Life in Bogalay

December 22nd, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Freight hauling in Bogalay

While we had some running around for supplies and other things to assist in the workshop, Keith and I had some time to wander around in Bogalay also. The first thing we noticed as we hit the streets is that almost all transportation is walking, bicycle or bicycle taxi. Next would be motorbikes. Normally you can see one or two if you look on down the street. No one seems to haul freight with them like they do in Thailand. There were no horses or other animals pulling carts or doing anything else. During our three day stay I saw a couple of vans, five or six trucks and the same number of buses. I think the buses are for transportation to neighboring cities, not within the city. Most heavy freight was handled in large three wheeled carts pushed by two or more men. Light cargo was carried by the bicycle taxis. I saw one car.

Coffee shop across from the library

Temple just off the road between our hotel and the library

I passed the Buddhist temple on the way from our hotel to the workshop library several times before I turned in to have a look. It had some pretty good sized Buddha statues. The ones I’ve seen in Myanmar are usually larger than the statues in Thailand.

Ford Fairlane oiler truck on the walkway to the temple

There was a waterfront with markets, piers and many boats. People were all friendly and polite. Most knew no English and I know no Burmese at all, so communication was arm waving and finger pointing. The waterfront street and buildings on it’s other side were most pleasant. A nice place for a walk. I’ve seen other westerners in this city before, but none on this trip.

Afternoon on the waterfront street

Restaurants had few allowances for westerners or other tourists because they don’t have any, except for an NGO worker here and there. The only way we were served chicken was cut up with bones and all. It was difficult to tell what part of the chicken it was and sometimes harder than I’m used to to get the meat off the bone. It’s hard with a knife and fork (you do get a knife here, unlike Thailand) and the part of the bone you’d use to pick it up is not there. I should have payed more attention to how the Burmese do it. They must have a method… Overall the food was OK, but don’t come here for a dining experience.

We had air con and a flat screen HDMI TV in our hotel room. We did have cold showers and they don’t use sheets. We slept between blankets. Altogether we were pretty happy with it except the water was pretty cold in the shower. I must not be as tough as I thought. No internet or Wi-Fi at the hotel. I’m not sure it’s available anywhere else in Bogalay. Even so our hotel was the best in town because there was a new Toyota SUV parked there with “UNOPS” on its side. It was easily the nicest vehicle in town. UN people fly first class and stay at the very best places. Unlike nearly everywhere else in the world, in Myanmar we can afford to stay in the best places also, even in Yangon. We see more UN and other government related people here than anywhere else we travel.

We get around

The beach area was covered in litter. There was also a lot of litter on the ground outside the Buddhist temple also. We westerners are sensitized to litter now, but I wonder if the locals here even notice it. While litter covered some areas, it seems to me that a small group of people could clean up the whole town in a week or so. There are no tourists down in this part of Myanmar. I think if they will need to do some litter cleanup if they want to have many. And don’t forget the hot showers.

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  1. Carol Kerr
    December 31st, 2011 at 01:18 | #1

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Simpsons! Looks like you have some great help with the Workshops and all, good to see!

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