Yangon, Myanmar

Most people still know it as Rangoon. Most people think it’s the capital.

(In case it ever comes up in a pub quiz, the actual capital of Myanmar is Nay Pya Taw. It’s restricted for foreigners to stay, like various parts of the country, but we pass through it around midnight on the night bus to Inle. )

I’m just going to say what you’re not supposed to. I loathe Yangon. More than north island New Zealand, more than Uruguay. At first I just thought it was an ugly place, but turns out its downright offensive.

Visually it looks like a huge volcanic ash cloud has erupted all over its sprawling streets. There are some flashes of what could be beautiful – pastel yellows, greens, purples, on the front of the 5-story European-esk townhouses, but this vibrancy is tarnished with blackened soot and grime that makes the buildings all look like wartime blitz victims. Its little India meets Chinatown in a big car crash of mish mashed mess. I keep expecting cockroaches and rats to crawl out of the cracked pavements and walls, but I don’t see either. Maybe they got together and decided it was too hideous even for them. I was hissed at, cackled at and generally gauped at none stop. One of the rudest cities I’ve ever been to. I wasn’t scantily dressed or touting pro-democracy flags or anything – so seriously, what is it?

So Yangon, I’m seeking my revenge by

a) Rising above it. By sticking my earphones, trying to exercise some grace, and refraining from screaming ‘what the f*ck is your problem?!’ Despite wanting to several times.

b) By leaving thank god, after just over 32 hours here.

C) By slagging off your most prised landmark. Ha. Just north of the squalor of Central Yangon’s vile streets sits the much worshiped Shwedagon Paya with its famous Stupa (pointy bit on top.) Vast numbers of Buddhists make pilgrimages here and it’s the defining landmark of the city. Well do you know what; it’s an extravagantly gold-clad monstrosity. Pure tac!

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

October 2011
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