Yangon, Myanmar

April 1
We took an overnight bus for 14 hours from Inle Lake to Yangon and got in around 6:00 am. Matt and I eventually bargained with a taxi driver to take us to our hotel for $6. We didn’t book a place because my credit card kept getting rejected online, so we decided to just show up. We got to our place in Chinatown and asked it there was availability. There was but it was $100 a night. We said that we saw it was $45 online. They said, “yes, only if you book online through Agoda.” We were like, “uh, ok, can we have the wifi password?” He gave us the password and I booked online through Agoda with my debit card. I don’t understand. Now Agoda gets 5%-10% of that money, when if the guy just let us pay him $45 directly, the hotel would have gotten 100% of it. Oh Myanmar, you just don’t understand common sense. We rested for a couple of hours and then went to get lunch. We walked the streets and it was very crowded. I noticed that people from Myanmar look very different from one another. The country boarders China, Bangladesh, India, Laos, and Thailand, so many different cultures make their way in. I have seen many people who resemble people from each of those countries, so there isn’t one district look for Burmese people. Also, this makes sense though, because Myanmar is the biggest country in Southeast Asia. Anyway, we walked around and couldn’t find anywhere to eat. It was so weird. We found out in a couple if days from now that restaurants are pretty much only open or dinner each night. I don’t know why, maybe because they are geared towards locals and not tourists who would eat lunch out. We walked to the Sule Pagoda, which is the seconds most famous pagoda here. The most famous is the Schwedagon Pagoda, which is by far the biggest, and it is also the oldest in the world. We went to our hotel to book a bus ticket before seeing that pagoda. Booking the ticket was a huge ordeal. We wanted to go to the second most famous beach in the country, and our hotel desk was convinced that there was only one bus a week and it was Friday night. They asked if we wanted them to book it. Considering that was four days from now, we said hell no. We knew for a fact there was a bus every single morning. We went to a travel agency down the road and the same exact thing happened. We then showed them our Lonely Planet book and they were like, “oh that bus station?” They are so dumb! There are two major bus stations in this city, both are huge. The hotel and travel agency only checked with the one bus station and didn’t bother I call the other. Now that we told the last that this bus exists, she thanked us for telling her about this bus every day. Wtf is going on in this country! People have no idea what is going on! We then took a taxi to the main pagoda and the driver kept asking us for directions. What the hell!!! It is the biggest landmark in your country and you are a taxi driver!!! You can’t make these stories up! I haven’t encountered one taxi driver in Yangon that had any idea where anything is. I literally showed multiple drivers a map, an address, a picture, and a huge landmark by our hotel, and he STILL had no idea where to go! He had to keep asking for directions from people on the street, who then have him wrong directions! I had a map, so I knew how to get places and the driver refused to listen to my directions. He assumed I had no idea what I was talking about, when really, I knew exactly where we were and how to get where I wanted to go. It’s so strange to me that taxi drivers in most of Asia have no idea how to read a map of their own city. They just don’t learn the city that way over here so it is a very foreign concept that is hard for them to grasp. Ugh! We eventually got the huge pagoda and walked around it. It was very impressive. It is covered in thousands of pounds of gold leaf, and had a 74 carrot diamond on too of it. Once the sun went down, lights came on and it looked incredible. We soaked it in for an hour and then took a taxi, that got lost again, to the most popular rooftop bar in the city to overlook the pagoda. It had a great view and nice vibe. It was outside and had food. We got some drinks and then called it a night. After directing the driver back to our hotel in Chinatown, we slept after a long frustrating day in the confused capital city.

mikepsilve'sYangon album on Photobucket