Lessons in Myanmar #1

Things I have learnt in my first week in Yangon:

  1. Smiling is a thing here – smile and the world smiles with you
  2. Good manners are also a thing here – people are so polite I some times feel like an elephant lumbering through life
  3. Faded splendor is the architectural norm
  4. The language is tonal, and is all delivered through the inclusion of . or : or ‘ when written
  5. Mingahlaba = hello
  6. jay zu ding ba de = thank you
  7. Your post can be delivered by string and bulldog clip
  8. 1000 chat = $1 = 60p = everything is cheap!
  9. Half a crispy duck is served as just that, a duck cleaved in half from beak to bum
  10. Eating fruit is easy here, it’s everywhere and it’s fresh and seasonal
  11. I like real Asian food more than European food
  12. When it rains, it REALLY rains, but it’s warm so that’s ok
  13. Take an umbrella everywhere
  14. Humidity really does make my hair curl!
  15. Washing my clothes on fuzzy is ok!
  16. Everything (and anything) can happen tomorrow
  17. The mosquitoes can be vicious here
  18. The hangovers here are the same as hangovers at home: they hurt!
  19. Watch out for holes, sewerage, traffic and betel juice when you’re walking
  20. When crossing busy roads in heavy traffic, follow a monk; the cars avoid them
  21. Sniffing, clearing your throat loudly and spitting in the street are all totally acceptable activities
  22. Street hawkers have a strangely haunting cry to sell their wares, monks just shout (loudly at 6am while banging drums)
  23. Lotto tickets are always sold accompanied by loud music and flashing lights, even outside temples
  24. Buddha can also have disco lights

The lifestyle and culture here is gentle and unassuming. Culture shock is generally more of a small surprise; it washes over you and you’re left laughing at how silly you are to think it could have been any other way.

I think I like it here.


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