Finding Burma | Two Travelers' Encounters in this East Asian Country
4 months through East Asia and we had finally made it. With our crisp, brand-new American dollars, and smiles that spread up our entire faces, we arrived to the capital city of Yangon in Burma. The British colonialism was evident in the architecture of the buildings, although dust seemed to collect in the corners making the details a bit hazy. Across from our hotel was a closet-sized store selling bananas that poured out onto the streets, some still attached to their comic-like branches. Children kicked a ball around as stray dogs barked, running through their feet. A small cart squeaked down the street with a woman stopping every now and then to mix betel nut quid. Men sat at a tea shop chatting, their longyis in different colors and patterns wrapped around their waists, their pressed button-downs tucked inside. The sounds from the Pagoda slowly played in the background as traffic honked and rattled its way down chaotic dirt roads.
We made our way from Yangon, to Bagan, and on to Inle Lake, two weeks flying by in this incredible country. We had encountered magical landscapes, hiked through hidden valleys, got lost through hundreds of Pagodas, and floated high in a balloon over an ancient city. But what we will remember for years to come is the people of Burma who were some of the friendliest people we met on our travels. One day as we walked the crowded streets, with swarms of people coming from a local farmer’s market, a man stopped us and asked, “Hello! How are you? Where are you visiting from?”
We cautiously replied where we had started our journey.
To our surprise he responded, “I just wanted to stop and speak with foreigners who are visiting my country, not only to practice my English, but to find out about the world.”
We didn’t realize it then, but 30 minutes went by as we genuinely and happily had a conversation with a stranger.
And that, we found, is what Burma is all about.