Just a note: I am writing about many details of our trip because when I am finished, I want to have these posts printed as a keepsake book for myself. I have used some pictures from the WEB images because we were often to busy looking and seeing to take the picture to tell the story. I do not intend any copyright infringement.
It was very interesting to see areas of Yangon that were not in the city center. There were a lot of newer looking apartment buildings, but still many road side vendors selling all sorts of things.
It did seem that it was quite common for people to build shaky shacks made from what looks like recycled materials, wherever they could find a space.
|alamy stock photo cropped|
It wasn't long before we left the congestion of Yangon and turned onto Myanmar #1 - the Yangon-Mandalay Highway. It is a "straight as an arrow", two lane, toll road that doesn't allow motorbikes or bullock carts on the paved lanes. Instead, on the shoulders of the road there is a dirt path for their use. The land was mostly fallow fields (it being January) or uncultivated acreage. There were no small villages visible from the highway, but out in the fields, there were houses on stilts, much like what we saw at the National Races Village Park.
We did stop for a break about halfway to Naypyidaw to stretch our legs and have a mid-morning snack, of would you believe KFC fried chicken!
To my relief, "European" style toilets were available most of the places we went. I'm adding that bit of information for any older woman who is thinking about a similar trip. Having to use a squat toilet was my biggest reservation about going on the trip, and I only had to do so twice in 30 days.
Naypyidaw is a strange place. It was built by the military government as the new capital. It covers a large area, but seems to have a very low population. I guess the concept of "if you build it, they will come" did not quite work here.
Among the oddities is a twelve lane road that goes nowhere, and few cars use. We were able to park, and take the above picture of the only other car we could see on the road.
Actually it does go somewhere, to the Presidential Palace.
We drove up and stopped outside this deserted looking gate. Craig and Joko got out with their cameras, and two guards came out from the smaller gate. We thought they were going to let us in.
Craig was able to take this zoomed in image of the inner entry way gate before the guards told us to get back in our car and move along. Reflecting on the situation of the journalists that are presently in prison in the northern part of Myanmar, it probably wasn't a smart idea for us to pull up to the Presidential Palace in a big black SUV and waving around a very nice large camera and a video rig. On another day, we might have been taken into custody for questioning!
Giving up on getting into the palace, we went to lunch.
No, we did not fly there.
The "Cafe Flight" has a couple of airplanes decked out as a restaurant. Much like some of the older trains and cabooses we have in the USA. The planes were not open for lunch, so we ate in their indoor table area, which by the way was almost deserted.
From there we went to the other side of the city to see the Uppatasanti Pagoda.
Built between 2006 and 2009, it is so new that the base is still just gold paint, and only the very top is covered with gold.
Naypyidaw is in very flat country, so they built a high hill for the pagoda to sit atop.
The retaining walls of the man made hill were fronted with gold-painted stone work.
There are two ways to get to the top of the hill. Take the elevator and walkway, or climb the stairs.
We chose the elevator! The green-roofed buildings in this picture are the monastery for the monks that care for this pagoda. It in itself is quite a sight! I would have liked to have seen the inside and learn more about a monk's life, but that didn't happen.
The entry to the Stupa was beautiful.
The exquisite detail of the interior
And of course, in the park-like area below the pagoda there were many:
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