Monday, December 1, 2014

Myanmar the Land of Temples: Part II - My First Two Days

I awoke on Saturday morning and looked out my window at the Shwedagon Paya (Pagoda).  This is an icon off Yangon and is the most sacred of Buddhist sites in Myanmar.
Shwedagon Paya at Dawn

 This was to be a day of rest and relaxation after my long flight.  I went down to the buffet breakfast, which catered to diverse tastes.  In addition to standard American/European fare, there were sections for Indian, Chinese, and Japanese.  A section with bacon and pork was marked "Non Halal" so Moslems would know not to take any.

My hotel is the Chatrium Royal Lake and surely, Lake Kandawgyi (Royal Lake) is just across the street.  I walked across and started walking a path around the lake.
Royal Lake
Much of the path was brick, but it was not very well kept up and had dirt or broken bricks in places. Finally, I came to a locked gate and could go no further. I turned back and went to the hotel.  I put my bathing suit on and went to sit by the pool.

I read my spy novel and watched the people around the pool, getting in and swimming a while.  By late afternoon, I went into the bar and had one of their 640 ml (21 oz) bottles of Myanmar Beer. It's a great bargain for $6 if you can drink it all.  They also have regular 335 ml (12 oz) cans for $4, so this might be the way to go.  I went to the hotel's Chinese restaurnt and had their special of the day, crispy noodles and chicken. The waitress sugested dessert, so I had chocolate ice cream.

Back in my room, I started arranging my things.  The next day I wanted to start exploring Yangon fairly early, so that I would avoid the heat of the day. While I was in my room the hotel slipped a note under my door. It was from my tour leader, Don Lyons.  I called his room, and he suggested that we meet for breakfast at 7:00.   I agreed and went to bed.

The next morning, I met Don for breakfast and we got to know a bit abouy each other.  We finished at about 8:00; he had some appointments and I had my photos to take.  I stopped at the concierge station, and they gave me a map, a hotel card, and engaged a taxi to take me to the Sule Paya for 3,000 kyat (about $3.00, $1 US converts to about 1,025 kyat).  Dealing with the hotel, everything is priced in USD; on trhe local economy things are priced in kyat.  In any event, the driver took me to the Paya in record time.  Of course, it was Sunday; when I made almost the same trip the next day, traffic was much morse.

Near the Paya is a small park, Maha Bandula Park.  A lot of people were enjoying the park..  There were many young couples, strolling hand in hand, or just enjoying each other's company.
Maha Bandula Park
 Across from the park there was the Yangon City Hall, the first of many buildings that I would photograph on that day and the  next.

After walking around the park and taking a few more shots, I then took some pictures of the Paya, and walked up the stairs to the skywalk and went inside.  I removed my sandals and left them at the door after paying the entrance fee. There were several small chapels which it was OK to photograph.
Yangon City Hall
Sule Paya

After the Paya, I went an photographed some other buildings.  which are shown below.
Sule Paya
 I somehow missed the street that I wanted to take to continue on the tour that was shown in my guide book, and went on to a Road with the same name.  This led me to a dead end.  I truned right and passed several more little paths that were obviously not what I was looking for.  I felt that I was somehow lost, and was tired.  There seem to be taxis everywhere you look in Yangon. I saw one showed the driver my hotel card.  He seemed to know where it was, so I quoted him the 3,000K price which he ageed to, and off we were back to the hotel.

We were on familiar streets, getting close, when he veered off the main road to a Lane with the same name. I assumed that the driver was, just bypassing main road traffic, but he got lost.  After one false start, he found another taxi driver, who gave him directions and we finally arrived home.

Here are pictures of some of the other old buildings I saw on my walk that day.

No comments:

Post a Comment