Friday, February 8, 2019

#5 Food, and More to see in Yangon

As we traveled through Myanmar, we became accustomed to having a fairly large breakfast each day. These were included in the price of the room. 

image from web, I forgot to take a breakfast picture
Self served from covered hot pots, one could have fried potatoes, chicken sausage, fried fish, fried tomatoes, fried slices of corn on the cob, and of course the ever present rice noodles, fried vermicelli noodles, and fried rice.

A hot bowl of Miso soup was also standard with things to add such as green onions, won-tons, and tofu.

Fresh fruit, buns and toast, coffee, tea and yogurt were standard, and a few places offered oatmeal. Most hotels had a cook on duty to make omelets or fried eggs to order. 

Also, each hotel seemed to have something different from the others. One offered sweet and sour pork, and another had a big pot of fried vegetables with steamed rice.

My favorite, Pumpkin Ginger Soup
If Craig and I had been traveling alone, these breakfasts would have satisfied us all day, but Joko and Nicki are both big eaters and we found ourselves eating lunch, a snack and a nice dinner almost every day.

Also good, a rice noodle soup

Since it seemed just about everything was fried in a wok with lots of vegetable oil, I quickly learned to order only a soup for lunch.
My choices were also compromised by my determination to follow the CDC's recommendation to avoid "raw foods". After a week or so I did eat some fruit with only moderate consequences.

On the second day we again drove around the city to see more. We stopped at the school where Joko teaches, but of course they were closed for the holidays.  We also checked out some of the government buildings and some of the old structures from the colonial days when the British ruled over what was then called Burma.

The traffic was terrible, and there just was no parking anywhere, so our sightseeing was limited to drive-bys. I must say, Joko was a great driver. There is no sense of lanes, stop signs, turn signals, or for that matter staying on a particular side of the street in busy Asian cities. Changing lanes, U-turns in mid block, and lots of horn beeping are all standard. It was a bit scary for an old lady like me, and Joko laughed at my spontaneous gasps and squeals. (Not much different from when I'm in the passenger seat of the Alfa in city traffic.)

Then, he wanted to show us the Armenian Apostolic Church of Yangon. 

We looked for a parking space, and the only one open was filled with birds! Since it was under a tree, and a man was feeding them, there was little question why no one was parked there. 

But we did, and Joko had the car washed at the end of the day.

The church was quite beautiful. It is the oldest church in Yangon and dates back over 100 years. They still hold services here. 

Next it was on to the Bogyoke Aung San Market, formerly called Scott Market.

from Web

Merikay and Joko exploring the market
Built in 1926, it contains booths and small shops of every kind imaginable. Somewhat like a cleaner more permanent version of all the street vendors.

from web
Everything was very colorful! Because we live in a motorhome with limited space, I do not buy souvenirs, but I was really tempted here.

This image was taken from a second story walkway that connects the old market building to the second building that opened in the 1990's.  

Notice there are no motorbikes. (We will see plenty later in the trip.) In '03 the government restricted motorcycles on the streets of Yangon. 

"There are a number of rumors about why motorcycles were banned in Yangon in 2003, as well as mumblings that change is on the horizon. One version about the ban is that a person on a motorbike made a threatening gesture to a military general; another is that a motorbike rider distributed pro-democracy leaflets, and the third is that a general’s son was killed while riding a motorbike." Myanmar Times

As it is, motorbikes are the most popular modes of transportation in Southeast Asia, and many are found in the suburban and outlying areas of the city. Although cars are very expensive, a city resident has to provide proof that they have a parking space before they are allowed to purchase one.

Buddhist monks and nuns are seen everywhere in Myanmar. I learned that it was not necessarily a life long commitment, and people could become a monk or nun for a limited period of time. 

These small girls streamed through the aisles of the market chanting and holding out their silver bowls to collect money. 
Nicki corrected me when I said they were "begging'.  The correct way to think of it is  asking for "donations". 

All monks seem to  carry a donation bowl wherever they go.

Perhaps Buddhist parents send the children to become temporary nuns or monks the way Christian parents send the kids to summer bible school.

That evening we had a delightful dinner at the hotel with one of Joko's fellow teachers.  It was nice to learn more about his life so  far from home.

We slept well., and were ready for more.

Next: #6 Naypyidaw


  1. This was like Two different cultures, the old and the new.
    Beautiful Colourful Pictures especially in the Market.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. That pumpkin ginger soup looks good. Love your photos and dialogue. You are so fortunate to have family introduce you to the cultures.


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