Sunday, April 8, 2012

Guest Post: Tim Goes To Myanmar, Part 1

This week Tim got the opportunity to go to Myanmar (those of you that like to kick it old school may remember it as "Burma") on a business trip... His trip was to attend a conference in the administrative capitol city, Naypyidaw, a bumpy 6 hour bus ride from the larger, more well-known original capital, Yangon (or Rangoon for those of you who spent summers there as children).  However, he also got to spend some time bumping around Yangon along with all of the other foreigners that have recently swamped the city in droves in order to take advantage of the newly opening markets...

View from Tim's bumpy bus ride to Naypyidaw.
Coincidentally, his trip happened at the same time as the historic elections in Myanmar in which pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi's party won 40 out of the 45 legislative seats up for grabs.  A super exciting time there! 

Here are some of his photos and observations... he wouldn't type, so these are my interpretations of his narration... he he:

First, Naypyidaw...not many shots, as Tim said "there was literally nothing to take photos of."

Tim says it's a strange city... built in the middle of nowhere 7 years ago, surrounded by a bunch of dusty, arid flatlands, with several large, empty 6-lane highways leading to it.  Apparently moving the capital was a strategic move on the part of the government because of the central location of Naypyidaw.  Only government workers seem to live there, but most have left their families to stay in Yangon.  

Empty road to nowhere in Naypyidaw.
Everything is under construction in the city in anticipation of it becoming a much larger city.  The SEA games (remember when we went to the SEA games soccer finally here in Indonesia in the fall?) will be hosted there next year, so hotels and sports complexes are popping up.  Tim says all of the hotels are located in one location and the one he stayed in was strangely incomplete, but the service was over-the-top:

Tim loved his disco pillow and towel swan.
Naypyidaw: your perfect choice!
Lonely mall in Naypyidaw.

As part of his conference, there was a elaborate dance show put on by the Ministry of Culture meant to highlight the dances from each of the ASEAN countries, as well as a large banquet that was interrupted by the season's first rainstorm.

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