Felt like I was back in the past.
Yet it feels so safe and peaceful despite crazy traffic in Yangon; bug in my rice; long walks to temple stairways in Mandalay; Biking in the dark at 9pm in Bagan; Biking under 40 degree weather also in Bagan; Hell bus ride from Bagan to Kalaw. Still alive after 10 hours traveling alone from Inle to Yangon. Turbulence in the plane due to typhoon.
Nevertheless, it is still heaven on earth. I will miss Kalaw’s 15 degree cold weather; Hundreds.. no.. thousands of stupas and temples; Barter trade of cologne(and other cosmetics) to a tanaka make over in the boat along the Irrawady river; Cozy 11 dollar hotels with free breakfasts; and most of all, finding my long lost Burmese friend Emily whom I havent met for 5 years.
Despite poverty in terms of money, lack of electricity, government junta and other unfortunate events happening.. people there strive to be happy.. richness indeed takes on another meaning again in this country.
ps. if you want to travel inside the country, please travel responsibly and make sure your tourist money is going directly to the grassroots who badly needs it most. sample phrases:
mingalaba- standard greeting
da be lau leh- how much
aenda be mah leh- where is toilet
1 dollar = 700-750 kyat (depending on where you exchange your dollars)
cost of taxi around yangon: 2000 kyat
cost of a pair of blouse and longji: 9000 kyat
cost of tshirt: 2000 kyat
meals range from 800(regular meals) to 3000(posh meals) kyat
midrange hotel costs: 11-14 dollars which includes free breakfasts