclaimed that the delay was “bullshit”. I think he agreed. We turned onto a street that revealed the Shwedagon Pagoda in the distance
I have no idea which part of town the house is in, other than up a very small incline. It is so quiet. All I can hear are birds, toads and geckoes together with the Indian kids next door playing round-the-clock cricket. The crickets are so noisy I can hear them over the air conditioner. It’s a long way from Dhaka where the poverty and people and religion is so inescapable that you hear it in bed.
|North view of the Shwedagon|