I’m in Yangon. It is truly the bastard child of Calcutta and Phnom Penh to my eyes: a weird, interesting place. More dilapidated landscapes than dreamed of in your philosophy.
Photos hopefully will ensue tonight – headed to Shwedagon Pagoda and will post then. I have mostly just driven by it and can say with certainty it is both very large and very gold. Such a travel writer I am. It also closes quite a bit later than you might think – around 9:00 PM.
Went to a Burmese party last night. Fun—tried some Kachin-style curry with tripe and coconut milk and runner beans. Those unfond of offal may want to be careful when ordering pork here. Good news is I like it fine. Will try to avoid making an “offal-y” good joke here oh crap wait dammit.
Biryani is a pretty good bet here. Mutton especially. Also enjoying butter-fish, Burmese style savory crepes, and water spinach soup flavored with tamarind. There is Western food but it’s rather pricy, although fairly prevelant in the Embassy districts.
Putting together my Day of Following Obama Around on Monday. May fly out that evening or the day after….not sure my funds will last much longer (though I did bring in more than I thought I’d need). I believe there will soon be a Western Union facility, but until then, it’s “bring in what you use.”
There are informal channels for wiring money, I’ve heard, but perhaps best reserved for emergencies. The remittance scene here will probably get a lot more interesting once WU opens.
Rumors of being unable to get online here: grossly overblown. Plenty of places to do so, at pretty reasonable prices.
Rumors of being unable to get a SIM card here: Also untrue. You can get a temporary pre-paid SIM for about $19. A pretty good deal, as it makes getting around here a LOT more convenient.
Rumors of being unable to get a reasonably priced hotel room here: 100 percent accurate. Adjust accordingly.
Oh, and here’s an interview I did over at Lina Golberg’s “Move to Cambodia.” I’m fond of it. There is perhaps a water buffalo theme.