Monday, November 7, 2016

Myanmar - the Yangon and chuang thar beach

 As soon as Shellie got her visa in Vientenne, we booked our flights and a hostel for Bangkok enroute to Yangon in Myanmar, formerly know has Burnma. It won Its independence from Britain in the 40s and they renamed their country in the 80s. 

Shellie didn't know a thing about this place but she had time and was game. I've been planning to come here and knew the places to hit. Sadly she had a tighter schedule but we worked up a good plan. Amazingly it seems hotter here and right away u can feel how different this country is compared to Thai or Laos. 

People are darker, real slim and guys wear a wrap like a long skirt called a longyis. There's hardly any sidewalks and when there is one, it's mobbed with street food vendors. 90% Buddhist makes this ccountry and we have been trying to respectful covering knees and shoulders. 

Not much English is spoken here as tourism is still ne and English was discouraged after they won independence from Britain. In the early 80ss, visitors were restricted to stay only 7 days then they closed themselves off to the world for 20 years. 

We traveled by bus and only spot 5 white travelers a day. I think there's more Asian travelers, specifically Chinese. 

We spent a day in Yangon, visiting the drug ellimination museum, learning how opium from India crippled Myanmar and they recovery in the 70s. Then we had an unexpected and challenging task of finding a travel agent to book many buses. Electricity goes out frequently here throughout he country, even in the big city. Lucky for us it went out just after we sorted out our bus tickets and routes, which took 1.5 hrs to do!

First overnight bus experience for us to chuang thar beach. 7 hrs freezing in the air con and The road is so bumpy and winding, you can't even sit in your seat let alone sleep. 

Spent a lovely two sunny, hot days at the beach and in the warm Bay of Bengal. Ate local fresh fish for $6.  Hardly any tourists here compared to the nice more expensive beaches. Locals came up to us to stare, say hi, take a pix with us. We felt like celebratities. 

Locals swim with their clothes on so we felt very weird  and naked in our bikinis, but covered up a bit when we came out. Teenage boys would follow us in to the water to take a pix. At first we were a bit unsure what the heck was going on. 

Our last night we went out for a beach sunset and stumbled upon a rock concert for free. Iron Cross is their most popular band since the 80s. We were totally the only white chicks and the boys just loved us. They played some cover tunes we recognized and we sung it in English. What a crazy, fun night. 

The boys asked if we were ok. People smile. The stares feel awkward but they are innocent and we are pretty new for these peeps. I'm so happy I didn't come here alone though. Traveling here is a tad more difficult as they are trying to catch up with the times. 

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