Yangon Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
After almost 20 years, it was good to be back to see Yangon again (28-30 Jul 2008). The place has changed quite abit, testimony to the investments that have been poured in by countries in the region. The infrastructure has been upgraded, more cars on the road and a large number of new buildings have sprung up. There seems to be many hotels in Yangon, yet another evidence of the influx of business people. The L'Opera restaurant is in a bungalow nestled in the midst of other houses. It serves good Italian food and you could have 3 choices of pasta from the menu that come with free flow of wine at a very reasonable price.
I stayed at the Sedona hotel, which is reputed to be the best in Yangon. The rooms are spacious and nicely done up. There are several restaurants and a bar in the hotel, a circular-shaped swimming pool, 2 tennis courts and a spa. The hotel staff were very polite and helpful.
Surprisingly, the effects of cyclone Narjis have been cleared up and I was told that businesses were asked to contribute manpower and resources to help in the clean up. Generally, the economy is vibrant and I did spent some time and money at one of the numerous gems store to contribute to the economy and also make my wife happy. The "sports market" is a must for visitors.. you can buy jewelry, longyi (local sarong) and all sorts of things.
The effect of the military junta's rule and mismanagement is also felt everywhere. There are many poor people begging in the streets.. One former history professor I met at the Shwe Dagon monastery told me that he was dismissed 1 year prior to his retirement and his pension was forfeited. He has to rely on the generosity of foreign visitors he meets in his daily foray into the touristy places where he would chat them up and give them his perspective of the past and his prognosis of the future.
I find the Myanmaris very gentle and smart.. they have so much potential and yet the future of many has been snuffed out.. Only the few who make it out to leave their motherland for greener pastures abroad have been able to realise their full potential. A country that is so rich in resources and human capital has been reduced to such poverty. The hope of a whole generation has been lost..