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  Yangon  |  02.06.08
 
 

I am still sick and so is Manuel. Every morning is a nightmare with the toilet and then we are ok for the rest of the day. I have no idea what bacteria is inside our stomachs but I wish it would go away quickly. We had a productive day today looking for things for the school. After a lucky seven breakfast we all split up and went our own way as we all had tasks to do. My first task was to go back to the house and use the loo...then when I was feeling better and I knew I could leave without embarrasing myself I set off to source some stationary for the school. Today is actually the first day back at school and so many shops are busy selling exercise books and pencils etc etc. The first shop I go to have books that cost 250 kyat each (thats about 25 us cents) I ask them for a discount and they offer a 5% discount so the cost for 80 books is 19,000 kyat. Pencils are 100 kyat each which sound cheap at 10 us cents but I knew I could get them cheaper. The shop doesn't have any crayons so I go a few doors down to see what they have. The first shop is ultra excited that they have such a big order and they are packing everything up in bags. I tell them to wait as I don't have any money on me and then I go next door. Straight away I can see that their pencils are so much cheaper. They come in a pack of 6 and cost only 42 kyat each instead of 100 kyat. They also have crayons and I manage to get them to bargain down to 400 kyat for a box of 12. Again I explain I don't have the money on me and then I leave to meet up with Lesh. We meet up at the internet café but the connection is so slow. I can't get my gmail up but I can log into gtalk. So I have a quick chat with my mum and Andrew before they leave for work...but it is just a really quick chat.

As we eat some lunch we discuss the pricings that we have found. Lesh has seen a fibre glass tank and a plastic tank but both are more expensive then he thought they would be. At over $200 usd each he thinks we should speak to Jyotish first before investing in case it is not exactly right. After eating we take a walk down some of the back alleyways of downtown Yangon and we stumble across some stationary wholesalers. We end up buying 84 exercise books and 84 pencils for $15 usd which is a bargain I think. I feel a bit embarrased going back to the first shops that I enquired about, especially when they have everything bagged up and ready to go. But I explain that we did find some things cheaper elsewhere and they nod in understanding but I can tell they are gutted. I still buy erasers from the first shop and the crayons from the second shop so nobody is left out and I shared the wealth amongst 4 shops.

It feels good to be doing something productive. When I go to the school I feel useless most of the time and it gets me down that I am so full of eagerness to help but there is not much that I can do. When we get back to the flat we find Manuel there and we sit round talking in the dark as there is a power cut. Manuel is feeling a bit paranoid that people are watching him and following him. Maybe it is just innocent people who are genuinely interested in where he stays and what is he doing but he is more worried about the implications for his Burmese friends and the school than for himself....I mean what's the worse they can do to us?....deport us...but for the local people who are seen to be in cahoots with foreigners the consequences can be terrible. We talk it over and come to the conclusion that it is probably just paranoia but we hate the way that a country can make you feel this way when you only have good and pure intentions.

Manuel only has 10 days left till his flight out and we leave 4 days after so we are all thinking that we will leave Yangon and go and do a bit of travelling in our last week. I personally really feel like I need to go out and see some more of Burma as to leave having just stayed here will leave me with a very skewed impression on what this country is about. I need to see something beautiful and I need to meet some of the people out of the city. To be honest Yangon has left me feeling depressed. I had such high expectations of coming to Burma and if the truth be known...it has not lived up to those expectations at all.

 

 

 

 
 
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