22 January – Rangoon

Packed, checked out and moved to a nicer hotel, we bumped into the Brits we had shared a bottle of wine with in Nyaungshwe. Headed to the train station to try the circular train through Rangoon and its suburbs.

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The train was dilapidated and the floor was covered in peanut shells and cabbage leaves but as usual in Burma the locals were very friendly. We trundled through stations and chatted to a lad called Moses watching the scenery float past. Scenery of mainly rubbish and shacks of poor folk. In fact nothing much was happening until we pulled into a station and a sack of cabbages flew through the open window. Chaos began. Suddenly a whole market of veg began to stream into the carriage with sellers shouting and screaming and hauling huge heavy baskets of green produce onto the train. After a minute of mayhem, the sellers, who were all small thin girls, sat gossiping and shouting across the din of a surreal commuter train. Opposite us, for the rest of the journey sat a middle aged trader who took handfuls of his mornings purchase and carefully created eye pleasing bundles of neatly trimmed broccoli with Zen like devotion ignoring the scene around him.

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We were so engrossed we missed our stop for the tourist sights and ended back where we started at Yangon main station. Ditching the sights we headed for another market and after duck soup had a rest in the room.

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After dark and when mossie time was over we had a tiger beer in a local beer station and decided to head a bit out of town to an expat bar. We’ve been away for 53 days and the allure of a pub finally got the better of us. The trek was further than we thought and the streets were badly lit and we were about to give up when we finally came across the 50th street bar. We entered to find brick walls, old tin adverts, rugby on the TV, pitchers of beer and happy hour. We hurried to a table and a pitcher of beer was fetched and we were told that it was pizza night. Pepperoni was ordered.

We chatted about friends and family, we reminisced, made plans and had a great time. We look forward to sharing nights like that with you all soon.

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