September 28, 2015

the big P

mostly i think to keep the tourists from noticing the mold and decay of the rest of the city, Yangon promotes the Shwedagon Pagoda as it's biggest attraction.  and it is impressive, with jewels and leaves of gold, built to stand out for miles in every direction.  it's a sacred place, so sacred that you can't wear footwear and you must be covered from elbows to knees.  unlike most sacred spaces, they provide companies the opportunity to advertise wireless internet access and charge a FEE if you are not a local.  you'll also run the gauntlet of vendors selling worthless trinkets lining the approach which is about half a kilometer.

take the time and go ride the circular train instead. 

at one time as an expat with properly stamped resident papers you could get in without a fee but now they just shake their heads and point at the fee board.  most people i know take their guest up to one of the bars/restaurants overlooking the pagoda towards evening as it is impressive to watch the sunset and moon rise and the lights come up at the pagoda.  unless you're a practicing Buddhist there's nothing to really see inside the perimeter [you can't go inside the actual stupa unlike a temple where the religious practice is inside] and it's voyeuristic to stand and watch those who are in the moment practicing.

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