The political and economical situation in Myanmar influenced our journey in several ways:
Religion: Burmese are very religious. 10 to 20% of their incomes supposedly goes to the temples, pagodas and monks. It seems like they’re constructing pagodas every 10 meters, every time trying to be bigger than the next one (as you can see in our post from Bagan) and most of the religious places have to be covered in gold.
One of the impressive number of golden Pagodas
People counting money from donations, overlooked by a soldier
Tourism: The tourism is for the government an excellent and easy source of income. They make tourists pay for city passes, forbid them to use the local hotels and transports and make them pay the European price for it. It still is a cheap country, but on average we spent way more every day than in Thailand (way more developed than Myanmar). The most annoying thing being that and pretty much all of that money goes into the government’s pocket and not to the people nor the development of the country. And prices double every 6 months!
Ninja-rats from Myanmar
Economy: To give you a quick overview of the country’s economy: the country was on an American embargo from 1997 to 2011. The tourism was not what it is now and the economy stagnant (compared to the neighborhood and its 10% increase every year). Even worse, no Coca-Cola before 2011 (nobody knows how they survived without it)!
Burmese are really nice, but since you’re using the US dollar to pay everything, prices tend to double depending on the store/driver/guide: it’s bargaining time!
Correction from precedent post: it’s a monk teaching kids how to bargain ^^
Funny things that happenned in Myanmar:
– Climbing ruins and forgetting where we started and how to go down while it was getting dark.
– Stopping at least 5 cabs for a 1km course, everyone of them asking for way to much. When trying to negociate, they would drive away without saying a word!
– The malediction of the lost bottle: started in Myanmar and is still on! Arthur and I tend to forget our water bottles everywhere (restaurant, buses, pagodas…). I think we forgot at least 10 bottles just in Myanmar…
– Being 3 on a motorcycle in the middle of the city, wild experience! Motorbiking in Myanmar is also very disorienting, since nothing is indicated and pedestrians wave some random direction when asked…
– The monks and the technology: looks like the money from the donations serves different purposes. Actually the monk are the only burmese we’ve seen having cameras/smartphones/tablets!
Arthur and one of his fan
We had to take off our shoes in every religious place. It didn’t help with keeping clean feet
We tried to buy this gong, but didn’t fit in our luggages