Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The SSEAYP Diaries: Yangon, Myanmar

The days leading up to the next destination, Myanmar, left me sick in the cabin most of the time. I came down with a pretty bad fever, and I was quarantined in the sick bay. 

Myanmar, I found, was a city full of absolute colonial beauty. Buildings dating from British colonial rule still loomed everywhere. Of course, most of the pictures here are taken with my newfound love of a fish eye lens, courtesy from my Cambodian sister. (which i lost recently, and I’m pretty bummed about)

We headed straight for the welcome dinner at the hotel together with our own contingent mates. I had such a fun time just selfie-ing everywhere with everyone using the fish eye. I can safely say I went abit mad with it, so if you don’t appreciate fish-eye photographs, I apologize in advance!

All them pixels….. hehehehe

I liked this dinner. Probably because waiters served us, and we didn’t have to walk anywhere. YAY.

Back to the ship after ward. We had a local site visit with our solidarity groups the next day, and for me, I got to visit yet another institution – Yangon University of Foreign Languages.

So, the university is home to students that learn any additional language to Burmese; could be English, Japanese, French and the list goes on. It’s a pretty cool school, and of course the students that I managed to interact with were even cooler.

There was an exhibition that showcased a whole lot about Myanmar tradition as well, and we got to try out local Myanmar snacks, their tea, even their instruments. Most common of course, was the thanaka; made from the sap of a plant if my memory doesn’t fail me. Kids used thanaka instead of makeup when they were in high school, and it contains cooling properties as well.

As much as Cambodia is the place to go for gold, Myanmar is all about that jade.

And I've never tried milk tea as good as Myanmar's. Just enough with the milk, and the tea leaves really shine through. 

This entire cultural journey has me learning at least three new musical instruments lololol. Why am i still not a prodigy.

Thanaka is something they put on their face; has cooling properties (necessary in Myanmar weather) and it was kinda like a substitute for makeup since they weren't allowed to wear any when they were in their early years of school. 

After a really random song and dance segment, we split up for lunch. We mixed with the students at different assigned tables, and I managed to get along really well with them. One of them majored in English, and I was so thankful ~ Another in Japanese and one more in French heheheh.

My fish-eye does come in handy! Exchanged contacts with them, and after that, we headed to the main campus for the homestay matching ceremony.

My homestay mate this time was a Bruneian, and happened to be Jackie’s good friend, yay. She’s a bimbo, just like me. Maybe worse LOL. Sorry Yana!

Meet my dad the bachelor. He has no kids of his own, but he stays with his sister and her family. So, I had my own two brothers and a sister. I swear, he’s the coolest, and on top of that, he’s Muslim!

The Muslim population in Myanmar more or less live around the same designated area. Let’s just say, they’re not very “buddy-buddy” with everyone else in the society, which makes it harder for them to live life to the fullest.
We went home, and apparently our dad owns a provision shop right out by the road. Went up to the room, and realized we had no door, so dammit, we couldn’t change in our room.

Just had time to put our things down before we were out again to look at the nightlife. Dad brought us to the market (I can't really remember the name of it!) where it housed a whole variety of handmade products. Wood sculptures, beautiful paintings, a whole bunch of embroidered items; bags, wallets etcetera, their handmade sarongs, and of course, jade.

Bought myself a gorgeous wallet ($3!!!) cause i needed a new one.

I think the best part / best buys of the day were the full Myanmar suits. The sarongs they managed to sew it up for us on the spot and it took us less than 10 minutes?!?! Plus it was so cheap? $7!!! For one sarong. Not kidding. And they're really pretty! I bought two :-)

Sigh, look at all the weight gain I had from Brunei :(

Dad took us and our sister to the pagoda, which is really golden. I’m not kidding. It glowed in the light. Didn’t manage to get any good pictures in, which is really really sad IMO.

Dinner, was the best.



Everyone waited for us to eat first, even though I asked if they had all eaten already. :’) The food was so local, but so familiar. Most importantly, so darn good?!?!?! Spices, and sweet and sour, and all sorts of textures. I ate so much I didn’t know what else could fit in my stomach.

We requested to go to the nearest mall because both Yana and I had to restock our toiletries and all that. The nearest mall was 10 minutes away, so Dad took us, and we dragged our sister along even though she was already in bed and in her pjs. Woops.


In Myanmar, everything is relatively cheap. I didn’t buy much there except my necessities and food. Of course I had to get food.

So I bought a whole bunch of MAMA brand instant noodles. (They're relatively known for them)

Pretty much sums up my first day in Yangon. 

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