I am so happy I pulled it together for my second day in Yangon; today was something special.
I woke up and headed downstairs for breakfast provided by the hostel.
Two types of noodles, spicy sour soup, a banana, and an egg! (I grabbed an extra egg on the way out to make up for all the fried crickets I wasn’t eating..)
Chhay (a friend I met over breakfast) told me about an English school that was just the street over. The hostel told us that they were looking for ‘foreigners’ so we decided to check it out.
We had an hour or so to spare before the class started so we decided to visit Sule Pagoda in the mean time.
On our way over, we passed by Yangon’s city hall…
And many many fruit stands. These are rambutans! They are extremely similar to lychees both in texture and flavor. Yum!
Sule Pagoda! Known for its rich cultural history, we were told that according to legend, the pagoda enshrines a strand of Buddha’s hair, thus dating it to be over 2,500 years old.
It looked like it was about to pour at any second, so we hustled on to our next destination.
The English class was filled with students of all ages, from around ten to fifty years old. The director explained to us that he encouraged English-speaking tourists to stop by and simply talk to the students so that they could familiarize themselves with the language. I was assigned to a batch of children and was given an hour of pure freedom. I love talking so this was no problem for me.
One of the staff members came by and asked if I would like to have ‘thanakha’ applied. Thanakha is a paste made from a specific tree, and is often used in Myanmar as both sunscreen and makeup. I had seen many people with the distinct yellow paste on their faces, so figured why not.
End product! The students and I. Excuse the zombie face, I momentarily forgot where my front facing camera was
After that first freestyle hour, we were instructed to sit up and the front for a Q&A style session. Chhay and I were joined by three fellow travelers from New Zealand, London, and Scotland.
My hair looks fantastic, thank you.
The students asked about absolutely anything and everything from whether we had boyfriends to what our countries were doing in terms of environmental conservation. When I introduced myself and stated that I was from the US, they all chanted ‘AH OBAMA!’ One student even asked about my thought on the upcoming election and my feelings towards Hilary Clinton/Donald Trump! At the end of the class, the director kindly invited us all for lunch at the nearby monastery.
After making it back to the hostel and checking out, Chhay and I met up with some more traveling friends. We decided that we wanted to check out one of the local markets and made our way over.
Traffic in Yangon…
Trying new things.. This a palm seed, it has the consistency of Jello and tastes faintly of coconut!
Sugar cane juice stand
Visited a beautiful art gallery within the market. I wish I could take all of these home with me.
Especially this one. Ba-DONK!
Stopped by a fabric shop and we all decided to grab a pair of the local garb (a ‘longi’ and matching top) – will post pictures of me wearing it some time
Chhay wearing his newly bought longi! (far left.) Us at the market ft. my high fashion shoes. Mildred (2nd to the left) and I matched. We laughed about our shoes and I was comforted when she told me that they were worth their weight in gold during Thailand’s rainy season. #win
After wandering around the market for a little more, Chhay and I decided to break off and make the 45 minute walk to Shwe-Dagon Pagoda, the most famous pagoda in Yangon. The weather seemed like it was holding up so we headed out.
The weather did not hold up. Oops. It started pouring about thirty seconds after we left the market and stopped about two minutes before we got to the pagoda. Forty minutes of pure downpour.
After the whole ‘omg I’m soOOooo wet’ subsided, splashing through the streets with no one on the road (all the sane people were keeping dry inside) turned out to be a lot of fun.
We grabbed some coconut water on the way over
Coconut water in one plastic bag, coconut meat in another.. Portable and delicious!
Shwe-Dagon pagoda in the distance
Stairs up to the pagoda
Shwe-dagon Pagoda is supposedly the oldest and most famous Buddhist temple in the world. It is said to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas, including the hair of Gautama (as seen with Sule Pagoda)
The modern side of Shwe-Dagon pagoda..
Ran home, showered, and took a taxi to the bus station.
Hooray for night buses. #savetime
Quick dinner from the station and we were off. Next stop – Bagan!