I started to write this post as we lay at anchor, having moved off the dock at noon on the 12th. We had to wait for the turn of the tide and enough water to begin our passage down-river towards the open sea and eventually, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Responsibilities caused me to stop writing and now it is the afternoon of the 13th, enroute towards Colombo, Sri Lanka.
As I mentioned in the previous post, it was my turn to go ashore and enjoy the sights of the remarkable city of Yangon. This post is going to be mainly photos and I had to make the difficult decision as to which ones, of the 200 or so that I took, should be posted.
Having taken a small shuttle-bus from the gangway area to the main gate, it was then time to start bartering with the taxi drivers, there were 6 of us in total; myself and Karen, Colin and Paris and Randy and Linda, friends of ours who joined us in Singapore. We were restricted in our choice of transport of course, 6 persons needed a mini-bus or 2 taxis, however we found a garishly coloured mini-bus which would, for $20 each, take all of us and stay for the day. This seemed reasonable and considering the bartering started at $50 each, satisfactory to all parties.
I got the back seat and as a consequence had little, (no), opportunity to take photos of the passing countryside, the thatched huts, the road workers laying tar by hand, the (massive) bumps in the road and the traffic. It took us 1½ hours to get to the city and as it’s only 30 miles you may understand how heavy it was, nose-to-tail all the way.
We decided that we would make our ‘base’ at the Shangri-La hotel, it was central, very pleasant and besides, the ladies had booked a massage there later in the afternoon, ($60 for an hour’s full massage and reflexology) and I went off on a trek for photos.
First, off to the Sule Pagoda and then a walk around the Bogyoke Market and surrounding streets, then, after lunch, to Karaweik, a beautiful lake area with tended plants and shrubs and then finally, to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the grandest of them all.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Myanmar. It is 325 feet (99m) tall and it is believed to contain the relics of 4 previous Buddhas. Built somewhere between the 6th and 10th century, it has been added to ever since. In a word, it is wondrous.
No shoes, no bare shoulders or knees, the gentlemen had to purchase longis to follow the dress code.
Back to the ship in the early evening, I learned that I had been invited to a BBQ on the Pakistani frigate ahead of us. I, of course, couldn’t make it, however some of my officers went and had a wonderful time.
We invited the Captain and some of his officers to view the Amsterdam and the next morning they spent almost 2 hours touring the ship, all were mightily impressed and they left, having honoured us with one of their plaques and we reciprocated with some HAL tiles and plates.