We were ready to power-tour Rangoon, but first, Mary led us to a small bus with 18 seats, most without padding or springs and drove us to the Thamada Hotel. …View image… The Thamada had an elevator, inoperative, so we schlepped our bags up to the third floor. Dingy, dirty and dark, with a single air-conditioning unit hanging by a wire directly over our bed. Most of the wires and coils just hung down from it…probably in preparation for decapitation once we actually got into the bed!
Got settled, had lunch (most of us subsisted primarily on rice, bottled water and soft drinks for the duration of the trip) and set out. Almost every Burmese wears a longyi, a round piece of fabric about three feet in diameter. Men wrap it around their waists and knot it in the middle; women tuck it in at the side. Tops are bright cotton shirts and blouses. (In Myanmar today [formerly Burma], the people still wear the longyi. It’s very rare to see western garb on people.)
Off to the National Museum, Bogyoke Maraket, Sule Pagoda (more than 152 feet tall), the unbelievable Reclining Buddha…
Reclining Buddha in Rangoon, Burma
…and Karaweik – a huge replica of a Burmese floating palace, made of concrete sitting in the middle of a pretty lake.
We had dinner and a cultural show of Burmese dancing there. The grand finale dance was one in which the young ladies held lighted candles in the palms of their hands and performed intricate movements – without losing the flames, burning themselves or setting fire to the Karaweik! After the performance, one of our group informed us that a big brown rat was watching the performance on the rafters above the stage! Hope the rat enjoyed it as much as we did.
But before dinner, a visit to the highlight of Rangoon, the Shwedagon Pagoda…