Apologizing for the long delay due to limited WiFi, Diane and I have been in Myanmar for a week now. Finding it difficult to put into words, this county is a special place that steals your heart from the minute you walk out of the airport. Having spent a few days in Yangon, travelling out to The Golden Rock area by bus and returning again, we can’t get seem to get enough. Catching us both off guard, let’s clarify something from the beginning. Looking more like a real third world city in sub Saharan Africa similar to what we’ve seen on episodes of The Amazing Race, much of the city’s buildings look dilapidated with that horrible dark gray soot covering every inch of the building.
Strolling along the “strand” (waterfront) beckons the days of colonialism as you approach the controlled chaos of the ferry terminal that transports people across the river to an area known as Dala that’s actually considered a slum. Carrying everything from fish to rice in large baskets over their heads, you won’t likely find this much old world charm in the heart of any other major downtown area in Southeast Asia. Unlike Penang, Myanmar is just beginning to enter its foray into vibrant tourism which means construction of modern buildings, hotels and shopping complexes. But most of it just started, leaving the city in a bizarre state where a shanty developing world meets modern storefronts, shopping complexes and new restaurants. Promising to post lots of stories and pictures once we get back, I want to focus on what makes this place so special; its people.