I woke up to my first power failure in Myanmar today. Thankfully, my guesthouse actually has its own generator, so it was about 30s before power came back on.
I didn’t have much planned for today, but did plan to see the main attraction in Yangon – the Shwedagon Pagoda. This did not happen before lunch, of course. Being the boring person that I am, I ended up at monsoon again, and had a tasty chicken curry. I do highly recommend this place.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is in a fairly central location in Yangon, and no matter where you drive, you can almost always catch glimpses of it when you drive around Yangon. When I got there, it was certainly spectacular. At first sight, it reminds me of the Pha That Luang of Vientiane, in terms of its huge golden stupas. It is definitely different, while the Pha That Luang appears to be made of solid gold, Shwedagon is a very active site of worship. There were many people who were there, praying in front of their favourite religious statuary at Schwedagon, and there was no lack of options. There are several fortune-tellers going around there, offering to tell your fortune for a little fee. I didn’t bite, but I did learn from one of them that to Burmese, the day of the week you’re born is generally more important than the date itself, if you are trying to tell your fortune. I did go check out the deity associated with the day I was born!
I did not actually have anything planned after the pagoda visit, so I just took out the free tourist map, and decided to hunt for one of those cafes which sponsored the map. (I do sometimes wonder how often have I been channeled by these forms of advertising) The closest place is a Black Canyon coffee, so I went in, got a coffee, and started to work. This is the second Black Canyon I’ve been to – went to one in Bali with M one year ago. It was a good decision, as the afternoon shower occurred again. On another side note – I met my first Singaporeans. They were sitting at the table next to me.
Kids praying at the Shwedagon Pagoda