We finally got to get out and explore Yangon today, and boy was it incredible. We got a late start to the day, and by the time we started to pound the pavement (10:00 am) it was already 32C. No me gusta.
From the hotel we headed to the Musmean Yeshua Synagogue – the only synagogue in the whole country (there are fewer than 20 practicing Jews in the country). Upon entering, I was given a Yarmukle to wear inside the synagogue. It was a surreal experience for me.
After we wrapped up the visit (a short visit, as it was quite small) we headed over to the Sule Pagoda – a major landmark in the city. We stored our shoes (and had to pay a shoe fee.. thats a new one) and headed into the area of the pagoda. This wasn’t a pagoda in the Chinese sense of the term, but more a Stupa. We walked around, sweat more, then picked up our shoes and headed off to the train station.
On the way, we stopped and picked up some water as we had pretty much soaked through our clothes (side note: Metal Vents are the best invention ever because they don’t smell). The guy in the cafe we stopped at was really confused by the fact that we only wanted water but whatever he got over it (presumably).
We got a little lost on the way to the train station, and stopped at the Shangri-La for directions. This turned out to be a really good idea as the guy at the concierge desk gave us a map and some tips on where to get the train,etc. We walked over to the central station and got our tickets for the Yangon Circular Train. This was definitely a highlight of the trip and cost us less than $1 each – for a 3 hour trip!
The train ride was an incredible experience and we got to see how the people of Myanmar truly live. It was so interesting to see the structures that people have come up with – quite ingenious! We also saw many people drying their clothes on the railway lines , which is quite smart as they are very flat. It was amazing to get out of the city for a few hours and see how green and lush everything is. It was amazing to see how open and friendly the kids were too – many of them would wave, make faces and say “hello!” as we passed from the train! About 20 mins before we were due in Yangon station it started pouring (the monsoon for the day) and luckily it cleared up just as we got off the train!
After the 3 hour trip was over – we headed off to the same cafe as yesterday for lunch and a quick pit stop. We then bought some snacks at the grocery store downstairs. Katelyn and I both found the products available to be mind boggling. For a country thats supposed to be quite closed off from the world, we saw lots of Japanese, Korean and Western products. I got some apples, oreos, cookie sticks and pineapple cookies! I also got a can of the infamous Pocari Sweat from Japan and a local drink called “Pop Soda”. The pocari sweat tasted exactly like sweaty lemons and the “pop soda” was just carbonated water (stay tuned for my taste test video).
After getting our snacks, we were both wiped from a long day in the sun and headed back to the hotel.
Back to trying to finish this can of Pocari Sweat. Pray for me.