Wednesday, September 17, 2014
We were surprised when we were invited to wait in the lounge at the Yangon International Airport. Cheeze Whiz sandwiches on Wonder bread were on offer, crustless and triangular ready to be paired with Pringles you could shake straight out of the package - as much as you wanted. Funny how at midnight in an airport almost anything tastes good.
Posted by Helen Bauch McHargue at 10:46 PM
Lace curtain Irish they called my grandmum and 'da. House proud back two generations I hung the curtains first thing wherever I lived. It poured as I worked; the rain is good luck for the Irish. After these scalloped beauties were dangling on the rods, I stood back and admired the golden light shimmering through the fabric. One loop got missed and I climbed up on the marble sill to unstring that side and get it all in order.
Reaching up to unhook the rod, my heel hit a spot of grease where the Indian woman who lived here before me set her cooking oil bottle down one day months before. She'd been frying papadum when the phone rang and she set the oil aside. One greasy ring absorbed into the stone gradually fading to a dull sheen but still as slippery as glass.
My foot shot out from under me and down I went slamming against that marble, my head hitting it like a bowling ball, bouncing once or twice after the blow. I saw the beautiful swirls of light before my eyes for a few seconds like Vincent's starry night in all it's splendor. A bit of lace brushed across my face and I smelled a whiff of curry.
Posted by Helen Bauch McHargue at 7:06 AM
We met the gentleman pictured above in the ferry waiting room on the way to Dalat. He attended Georgia Tech in the 50's then returned to Burma to marry and live the rest of his life. He knew several people who were on the faculty teaching food science, but they were before my time. A charming man, he bought us a bag of hard cooked quail eggs for a treat and then rode around just ahead of us on our rickshaw tour.
You're never very far away from a watermelon salesman in Myanmar...there seems to be one on every corner.
Betel leaf salesman (above photo) sells a couple of wads for a dime. Betel leaf with lime, a flavored powder and a liquid, folded over a couple of times. Chewing is a pretty disgusting sight no matter where and when it's done. A couple of guys were hawking and spitting right next to us on the ferry. Takes the edge of your appetite.
Posted by Helen Bauch McHargue at 6:12 AM
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Lovely paintings by local artists line the walls at the Governor's Residence.
Unplanned, we went over to the mansion to see the grounds but not to eat. The dining room looked so lovely and the menu inviting. We decided to stay for a light dinner. Expensive for Yangon, the food was excellent and service impeccable.
Cigars are very popular in Mayanmar...we've taken to enjoying one after our dinners. Tonight will be the last as we return to no smoking land and our regular lives tomorrow. It's a long trip back: 5 1/2 hours from Yangon to Seoul. An 8 hour layover followed by 11 more hours on United to SFO. Finally the last hop to San Diego. What we endure to use up our frequent flyer mileage but should we complain about free business class tickets?
Posted by Helen Bauch McHargue at 2:03 AM
We boarded the train at the Insein (pronounced like "insane") Station near the airport in Yangon and rode for 45 minutes to the station nearest our hotel. The traffic is horrible in Yangon - almost grid lock and we were able to avoid too much sitting and waiting in the van by using the train. Sitting in traffic has become a fact of life in this city - it isn't a pretty picture. Most of the charm of the place has been eradicated by the never-ending horn honking and spewing exhaust fumes. Too bad.
The people we met on the train were delightful. Kids are always eager to meet and talk with us.Our fancy first class compartment had a fan on the ceiling and the car was painted yellow.
At the end of the train ride we rewarded ourselves with a Yangon donut. The seller cut the donut into little segments with scissors, then drizzled palm sugar syrup over them. We brushed the flies away and dug in...they were delicious.
Posted by Helen Bauch McHargue at 1:40 AM