I have been writing about my travels as a post script, never as a continuing journal or blog posts. So on this trip, I have resolved to not procrastinate and at least have short posts that perhaps later I can follow up with more reflections from my travel.
Guess where my backpack and I currently are? Myanmar – (and make that yet again! This is among the few countries that I haven’t lived in that I have visited twice.)
Yangon is a busy toddler, keen to learn how to walk and then to immediately begin running to catch up with its neighbours. Or that’s the impression this city leaves me with. In the little over a year since I was last year, the landscape of the city has changed quite a bit. Several bits of the road on the way from the Mingaladon airport (now called the Yangon International Airport) has been fenced in with boards that show the promises of urbanisation – shopping complexes, premium condominiums and apartment blocks and the works.
Unlike my last visit that was in February when the weather was mild tropical (pssst… there are only two seasons in this part of the world – summers, mild summers and monsoons- I have arrived to the views of a rain-washed Yangon. Monsoonal showers, overcast skies, that really heavy humdity which feels like it can choke you and strong gusts of cooling winds just when you are ready to give up hope.
I landed last afternoon, with a hot humid breeze hitting me hard as soon as I stepped out of the airport. I still had my heart singing in gratitude – I’d just left behind the singeing, unforgiving Delhi summer heat behind. The taxi drive to my hotel was an exercise at refamiliarising myself with the route. Some landmarks seemed familiar, but there was clear signs that Yangon had more businesses running, more foreigners flowing in to help the fledgling democracy catch up with the rest of the world.
Im staying in a different hotel this time, close to the Shwedagon Pagoda. A different township, from the one where I was last time. The smells are different, the view till the eye can see is of expansive parks and thick groves of trees – several that look like young teak trees. A trivia that I read somewhere comes back to me – the teak apparently is a distant cousin of the mint.. Imagine that lovely little fragrant leaf that zings up your lemonade and the giant teak that grows tall and large with leaves bigger than the size of your palm?
That ramble aside.. what’s the purpose of this post? Well, to make a promise to write about Myanmar more… and at least a few posts while I’m travelling through this place. I am going to try and eat local Burmese cuisine as much as possible during the time that I’m here. Ohhhh and for those who don’t know me, I’m a chicken eating vegetarian preferring non-foodie. (You can’t call yourself a foodie can you if your range of experimentation is severely restricted minus fish, seafood, and red meat? Also, food isn’t the first thing usually on my mind when I wake up 🙂 But I love to try out new flavours within my palate and if you like me are looking for alternates, well, my posts will certainly have some suggestions for you.
The plan is to zip through Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay. If there are places or restaurants you think I must try out, would be great if you can leave me your tips as comments. Since it is the monsoons, I’m giving Inle Lake a miss. Need to leave something for another visit, don’t we? This country has a way of tugging at your heart strings and calling you back ever so often!
*(PS: Errrrmmm.. that quote that you read up there.. that’s not Anon.. 🙂 I just made it up for you to know my state of mind and stamped it with an Anon so that someone somewhere makes it into a motto for Procrastinator’s Anonymous.)