Fish sauce and Betel nut
Yangon's skyline is full of gold domes with spire tops. The country is 80 percent Buddhist and temples abound. We went out for a meal to a little "restaurant", I use the word loosely, called Mickey's. We were greeted at the door by a skinny young man in tight jeans, a bird's nest wild hairdo, and a big smile. It was his smile that was confronting. His mouth and teeth were red. He had obviously been chewing betel nut, and I am sure he was slightly affected by it. He had no English, and ordering was a challenge, especially in his slightly intoxicated state. Trying to find out if the food was gluten free was hopeless. I REALLY was asking The Lord to bless the food. Adding to those interesting details, was the smell. There was the enchanting mix of the aroma of fish sauce and the sewer. I dearly wanted a photo of our waiter, but couldn't bring myself to ask him. We have since found another place to eat.
The street is smelly with open drains, footpath lined with little food carts. People frying potatoes and lots of other strange things. Lots of beautiful papayas, bananas, pomolos, all of which we can eat. Also beautiful strawberries, grapes etc. that we would love to eat but we can't. For anyone who sews, this place has the most wonderful material shops. We also went to a huge market. Thousands of little shops with glorious materials you can buy then off to the tailor section to get made up into lovely Myanmar outfits with the tight wrap skirt and little fitted blouse. Jewellery, jade, gold, shirts, shoes, anything you can think of. I loved watching the tailor section. Three or four women in their tiny little cubicle, one measuring, one cutting, one sewing and ironing. Row upon row of them. The sense of community was wonderful to watch. Eating together, laughing and joking with their neighbouring tailors. I guess they aren't making much, but they seemed happy, and I think we could learn a lot from them about community.
Grahame has had meetings yesterday, and is at present in another one. We have a full schedule in the next few days of making connections and getting the right people to work together. We have to re-culturalise ourselves. People here are quite different to Nepal. More reserved. I have to be careful, because I am so used to hugging everyone, and I need to hold back.
I was sorry I didn't have my camera yesterday to try to get a photo of the markets and other things. Maybe I will get a chance before we go home. Our hotel is basic, but it is lovely and clean and the staff are lovely.