Random Travel Facts from Burma (Myanmar)

Thanaka on most of the ladies’ faces – apparently it cools the face, serves as sunblock and also moisturizes the face, not to mention beautify it as well

Only men hang out at the tea houses, at all time of the day, idling away the time, chit-chatting, eating and drinking tea and just relax. No ladies there mostly, making us two girls felt out of place but hey we are foreign looking in fort place anyway, so we are the exceptions.

Most men chew the betel nut, spitting sediments out now and then, and continue chewing while baring red stained teeth when they grin. Obviously kissing is not a culture here.

Everyone wears longyi (a sarong or cloth sewn at both ends and wrapped around the waist, men and women tie it differently) to whether at home, go out, school and even formal events. Somehow the guys wear it with style here making them still look macho while the women make it look femininely beautiful. All the same type of cloth, just tied differently.

Everyone smiles back, no matter young or old, when you smile at them they will reciprocate. Generally amiable people and some are really helpful.

Feels really safe here, one of the safest country I’ve traveled in. There is no feeling of threat or whatsoever and though I didn’t, but you can actually just leave your things lying around and you’ll find it still there after. You don’t even need to lock your bicycles when you leave it and your slippers will surely be there waiting for you after your long temple visit.

Food after a while got monotonous, it’s always similar spice in some sort of curries with rice. There is this distinct smell or taste we found in their local food, which we later found out in the market is some kind of pickled white slices of thing (identified through smell) but didn’t get to ask what is it due to communication barrier.

Not everyone speaks English, but one may find some with smattering is English that can help with lots of gestures included. The older ones here might even know English better, like the old monk we met and have decent conversation with, cause he had attended missionary schools when the British was here.

People are generally more soft spoken, you will find that even the market is subdue. Lots of chattering but nothing noisy or above normal level. People generally do not shout or holler, they just speak softly to one another.

Bus are generally clean, also due to people who have more sense to take care of it, and they make sure you’re alright and in place every time, but the timings are horrible. The travel time is always not as stated and found ourselves had to get off at 2am or 4am in a new place disoriented and chilling to the bones.

Train, old and creaking along bumping through the plains provide slow yet beautiful views. But sadly my experience wasn’t a good one having a train accident somewhere that got ours stopped and delayed for more than 7 hours, where we eventually gave up and left, so the fate of it unknown to us.

Traveling here you almost cannot totally avoid contributing to the government, a lot of sites you had to pay the fee to and they also own the train.

Everyone seem happy mostly despite of whatever conditions they are in. Women can be shy while the kids are loud and boisterous, the men friendly.

You will tend to bump into the same travelers, be it when in one place because there aren’t many choices especially when it comes to food and accommodations, and also in different places because there are also quite a define route in permitted places in Burma. Also almost all travelers are using lonely planets, so yes hello to fellow LPs in everywhere you go.

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