Myanmar or Burma

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It seems a lot of people still use the colonial names of Burma, Rangoon etc. That said change today in Myanmar is moving at a fast pace. It’s a fascinating place to be and I’m glad I’m here now, at this stage. The way of life today is bizarre, at one point you see the basics of an ox and cart, on the other side of the street you see a youngster on a smart phone which are appearing at a startling rate.

I decided to start at Mandalay, from there I would be able to work my way down to the south, Probably at Yangon, where I could dip back into Thailand, maybe for a few days on the beach!
So I took a flight to Mandalay on Bangkok airways which was very good. As I arrived Sim cards were available at the airport so I picked one up for the mobile. I then changed a load of Us dollars to Local currency as I was told ATM’s can some times be thin on the ground.
So far that hasn’t been the case, but I think this is an example of the fast rate of change Myanmar is going through, the country is quickly opening up. I was also advised that you couldn’t have any creased US dollars. Sure enough a lot of mine were not accepted and they were in pretty good nick too!!

So money and phone sorted I took a taxi through the dusty dry streets to Mandalay. On the journey there the view opened up revealing many, many Pagodas their gold steeples glistening in the strong sunlight .
I arrived to a very warm welcome at the hotel, told I’d been upgraded, hurrah! and proceeded to settle in. Later I headed out, it was after four so didn’t want to go too far before it gets dark. So I walked round the outskirts of the palace walls. I was struck but the dust, it’s so hot and dry here, close to 40 c, everything is bone dry, although some beautiful flowers and trees seem to make their way through and display their strongest coloured flowers. The dress is also different, here the Longyi appears, what we would call a sarong is worn by most, some of the youngsters wear Jeans but predominantly it is the Longyi.
And very elegant it is too, but requires a lot of readjusting and re robing. I caught the sunset over the Palace walls and then head back to the hotel. Myanmar I thought is going to be an interesting place and I was right.

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