Friday 24 February – Bagan to Yangon



It was a long and tiring day.

Flew with one of the several local airlines after farewelling Mr Winn and Jaw.

We were picked up by Myat, the Yangon based guide and visited an enormous reclining Buddha pagoda as the day got hotter. Fortunately our van was air-conditioned.

After lunch we took a crowded local train into the outer Yangon suburbs – we noted more of the piles of rubbish we have seen everywhere – dominated by plastic bags, and similar villages we have seen in the more rural areas cultivating crops which are then taken to Yangon markets. It’s hard to say if people are poor or unhappy or is it that their way of life is different from ours? Certainly life expectancy is shorter than ours at about 65 and there isn’t universal access to education and healthcare. But exposure to the way the Myanmar population live, raises lots of questions.

What was most interesting was observing normal Yangon people and their goods on the train, going about their normal lives – families, pedlars of sweet corn, bottles of water, watermelon and quails’ eggs getting on and off the trains. Goods are sometimes carried on donuts on their heads.

It took ages to get across town in the gridlock of Friday night rush hour – so much more development is pending, that you shudder to think of traffic in 2 or 5 years – and we had to stop at a loo on the way because of the state of Carol and Paul’s guts. We had only a brief opportunity for me to don a long skirt, before we ventured out, just Greg and me and the guide, to Shwedagon the huge, elaborate and impressive gold Buddhist temple, mecca for the pious and Yangon landmark. Incredible really when you observe the reality of people’s lives next door!

Had said good-bye to Jessica, and were pleased to hit the sack in this flashest of flash hotels designed with pagoda themes, exhausted after a light dinner.

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