Arrival in Yangon
Arriving into Yangon feels like stepping back in time.
January is in the dry season and everything is dusty. This is a light, brownish-orange dust that gets kicked up by foot and road traffic, getting on your skin and giving you ‘tan lines’ made from a light coating on anything exposed. The sun is also bright and warm- it’s reaching the low 90’s, so I wonder how anyone could make it through the summers in SE Asia.
It’s loud. Horns honking and big trucks rumbling along the road. Families of four on one motorcycle: dad driving, the mother riding sidesaddle in the back with a kid in between and usually one either in mom’s arms or in front of dad.
We get to our hotel, The Strand, a relic of colonial times when the British ruled this area. They left their architectural mark on the city, and we learned that this is where George Orwell stayed during his writing of ‘Burmese Days’.
Our guide for the week is Akayi Htet, (pronounciation self-described as ‘like Bakery, but without the B’) an energetic and cheerful woman around our age who is a Yangon local. She speaks fluent English and we know immediately that we’ll be in good hands when she says, “ok! We’ve arrived at your hotel. Let’s have a quick rest and we’ll meet back here in 30 minutes to go visit Shwedagon Pagoda.” She clearly wants us to get the most out of this vacation- if it were just us, there’s a strong chance we’d have a nap and then race to the Pagoda, probably missing the sunset. So we wash our faces, put on long pants for our visit to the stupa, and meet her downstairs.
Details of our Shwedagon Pagoda Visit coming up on the next post!