Last evening in Myanmar

From Bagan to Yangon we took a nice air condition bus and arrived to Yangon at 4 a.m. on Highway bus station. From bus station we took a city bus N 43 and arrived to Sule Pagoda within sunrise.

That time we decided to stay in Myanmar Motherland Inn 2, which was highly recommended to us by Belgium traveler we met in Kalaw.
This cheap hostel has two amenities: free shuttle bus to airport and buffet breakfast. The stuff also nice and helpful, but cheap room very small and hot in this time of year.

The last evening in Myanmar we spent drinking Myanmar beer and watching local families on the Yangon streets.

Money change in Yagon, scam and fun

In Yangon, first of all we were need to change our dollars to local currency. Manager in hotel offered 995 kiat (local call it jat) for a one dollar. Willing to get as much jats as possible, we went to streets.

– Change money? – Burmese guy smiling with mounts full of betel
– Maybe, how much is for 100 dollar?
– 1000 jat for one dollar and everybody happy.
– No, give us 1300 for one – we start to bargain.
– Oh, no possible, maximum I can do is 1020.

In a minute we have been surround by locals, after 10 minutes the guy agreed to 1150 jat for one dollar.

The bigger bill is 1000 jat, Burmese guy professionally start count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and last note he folded in two to fasten ten thousand. After 50,000 he start count very fast, when he finished he turn wad of notes with folded pieces to us and count to ten.

– Here is 100000 — and bloody red smile again.

The wad of notes had looked very thin to be a hundred thousands:

– No, the wad is too small, you are trying to cheat us. Take out all folded notes and lets start again.

Burmese guy smiled again, we was enjoying the fun as well and even had no plans to take USD 100 from the pocket, until we get the full amount.

The guy gave me big wad of money and asked me to count. I count 80 thousands and he gave twenty more, finally we got a hundred thousands, the wad of notes was much bigger than before.

The Burmese guy gave me 1500 jat more and said «done». Maybe he though that it is too hot for us to calculate 100×1150.

– Hey friend, you trying to cheat me again! Take your 1500 back and give me 15000!
– ok, ok, ok

Good, finally we had whole amount in our hands. Dima took out from his pocket 100 dollars and gave it to the guy. Another one (there were dozens of them while we were making fun) took the bill and said:

– Bad note, no change.

The note was very good, and we finally tired. Dima gave all jats back to the guy, and we were ready to leave. In next second we heard:

– ok, ok I believe you and will change you this bill.

At a same time another wad of notes, not the one that we had counted, showed up from the back of the guy and tried to moved to Dima`s hands.
With saying “thanks” to guys, we put our 100 dollars back and leave.

It was really fun, but we could not get any jats and had no money even for drinking water. Walked about 500 meter and we met old Burmese man without stupid smile, that offered us to change dollars

– If you want change without cheat, the rate is 1050 jats for one dollar.

Ps: later we met a couple from Switzerland, they lost 88,000 jat changing USD 300 :(.

Yangon on foot

Today we had a plan to go to Shwedagon Pagon. All trip for about 2 km we made by foot and got some kind of city-tour.

Only on second day we realized that there are no motorbikes in the city, all traffic consist of cars, jeeps, trucks and buses. Some of trucks and cars came from different times and countries, and some are hand made by local engineers.
The same difference with an architecture — old colonial buildings, mostly used as government buildings and surround with barbed wire; empty highrise condominiums, the tenants left them after Burma was banned by US; colorful low-rise residential buildings, completely occupied with locals; luxury private houses with gardens (also surround by barbed wire). But no one mendicant shack. A lot of new buildings and a lot of construction.

Yangon buildings

All pedestrian walks occupied with endless market, for sale: fruits, jeans, viagra, rubies, newspapers, some strange and huge devices, dvd, glasses, etc.

Betel shop

Betel stalls located with distance 50 meter from each other, the roller men works with rubber gloves.

With every 50 meters located stalls with pots of drinking water, nobody selling this water, but everybody can drink it.

Pots with drinking water

Thais with proud telling the stories, that they had such a tradition (in Nan province they still trying to keep it alive). Cosy pots with drinking water spread of all around Myanmar, even on Inle lake we saw bamboo piles with ceramic pots.

Both, men and women wear skirts, longyi or sarong. Young boys and girls sometimes mix modern t-shirt with Metallica pictures with traditional longyi — looks very funny.

Women and children wear special powder on their faces and arms, the powder traditionally getting from some local tree. Sometimes they make funny ornaments with this powder on their faces, looks very funny and very pretty.

Like every city in South-East Asia, Yangon full of open air street cafes and eatery places. Pretty small table, couple of stools, pot of green tea and small cups. We ordered local carry with rice, the boy brought the food in a second with extra plates of salad, soup, fresh and preserved vegetables. It cost nothing (600 kiat per person) and taste was wonderful.

Myanmar food