Friday, November 10, 2017

Yangon - Rangoon

We arrived at dusk in Yangon. The line thru immigration was torturous and we were probably the only Yanks in line. A plane of Germans stood in line beside us. The US has not yet put Myanmar on it’s list of groovy places to visit yet. I’m sure that will not last long.
The Taxi drive into town took almost 45 minutes. We passed prosperous looking malls- with all the trappings of wealth. Prima and Primo have visited Yangon several times and state that all of this building was new. There was the Mercedes Dealership and the Rolex Store. Is there nowhere on earth that the trappings of wealth do not invade? Further into town, we pass a large park, where a reservoir resides. Families are out on strolls, joggers abound, teenagers fly by on skateboards.

We are staying at the Beautyland Hotel #1. It boasts a view of the Swhedegon Temple complex. Thru the darkness, our taxi drivers cruise thru alleys with walls of concrete topped with concertina wire. The hotel is nowhere near town that we can see. SoSo Wen is the manager. Her sister owns both Beautyland #1 and #2. SoSo Wen English "very good" and she will insure that we are happy and comfortable in our rooms, but before we are allowed to go to them, we are invited to the roof, where breakfast is served and from which is a magnificent view of the Scwedegon Stupa on the hill.
It is one of the most exotic sights that I have witnessed.

But now it’s dinner time! SoSo Wen suggests a hotpot restaurant nearby and laughs at us that we want to take a taxi there. “It soooo close,” but Prima and I are daunted regarding the flatness of the roads and likely potholes to twist our lovely ankles in.
The SK HotPot is a beehive of activity. It is Saturday night and everyone is out to dinner. The majority of the restaurant is open air - perhaps with 75 tables. There is a small interior space with an additional 25 tables. We disembark from the taxi and are immediately greeted by the manager – we are the only white folks there. There may be other tourists, but most likely they are Chinese. We are seated and a fan turned on above us. In the middle of the table is a burner for the hotpot. The manager explains there is sweet soup or spicy soup. We opt for both and a large pot, divided in the middle, is brought to the table.
 Now for the ingredients. On one side of the restaurant, are 10-double door refrigerators. We are guided to the fridges and inside are all the ingredients one could want or imagine! 8 different types of mushrooms, 5 different types of tofu, all sorts of greenery – some identifiable some not so much. NOODLES! Fish pieces, fish parts, fish balls, meat, meat parts, chicken, heads of all varieties. Each is in a colored container which indicates its price. We gather an assortment of known and unknown ingredients. Back at the table, all the waiters and the manager want to help up fill the pots, or help up ladle out to individual bowls. We were the floor show for that part of the restaurant.
 In the end, it was a fabu meal! Our spicy pot was majorly spicy, but all but gone when we left. Primo ordered a fruit plate to cleanse our palate. All in, including my 2 beers, less than $10.00PP.

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