Rangoon People & Place
Burma, when I think of Burma it is in its historical context and its recent and long closure to the outside world.
Burma colonised by the British in 1886 was only fully freed in 1948 from both Japanese and British occupation and rule. What should have presented a golden opportunity under the leadership of Aung Sang quickly turned to a period of chaos and uncertainty with his assassination, followed by ten years of unsteady rule, culminating in military takeover over and dictatorship which lasts even to this present day. Slowly this situation is changing with the release from house arrest of the figurehead for democracy and freedom from military dictatorship and oppression, Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
Rangoon formerly the capital of Burma is today a melting pot of peoples and cultures, all joined together in this chaotic, colorful, busy city, and seemingly living peacefully side by side. It is also a city of great neglect and poverty. It has the look of a crumbling worn out place that is slowly falling to the ground. That’s still part of it charm for the visitor but chain for the indigenous population. It is fast opening up to visitors and overseas investment is starting to flow into the city and the country. Perhaps in time these pictures will form a small part of a record of a city and people on the cusp of change. Unusually many looked straight into the cameras lenses with a mixture of question but also curiosity. For a country closed to the outside world the sudden influx of visitors must surely seem strange. How long I wonder before it feels like an intrusion.
A busy street Rangoon with the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda visible in the background.
Homemade pickup truck, necessity really is the mother of all invention, Rangoon 2015
Public buses are the main mode of transport for most in Rangoon, although the streets are still heavily congested with a mix of taxis, cars, trucks and buses. Oddly motorbikes are banned by military decree. There are a number of stories about why motorcycles were banned in Yangon in 2003. One version about the ban is that a person on a motorbike made a threatening gesture to a military general; another is that a motorbike rider distributed pro-democracy leaflets, and the third, and the one I was told by a local, is that a general’s son was killed while riding a motorbike. My own personal view, having visited many Asian cities where bikes are an all to common and overwhelming feature it is no bad thing.
Article extract below From the Myanmar Times
U Myo Lwin, deputy director of the Road and Bridges Department of Yangon City Development Committee told The Myanmar Times that the rule will continue indefinitely, while an officer from Yangon traffic police department, who did wish to provide his name, said motorcyclists were involved in many accidents and criminal activity before the ban was introduced in municipal Yangon.
The Flower Seller Rangoon
3 Young Buddhist Monks take a break from collecting alms Rangoon Burma 2015
Female Buddhist monk with begging bowl doing the rounds Rangoon street Burma 2015
Street markets are a feature of daily life in Rangoon. The market tends to be at their busiest in the morning before the full force of the sun and heat hits.
The coconut seller Rangoon
The streets of Rangoon are a a melting pot of cultures colors and activity
A beautiful arrangement of Aubergine and chilies laid out on woven baskets street scene Rangoon Burma 2015
Typical of every street corner in Rangoon an outdoor restaurant. All the seats in these outdoor eateries tend to be very brightly coloured plastic adding to the overall vibrancy.
Freshly dyed bright orange reams of yarn left to dry in the sun market street Rangoon
A display of dried fish wrapped in plastic for protection and ready for sale
Dried fish seller Rangoon
The juxtaposition a cockerel standing proud on a stack of pallets whilst in the background a man in his storeroom watches TV.
The Durian seller. No visitor to Burma can have missed the overpowering aroma of Durian as you wander the streets.
Bowls of marinated cooked crab. I am not sure what was in the marinade but it looks very very good!
A common sight on the streets of Rangoon and a main mode of transport for women returning from shopping at the market The Trishaw.
Weighing up the days takings.
No visit to Rangoon would be complete without a visit to Theingyi market located on Shwedagon Paya Rd. The market is divided into sections ranging from spice sellers, to the meat market, fish market, clothes and fabrics, this market has it all. There are also a range of sellers with stalls along the outer areas of the market. A fascinating place full of beguiling sights, sounds and smells. This is a place to witness Rangoon at it bustling and at times chaotic best, populated as it is by locals going about their business and virtually tourist free, we are of as much interest to the locals as they were to us.
The Chili seller offering all types of red chili from powdered to dry of varying degrees of heat
Inside Theingyi market
The Crumbling Facade
The remnants of colonial Rangoon’s past, many of the buildings from this time are in poor condition, although this is slowly changing as foreign investment begins to flow into Rangoon historical buildings, once neglected, are now coming back into vogue with many thankfully now being restored.
We traveled from Bangkok to Rangoon (Yangon) direct with Air Asia
I will be recommend for food in Rangoon. It doesn’t have a website but is located on main road. Look it up on trip advisor for directions. It run by a wonderfully warm Burmese man who lived and trained in Tokyo for 8 years before returning to Rangoon to open his restaurant. I returned many times on my multiple visits to Rangoon and was never disappointed.Its also ridiculously cheap!!
702 Mahabandoola Street | Latha, Yangon (Rangoon),Myanmar
Further reading on Burma & associated Articles
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