THE SUNNY-SIDE-UP SIDE OF YANGON

Tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk served with fried bread is a common site in most teashops in Myanmar.

I’m usually running too late to walk to work most days, but on mornings I have enough time, it’s fun to experience the sunny-side-up side of Yangon.

Cans of sweetened condensed milk in a teashop in Yangon, Myanmar.
Cans of sweetened condensed milk in a teashop in Yangon, Myanmar.
Warm rays of sunlight reflect beautifully through a dusty haze. A woman sells small plates of corn to feed pigeons waiting on a power line above her. Groups of monks in burgundy robes seem just as curious about me as I am about them. Locals wearing worn out flip-flops are drawn to my dress shoes.

My twenty-minute trek to school is full of life. I see and experience a week’s worth of details every step of the way. It’s almost too much to take in, but I’m slowly getting better at soaking up vibrant aspects of Myanmar’s culture.

Plastic stools at a roadside restaurant in Myanmar.
Tiny plastic stools at a roadside restaurant in Myanmar. March, 2014.

I pass through teashops along sidewalks, weaving around tiny plastic tables and chairs filled with early risers having breakfast. Tea mixed with sweetened condensed milk, and served with fried bread is a common sight in most teashops in Myanmar.

Sometimes I see one of my students in one of these restaurants, or waiting at a bus stop. It’s fun to make small talk, or tell them to get to class on time.

I try to look at people as they walk by. Some will smile back. Others quickly turn away. The comfort of darkness makes it much easier to interact. Daylight feels vulnerable. I’m able to make more eye contact at night.

Crossing the main road can be daunting. I’ve learned to do what locals do. Make it to the centerline first. There’s no median, so you literally have to stand in the middle of the street as traffic rushes by on both sides. Buses overflowing with people brush against me. And it’s fun to wave at passengers in taxis and cars while waiting for a break in the traffic to finish getting across.

Although I’m usually a sweaty mess by the time I make it to school, experiencing the sunny-side-up side of Yangon by walking to work is worth it. I save money and get some exercise as well.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Joy! I was trying to be creative by calling the upside of Yangon sunny-side-up. I think I failed.

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  2. Great shots, great company. :) Glad things worked out to have a mini adventure Sunday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad they did as well, "Gloria". Also, come back to Myanmar. Please!

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