As we said goodbye to our lovely resort hotel in Hpa An, we faced another very long day in the van. It's a 6 hour drive without any stops, but of course JoJo had planned stops for us. It worked out well because it gave us the chance to get out and stretch our legs.
Our first stop was at another cave Pagoda set in an area with hot springs. And monkeys. Having seen three caves already, I wasn't up for climbing the steep stairs to reach this cave so we wandered about below for a little bit. We also fed the very polite and docile monkeys. They'll take seeds and bread balls from your hand. Pretty cool.
Around mid day, we stopped for lunch at a mediocre road stop place. The only good thing was the beer. Haha! You can't go wrong with cold bottled beer. And it's cheap. Like $1.25 for a big bottle.
Just outside of Yangon is a beautiful cemetery dedicated to the British and Indian lives lost in the fighting during World War 2. As with all cemeteries, it's a somber place but the fact that Myanmar has cared for this place with such reverence for 60+ years speaks volumes about the people here.
We hit massive traffic inside Yangon. I wanted to scream. Gawd. So much time is wasted sitting in traffic. It's really something that drives me bonkers. But it's the way of life here in Yangon.
We arrived at our hotel, a boutique hotel with just 18 rooms, called The Savoy. It's been here awhile and used to be the headquarters of a military general.
JoJo picked us up promptly at 8:00 the next morning. We visited another street market filled with vegetables, meats and fish. And little singing nuns. They spend the day combing the markets in town asking for money and food for their meals. Every shopkeeper ha da stuff over no questions asked. Taking the negative side here, I think it's quite a racket. Their bowls were overflowing with cash. But, nuns and monks are revered here and to give money and food to them is to receive merit. And that's the Buddhist way.
We also walked along the colonial era buildings that were built when the British occupied this country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some really nice buildings.
We also made sure to visit the one and only small synagogue. There's a very small community of Jews in Yangon - about two dozen. But the Synagogue is well maintained and it was nice to visit it.
We also paid a visit to one of a dozen or so Roman Catholic Churches - St. Mary's. It's the largest one and very pretty inside.
No day in Yangon would be complete without a visit to the Scott Market, a great bazaar-like shopping area. We all found something we just had to have!!
The ultimate stop, however, was a sunset viewing visit to the absolutely incomparable Shwedagon Pagoda. You can see it from all over the city. It is Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist shrine. It's 99 meters high. Legend reports that it houses relics of four Buddhas, including 8 strands of Gautama's hair, brought here during his lifetime.
We enjoyed the visit at sunset because as the sun drops very low in the sky the golden dome glistens and turns pinkish gold. It is the most visited Pagoda. Myanmar people come from all over to visit on pilgrimages.