Whatever else you do while you’re in Myanmar (and, if news reports are to be believed, you will be in Myanmar at some point soon), be sure to save time for wandering around downtown Yangon.
Stumble onto the morning markets with their chorus of hawkers calling out from behind bins of shrimp and sacks piled with rice. Appreciate the peculiar mix of titles for sale at side-alley book stalls—homebound volumes about civil management, religious esoterica, English-language pulp thrillers, and, of course, Orwell’s “Burmese Days.” You’ll also want to spend a lot of time at the ubiquitous curbside tea and noodle shops you will have no doubt read about.
And don’t forget to look in the trees. Last fall, on my first trip there, I was staying downtown a little east of Sule Pagoda. I’d spent my first day following parades of religious devotees around, and on my way back to my hotel I noticed a tree loaded down with what from a distance looked like elaborate bird houses. I walked across the street and, at close range, discovered wooden platforms displaying small Buddhas and at least one figure I recognized as a nat.......................
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Discussion on Burmese history and culture.
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