Vacation to Yangon, Myanmar
By Andrew Bartunek
Making it to Yangon
Before I left for the trip, I had to know what not to do to make a complete fool of myself. With some searching, I learned that shaking of hands is to be done on rare occasions. Women are to never be touched, unless the offer first. The final thing I learned was all about feet. One is to never point the bootem is their feet at a monk, for it could be seen as disrespectful. With all this in mind, I felt that I had an okay basis of knowledge.
The host Family
When staying in Myanmar, I had a host family. The U Nu's were definitely different, or so I thought. The were a very supportive, and so kind to me. While Myanmar is not the richest country in the world the have definitely got to be the nicest.
Education in Myanmar
While in Yangon, I did not have to go to school. In Myanmar, they believe in being taught until the age of 16. From there the students test to determine if the go to a university, If not then they start to novice for a trade that will be there future career.
Cetana, the new life lesson
At first, I thought my host family was being extremely nice to me because I was new to the country, but instead, the people of Myanmar live by cetana. In short the word cetana means to be nice, respectful, and just assist full to anybody at all times.
The highlightas of the trip
The street market
My favorite part of the trip would have to be the street market. Unlike in the Unites states, in Myanmar, you get your food from the market in the side streets. Venders as far as the eye can see, and the most amazing food you have ever smelt. The markets are very busy with people and goods for sale.
Wile in Yangon, I had an opportunity to try all kinds of familiar and new foods. Being located so close to the coast, a major dish we had was Mohinga-Fish and noodle soup. It is a very savory dish that resembles an almost aquatic gumbo. The interesting mix of different spices and fresh fish made this dish my favorite.
Another of my favorite cultural locations was Sule Pagoda, an important political landmark. In the middle of the business district stands this beautiful monument. During the uprising, this temple was a huge political symbol as well as a cultural one. The structure its self is said to be one hair of their god that grew there over 2,500 years ago.
As my trip was coming to an end, I thought about all that I have learned. There is a huge difference between the United States and Myanmar economically, socially, and culturally. The open markets and independent fishermen were a clear indicated that the economic status of Myanmar was less then the US. The overall actions of people, so kind and selfless was a deffinate indication of a social change. Finally was the curtral change. In Yangon, the culture of the area was Buddhism and is taken very seriously in daily life. The insight to a new and more conservative lifestyle definitely opened my eyes to a new approach to life. I hope to one day return to Yangon to give more thanks as well as try even more things.