Posts tagged “chinatown

Bustle and Dirt and Devout Buddhists by Way of a Bumpy Train Ride

Bago

We waltzed right into this empty monastery full of golden Buddha statues.

My hotel in Mawlamyine arranges for my overnight bus to Yangon (Rangoon). It’s as easy as a phone call and a motorbike ride to the bus station: which is really just a dirt lot with some buses parked in front of a shop. While I wait I’m asked for my ticket several times and am eventually led to a seat in the front of a full bus. It is new, and a screen in the front is showing music videos. I situate myself with my neck pillow and blanket. Even though the bus is nice and the price seems fairly reasonable considering, I will eventually learn in Myanmar that foreigners get charged significantly more. Like hotels, the government requires companies catering to tourists to have a permit, and to charge them more than locals.

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Highways, Monkeys, Beer Towers

KL JalanAlor

Jalan Alor, an entire street of food stalls. At times, it feels like Mulberry Street in New York City. Hosts wielding menus try to draw you into their restaurant, which looks identical to the three next to it.

Just as I’m finishing up my meal on Jalan Alor, a street lined with restaurants – tables and chairs set up in the street – I feel a few drops, and then I see umbrellas being set up around the tables. I finish my beer, pay, and start walking. Within five minutes, it’s pouring. It’s that kind of downpour that you knew would come, that you even hoped would come, when it’s still hot and humid when the sun goes down.

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Ships, Steam Irons, and Noodles

It is so remarkably easy to walk around and see everything that one wonders whether the Hindu founders, the Portuguese conquerors, the Dutch, and then the British built this town as a major fort and trading post adjacent to the Straights of Melaka, or as a future attraction for weekenders with cameras. Large signs alert you to where you are: “Little India,” “Jonker Walk.”

Melaka Windmill

An old watermill on the river. The river cruise leaves from a few hundred meters away.

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Malls, Expensive Beer, and Colonial Buildings

 

Sing Skyline

Here’s a picture of a bunch of Banks. This is what I pictured before I visited Singapore

Walking through a mall I realize that one has to walk through a mall to do pretty much anything in Singapore. Not that I mind, the malls all air-conditioned. It is a welcome respite from the harsh weather. One can rest assured that they are always in close range of a Starbucks.

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