1. Travel

Burma (Day 12)

Last full day in Burma! I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. It’s crazy how much we’ve seen in the last two weeks here.

We spent the morning visiting my dad’s childhood house in Yangon. It was similar to my mom’s childhood house in the sense that it’s a small house for a lot of people.

One note about people in Burma: people are generally really open and trusting. When my dad and Auntie Linda wanted to go visit and look inside their old home, even though they don’t know the people who live there anymore, the rest of us kind of laughed it off. If someone knocked on my door today, and said “hey I used to live here 40 years ago, can I come in and look around” I’d close the door on them and probably call 911. Not in Burma!!! We were let in by an elderly woman and her daughter, and we got to look inside. (I felt bad about taking pictures inside because I felt uncomfortable pulling out my camera/phone in the middle of a rando’s house.)

The street that my dad's childhood house is on
The street that my dad’s childhood house is on
People eating breakfast and drinking their morning tea/coffee on the sidewalk
People eating breakfast and drinking their morning tea/coffee on the sidewalk

We don’t have much planned for the rest of the day. We’re going to get massages (WOOO) and pack. Our relatives gave us an entire luggage full of dried food to take back to America. Plus all our souvenirs. It looks like we’re going to need to buy another luggage today…

One more definite stop though. The cafe where we had snacks yesterday was so good, we had to come back again. I’ve reached nirvana.

Avocado smoothie, Domino, durian ice cream, and falooda
Avocado smoothie, Domino, durian ice cream, and falooda
Look how happy we are about our dessert!
Look how happy we are about our dessert!

Since it’s our last full day here, I thought I’d do a bit of reflection on this trip. This has definitely been the most cultural thing I’ve experienced in a while. It’s also the most humbling experience I’ve had, probably in my entire life. Burma is so different from anywhere I’ve ever been before, in so many ways. Going from suburban Los Angeles to the middle of a third world country has made me realize how much I take for granted, and has taught me to appreciate the little things a little bit more – having a loving and supportive family, never having to think about what my next meal will be, and never having to worry about where my next dollar will come from.

All in all, I had an awesome time on this trip. I’d love to come back again someday, though not for at least 3-5 years.

My favorite parts: Shwedagon Pagoda (at night), Bagan, and Inle. And of course, the food!!!

Shwedagon
Shwedagon
Main pagoda of Shwedagon - under construction
Main pagoda of Shwedagon – under construction
No filter on this sunrise pic from Bagan. How can you beat watching the sunrise over a sea of pagodas from the top of a pagoda?
No filter on this sunrise pic from Bagan. How can you beat watching the sunrise over a sea of pagodas from the top of a pagoda?
How is this real.
How is this real.
Boating through Inle
Boating through Inle
Best sunset of this trip
Best sunset of this trip
FALOOOOODA
FALOOOOODA

My least favorite parts: having to put on mosquito repellent every few hours (worth it though because I got 0 mosquito bites! HAH!), going to the bathroom in not-toilets (though my thighs are probably a lot stronger now from all the squatting), and the walk up to Kyaiktiyo on the wet, dirty floors.

I’ve gotten to brush up on my Burmese speaking and Burmese singing (lol, hours and hours and hours of karaoke in the van), and I’ve gotten to put my Burmese reading to good use! I’ve learned a lot of things about Burma, including but not limited to: 1) having a little bit of money will get you very far; 2) people love foreigners, and are shameless about taking pictures of them; 3) people in Burma look younger than I do, which is really saying something; 4) people really really really appreciate and make the most of what they have; 5) no one really cares about material possessions; 6) a lot of people put their money into pagodas via donations… the pagodas are all beautiful.

There are so many beautiful parts to Burma, in addition to the rundown buildings and the bustling cities. Ending my series of blog posts with a couple of pictures that I think represent Burma and everything we saw on this trip.

Typical street in downtown Yangon
Typical street in downtown Yangon
There's a reason Shwedagon is the most famous pagoda out there. This one little shrine is revered by 1/8 of Burma's population!
There’s a reason Shwedagon is the most famous pagoda out there. This one little shrine is revered by 1/8 of Burma’s population!
#blessed
#blessed
Kyaiktiyo!
Kyaiktiyo!
There IS green in Burma!
There IS green in Burma!
Most memorable family vacation to date. Happy happy happy 2015 from the Chin family!!!
Most memorable family vacation to date. Happy happy happy 2015 from the Chin family!!!
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