Journey to the Unknown – Yangon

Continuing from our trip to Yangon, we spent the first half of the morning buying some supplies for the orphanages, such as rice. I thought we were just going to buy like 2-3 packets of those 10kg bags we normally see in the local supermarkets in KL that we can’t even finish in a month because we eat so little rice but I was in for a shock. What ELSE do poor people eat BUT rice???

We stopped by at the rice sundry shop and T1 was so fascinated that just beside the shop was a huge monsoon kind of drain that housed life ducks! Real ducks that we could actually touch as they were so close by. Needless to say she stood outside oggling those ducks like watching sex for the first time whilst the rest of us hurried in to investigate what a Myanmar sundry shop looked like and had. For starters, not much.

They stored oodles of rice out in the open in huge buckets as below. Aside from that, just some dried food supplies, some usual grocery stuff and definitely Thanaka, which is a yellow powder made from a certain type of tree bark or root that is trademark to the Myanmar people.

When we first arrived, we saw the women at the airport with it. I thought it was badly put foundation as they did not smoothen it out at all – patchy and uneven. But as we spread our geographical breadth, I realised every woman had it on their faces and even the men! They wear it to keep their skins cool!!!

See the boy’s face above? That’s Thanaka powder. Almost everyone from Myanmar have their faces like that. We tried convincing T1 to try it and even offered to buy some home for her to try but she was so resistant yet when we finally arrived in KL and she was feeling hot, she said she wished she had some Thanaka.

These were the bags of rice that we bought. I could NOT lift them. We only bought a few. I believe the men had trouble lifting them too. Ahem.

So after the shame of being unable to lift the bags of rice with one hand, our friend in Myanmar, a very tall Swiss guy, decided to show off his manhood by replicating one of the Myanmar men hanging out of our truck. T1 wanted to try it too – over my dead body.

We were loving our ride to the orphanages…….

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  1. I see Yangon has not changed much since I was last there in 1994. It reminded me of KL in the 60s and 70s then, no credit card, no international direct dial calls. I was there for work, Dumex had just started exporting to Yangon and I was there to help them set up the distribution channel. Interesting place, esp the temple but sad that it’s still under developed and ignored by most of the Western world.

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