yangon behind the shadows

My last images of Bagan were the dodgy flashback of a rusty truck-ride and the dizzying blur of 11-hour night bus where Luna (a 2-year old girl) singlehandedly took my sleeping space, pushing me cramped on one side with Monette and Dong Ho.

We crossed the vast plain of Central Myanmar with merely two wee breaks and we reached Yangon at around five in the morning while the old capital is in deep slumber.

After being treated like princes and princesses by the staff of Hotel @ Tharabar Gate in Bagan, I felt like being punished by moving-in a god-forsaken hostel. We wanted to throw tantrums not because of the barracks-like accommodation called Motherland Inn 2 but the absence of that nourishing staple at the bottom of the travel bloggers’ food pyramid–WIFI.

Listed as the “best” hostel in Yangon as recommended by Lonely Planet, we booked a dorm and a twin room for our remaining days in Myanmar.

From an investigator’s perspective, Motherland Inn 2 at face value, is the typical hide-out where Cedric Lee would bring Deniece Cornejo’s condo visitors. The absence of proper ventilation makes it scorch like a convection oven by day and siomai steamer at night. No wonder when we checked-in, the room has that lingering moldy scent that made me want to conduct pap-smear testing on the beds for possible candidiasis.

The only redemption was their nice and ever smiling staff. But if it is the best hostel in Yangon, I would not want to see the rest (Or I would not want to trust Lonely Planet).

Avoiding the noontime heat at 40°C, we walked around the City at mid-afternoon. Biking? I know you will say that the idea of biking is so cinematic as you glide across the colonial city, while your hair catch the breeze, the sun kiss your cheeks and Gabrielle singing ‘Sunlight’ in your head. Tell me all this after you dodge the right hand drive cars driving on the wrong side of the streets, forcing you to maneuver like a real life grand theft auto where your leg power will be tested and end-up walking home with throbbing calves, aching butt cheeks and harassed perineum.

The shopping at Bogyoke Market was not different from walking inside Ben Thanh in Saigon and Greenhills in Manila. Hawking sellers offering postcards, longyis, jades, keychains and at one point I thought I heard someone whispered to my ear “sir hard wood?” while flashing nasty smile…  “Sorry? what are you selling?

Kids will give all hard selling tactics from pushy to melodramatic strategies… “Sir, please buy my postcard, I’m so hungry” said the child who is cute and plump like miniature Kim Kardashian

Sorry! No habla Ingles

MYANMAR_luna_fliptravels

Myanmar is fast changing, we were lucky to visit during the edge of reformation and see it’s old sleeping glory shrouded with a dark recent history, the city is either heading to a modern revolution of advanced infrastructures, or towards a conservative cultural restructuring. I just hope its the latter.

It was the last frontier of South East Asia. Sadly, it is changing fast. But our the short stay in this country enabled us to see the sparkle in their eyes and witness their national pride—we could not help but celebrate its metamorphosis to what hopeful people of Burma have been longing to see.


  • docgelo

    you got me at “harassed perineum” and the line, “sir hard wood?”
    panalo.
    but why no wifi? it’s like being robbed of your last piece of clothing in snow.

  • pinaytraveljunkie.com

    HAHAHA! GOLLY! I miss this trip and all its awesomeness and griminess. Our room upstairs at Motherland Inn was yes, parang pressure cooker.

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    lakas maka bula ng kilikili diba?

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    hahaha well apparently, when we were there, dial-up internet was still a luxury.

  • rainiert

    I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your photos from Myanmar (that picture with the pigeons was awesum!). There is really something to capture in almost every corner of this very photogenic country – which inspired me to start posting my own pics despite a close-to-one-year delay (I visited in late 2012).

    I loved everything about the trip – the people I met, the food I ate, and the places I got to see. Some rough travels notwithstanding, I would highly recommend Myanmar to anyone.

  • Stella Sandoval

    I agree. The pictures are excellent. A perfect reflection of the Myanmar’s emancipation. A bastion of the old world that’s slowly fading away. Hoping to visit before modernity gobbles it up completely.

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    true, it is fast changing.

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    Show us your pics! :-)

  • rainiert

    Haha. You can check my pics here: http://www.vampireinthecity.wordpress.com

  • Jerome Baluyut

    Wow! Namiss ko to. Reunion trip naman dyan hehe

  • http://flipntravels.wordpress.com flipntravels

    kelan ka ba babalik?