Friday, November 28, 2008

Tales in Yangon

(I post this especially for you, Iman!)

Well, it has been a week since I got back from Yangon, visiting Carigali for the Risk Assessment. Here we go, some pics that I have taken and some stories to tell while I was there. More pics in Facebook, definitely.

This is how Yangon city looks like from my room. Simple township I would say. No skyscraper.

I stayed in Traders, which was really near to the market where I did most of my shopping. You can get halal food here, and there are Malaysian chefs working here. Even nasi lemak is served! So I didn't really feel that longing for Malaysian food, hehe. The staff were really accomodating. But if you happen to have a trip to Myanmar and sleep in hotels, be ready with huge notes of USD since they only accept that currency for payment.

I just took this photo to appreciate the Burmese efforts to advertise their products on billboards, haha. You will see most of the billboards in Yangon to be advertising local-produced food. Apart from being a nation of closed-door policy, which does not really welcome imported goods, I sincerely think this is a good effort to cultivate the entrepreneurship within the local community.

Two significant things you can see in this picture. Firstly, the pagoda. Though there are so many pagodas around Yangon, but I think each pagoda has its uniqueness, which I can't tell cuz I don't really know what it is. Secondly, the cars. No new BMWs nor Mercs, very few cars of the 90s even. Why? Because those cars are too damn expensive in Myanmar! You will mainly see cars of the early 80s like Toyota Corolla or Datsun Sunny crowding the streets of Yangon. Even though they are old cars, but each can cost you up to USD$15k ok! Seriously car prices here are bloodsucking. House prices too, are the same. An old apartment (as in the upper levels of shophouses) can easily cost you USD$100k. Info obtained from local Carigali driver.

Well well well. This is a view of a cloth outlet inside the Pojok Market. Some call it the Scot Market. I'm not so sure how to spell it correctly. Here you can buy lotsa things. Precious stones like jade and ruby, various types of Vietnamese-like cloths, t-shirts, ornaments, kain pelikat (or longyi - as in 'long-ji'- as they call it here) and other souvenirs locally made. But one thing for sure, you can't show that you have lotsa money to shop here, or else the beggars will be crowding you. And they even accept RM notes for that matter.

This amoi was so happy that I bought a few pieces of cloth from her shop. Believe me, after I bought one cloth, she still held my hand tightly asking me to buy some more. I was sweating, thinking of how to let loose from her, haha, as I didn't want to spend my money entirely on buying cloth only. So, I came with the idea to take a pic as to end the bargain, and I moved on to other shops.

A photo with the helpful Carigali receptionist. I must say the staffs here, including the Malaysians, were very hospitable. It felt like home going to the office, and the receptionist was really helpful in helping us to change our currency notes from USD to kyats. USD$1 = 1250 kyats, if you're fortunate to get that rate.

Here I was, standing in front of Carigali bungalow. It looked a little bit aged, but the interior is superb, especially the wooden carvings along the staircase. Oh, yeah, the toilets are clean too. In fact, too clean that even KLCC and Dayabumi is not a comparison. How cool is that!

The only place besides the Pojok Market that we visited: the Yangon Zoo. Here I was pictured with Tin Zaw Myint, Carigali offshore technician who was so kind to bring Alina and I around the town. Notice him wearing the longyi to the zoo. In fact, this kind of attire is called the executive/ formal attire in Myanmar. And some of the longyi sold here are made of silk, to add to the aesthetics. The awesome thing about Burmese guys wearing longyi is that, no matter how they run or walk or sit, the longyi seem to be firmly tied without the men having to tie over and over again. Unlike Malaysian guys who wear kalin pelikat eh, haha.

Last night in Yangon, Carigali Myanmar was really kind to organize a farewell dinner at MiCasa Hotel. There were like 5 teams from Carigali KL, PMO, SBO, SKO and GTS KL visiting Yangon that week, and it was really good to have them around.

After the dinner. Alina was trying to take my photo when these kids suddenly came out of nowhere to take a pic with me. Pity them, they were still begging at this time of night (about 9.30 pm local time, 11.00 pm Malaysia time) Since kyats is so much smaller compared to USD, giving donation here is not an issue for us (berlagak orang kaya la kunun..)

I was about to leave the airport. This is the newly-built Yangon International Airport. From what I was informed, it was built by the Singapore contractors, in which you can tell the taste by looking at the design. It is a pretty airport, but not as big as KLIA. Things here are only sold in USD. I didn't manage to finish my kyat notes. Perhaps I will be back in Yangon to finish all those notes, haha. Guess who did I meet at the airport? The Malaysian football team who lost to Myanmar 4-1 the previous night. Seeing me a Malaysian, they said hello. Thank God I didn't slip my tongue and claim "Eh, you guys lost the game kan?" haha. Tak2, I'm not that bad.


desh said...

Ira, cool experience,
Neway... How do you speak to the locals? I mean, the not-so-good-in-English ones. Hehe.

And about the toilets. How was it compared to UTP Hall? The best toilet of Malaysia's IPT I ever entered.

Mustafa Bahrudin said...

"dah biasa kalah"
aku tolong jawabkan :p

A. Afiq A. Malik said...


Oh boy oh boy oh.

It is such a nice place. I miss Yangon. Yeah, the food. But I do think that Bangkok's night life is slightly better.

Let's hear the music, and dance.

Zsa Zsa said...

woh woh woh...bes2..yeke clean? perr cm panas x kat sana ek? wahh nape ko x amekkn busines cards (if they hv any:P) utk aku...bole wat deal jual kain lak pasni