Observation #1) “Skirts” – Upon our arrival to Yangon Airport, I was quite impressed by their new and modern international airport. I felt like I was still in Bangkok or LCCT in Kuala Lumpur. But then, when I saw the people waiting outside the airport, and noticed that a lot of men wearing the ‘longgi’ ( or the sarong for Malays), only then I realized that I’m indeed in Myanmar. Then, a small voice from behind asked, “Why are the men wearing skirts, Amma?”, my 5 year old daughter asked. I couldn’t help but chuckle as she also quickly observed the ‘skirts’ just a few minutes of being in Yangon.
Observation #2) “Painted Faces” – If we are conscious not to put too much powder on our faces, not the Myanmar children and women. Many of them like to leave the sandal wood powder ( beige in color) on their faces. The sandal wood cream/powder is like a cosmetic powder for them that is said to make their faces smoother and fairer.
Observation # 3) Beetle Leaves – Don’t be surprised if a lot of men will have reddish teeth. Nope, that’s not blood but actually beetle leaves being chewed. Chewing beetle nut is quite a common practice for men ( young and old alike) and so is spitting these out anywhere on the streets. So, beware of those things flying over your head!
Observation # 4) Oily Food – We have some local friends in Yangon and most of the time they invite us for lunch in their house. They actually have nice and tasty food but they put a lot of oil in it. As they said, the more oily food they serve to their guests, shows how special they are to them.
Observation #5) Black Out!– Expect the electricity ( even in hotels) to be often cut off once every few hours. Yes, power cut offs are very common in Myanmar. Most of the establishments have generators. WHy? Because their main electricity only runs 6 hours a day and worse, they can’t predict which part of the day it’ll be on or off.
Observation #6) Street Food– Unless you have a very ‘strong’ tummy, don’t be tempted to try out their street food. Observe how they prepare it first and then you’ll know why.
We were only there for 9 days so, all these observations are just mostly based on the obvious things which I saw that are different from my culture and the place I come from. I’m sure there are still a lot of differences left undiscovered as Myanmar is different from the Philippines in many aspects. If you want to read the other side of Myanmar, you might want to check out my other post, The Beautiful Myanmar.