Yangon – day 244

Although Jayne still wasn’t feeling 100%, I was going slightly stir crazy in our ‘cell’ of a bedroom so convinced her to do something low key in the morning. After breakfast, we headed to the train station to get on the Yangon circle line train. The nearly 32 mile trip is slow moving, taking us over three hours to travel around Yangon and the neighbouring countryside. The train shook at times so much that we almost slide off the benches, whilst the cockerel onboard crowed constantly at his discomfort of being tossed around like he was in a washing machine on full spin cycle! The journey was actually really nice, full of commuters and food venders, passing through different parts of the city which are off the beaten track. It got particularly busy and interesting when the locals boarded the train, chucking their produce from the main market through the open windows and immediately began re-bundling it to sell on when they got closer to home. Arriving back at Yangon main train station, we quickly popped back to the hotel to use the toilet before returning to ‘999 Shan Noodle’ for a late lunch. 

After that, we got in a taxi to go to the Shwedagon Paya – think we paid too much at 2,500 kyat but at less than £1.60 it seemed silly to argue! Considered one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites, you can see this massive gold pagoda from almost everywhere in Yangon. Dropped off at the Eastern stairwell, we climbed the long staircase lined with shops, which reminded us of the first Myanmar temple we visited in Pyay! Paying our entrance fee, we were given a map of the temple complex. Deciding that we wanted to just explore by ourselves, we put the maps away and wandered slowly around the 325ft pagoda which is believed to enshrine eight hairs of the Gautama Buddha as well as relics of three former Buddhas.As we walked, we saw people pouring water over various statues, which we later realised were the different Buddhas and animals that represent the day or, in my case, the time of day on which you were born! I was born on a Wednesday morning which is apparently significant as Buddha was born on a Wednesday morning, so I have an elephant WITH tusks as my animal. Kept walking, finding hundreds of nooks and crannies filled with Buddha statues and images. Sheltered from the rain for a while before continuing to wander looking at how the bright gold pagoda, decorated with 27 metric tons of gold leaf and thousands of diamonds and other gems, changed colour in the fading sunlight.Got chatting to a Buddhist monk in one of the halls who seemed incredibly well travelled (or very handy at Photoshopping himself into famous landmark photos!). We chatted about Myanmar, religion and our respective jobs whilst he told us how it was too difficult for him to get a visa for the UK. Took our time visiting more of the Temple before downpours and Jaynes level of fatigue made us call it a day (at over two hours!) and we got a taxi back to the centre of town. Grabbed something for dinner before heading back to the hotel to pack our bags, ready to fly to Bangkok tomorrow.

Tuesday 7th June 2016

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