Yangon

We are finally back in Seoul and have a chance to go through our 1300+ pictures. Apparently we went a little trigger happy with the camera this vacation. I am going to try to get the posts rolling early and often this year but like every good New Years resolution I am not overly optimistic.
This winter break we decided to head to Myanmar as two of our coworkers have recently been and have mentioned how amazing it is, and that we should get there sooner rather than later as it still isn’t overrun with tourists. As we began to research Myanmar everyone mentioned to make sure to bring crisp 100 dollar bills. As apparently anything shy of fresh off the mint would not be accepted and there were 1-2 ATMs in the country. Thankfully we were warned ahead of time and we live in Korea were every time I receive money I feel like I am defacing it as I can never seem to keep it looking new, but everyone else seems to have no problem with this. As you can imagine I was not in charge of the USD and Caitlin kept it wrapped in her purse and took the utmost care not to bend, fold, crease or tear any of the bills. When we arrived in Yangon we watched a group of 4 backpackers trying to get cash out of an ATM with little to no luck and trying to figure out how they were going to get money for their 10 days in Myanmar. Not to worry they figured it out as we seemed to see them at every stop along the way. As I mentioned there are not that many tourists still in Myanmar so it is easy to recognize and spot the tourists.
Our first stop in Myanmar was Yangon. Yangon was the former capitol of Myanmar and had a plethora of buddhist stupas and temples to visit. The first day we spent wandering around the city and taking in all the sites. Yangon is a busy city whose focus is not on tourists so we got to see a little bit of everyday life. There were betel nut vendors wrapping up betel nut with all sorts of different things. As a large amount of people were chewing betel nut we had to watch our step making it tricky to snap pictures of everything.
A couple of distinct Burmese cultural differences that we noticed were that everyone wore Longis which is a long skirt that both men and women wear. The difference being the pattern of the fabric. The second difference we noticed was many of the women would also had Thanaka (ground up bark) on their face as a cosmetic. I wasn’t able to get pictures of everything in Yangon but I got some later on.
 One of the things that stuck out to us was the large number of monks. Every morning as we had breakfast at our hostel monks would pass by with their beggar bowl and the hostel would serve them rice and chicken in their bowl. Later on in our breakfast we would see a row of young monks walking to school. This would be a theme throughout our time in Myanmar. It made us feel like we were in a different place to say the least.
While we didn’t spend a lot of time in Yangon it was a definite blast to the senses and we quickly realized that Myanmar had a lot in store for us. Everywhere we looked we noticed something different and interesting. More detailed posts will be coming.

A Monk crossing the street.

A row of apartments.

Phone booth.

Carpet street. The whole street was covered in rugs for sale.

Sule Pagoda

Premixed beetlenut.

Caitlin infront of a fancy restaurant/theater.

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