There was a lot to take in while traveling through the cities and county sides of Burma. One thing I noticed was how clean and free from litter the rural areas and villages were and how unlike India it was in that respect. Even in the cities, litter was at a minimum.
In the cities, vendors were on the streets and sidewalks everywhere selling produce, cooked food, paper supplies, clothing, betel nuts, and in the touristy places, of course, there were the souvenir vendors.
This is a area in Rangoon where lawyers conduct business with their clients. Real estate deals are transacted under these umbrellas and because the purchase of property is carried out on a cash basis (no credit or mortgages) buyers bring sacks of money with them. The exchange rate for one US dollar is 1300 kyats. So to buy something that costs the equivalent of $40,000 means 52,000,000 in kyats. We saw men counting out huge stacks of money at these tables.
The fellow behind the green device is squeezing juice from sugar cane. The fellow on the right is selling birds with the idea that if you release them, it brings you good luck. That is, if the birds can fly after being cooped up in cages for who knows how long!
This woman is selling eels.
The traffic is so congested with cars in Rangoon that motorcycles are prohibited. But elsewhere are motorcycles are plentiful. Helmets are not required, but I noticed that 50% of the riders wore them.
This is Rangoon at mid-day when the traffic was light.
This is Mandalay.
Street traffic consists of cars, auto taxis, buses, motorcycles, bikes, trucks, vans, and pickup truck taxis like the one below.
We rode up Mandalay Hill in a truck taxi and because of my sore knee, I got to ride with the driver. (Although driving is on the right, steering wheels in vehicles are on the right also which is a carry over from when they were ruled by the Brits.)
And although only a small fraction of the population is Christian, there were Christmas decorations and lights on buildings in the cities and in most every hotel we visited. We also heard Christmas songs being broadcast in hotel lobbies. Below are two of many trees we encountered – the left in the Mandalay airport and the other in our hotel in Rangoon.
We drove through fertile countryside between Kalaw and Lake Inle where the soil was rich in iron. The area produces a wide variety of vegetables by farmers who live in nearby villages and who sell wholesale.
Here our truck taxi’s bed and engine where exposed. Loud vehicle!
Traditional dress, the longyi, is worn throughout Burma, however, I did observe more Western style dress in the big cities.
The longyi is piece of fabric with a seam that makes it into a wide tube. The fabric is folded over in the front and men attach it with a big knot in front while women tuck the fabric into their waistlines.
To see a video of how men tie their longyi, click here.