Yangon 2002 - 2005- 2007/08

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Formerly know as Rangoon, Yangon became the capital in 1885 following the British conquest of Upper Burma  and is home to a population of 5 million.   In 2005  the custom built city of Nap Pyi Taw became the new capital of Myanmar

Yangon is a gracious,  if somewhat run down city of wide boulevards, shade trees, and crumbling colonial architecture topped by the odd satellite dish.  It is easy to get around, having been laid out in a grid pattern during British rule.   Many streets and buildings were renamed after independence and some still have the old and new signage which can be confusing  

It is a safe city with the greatest threat to life and limb being the atrocious state of the usually unlit sidewalks

 Riding the old Jitney bus.   Is everybody happy, well the driver and conductor certainly are

Colonial Tenement

One of many derelict Colonial buildings

Sidewalk Legal Services

For the past decade or more the city had been undergoing minor renovation.   Streets were cleaned and a few public public buildings were being repainted.   The sale of Betel nut was banned in an effort to rid the sidewalks of the blood red stains.  The result is mostly cosmetic and large areas of the city look much as they did when the British pulled out in 1948, except for the lack of maintenance

Old Rowe and Co Emporium

 

At the center of Yangon is Sule Pagoda and Maha Bandoola Gardens.  All around were the dilapidated remains of beautiful old colonial buildings.  Some have chequered histories.  Many buildings were abandoned to squatters until the government re housed them away from the city.  The Rowe building was rescued from decay to became the Immigration Dept and following the movement of the government to Nap Pyi Taw, is now beautifully restored and houses a bank

Hopefully there are now and will be,  many more such restorations

Sprucing up Immanuel Baptist Church

Sule Pagoda

The Pagoda marks the center of Yangon, the central reference point established by the British Raj in Old Rangoon.  Forming an island, a roundabout in fact of comparative calm in the cneter of the city's busiest intersection

I waited a long time for this quiet moment

4 bridges allow pedestrians to avoid the busy intersection

As this was Saturday, she was worshiping at the Saturn Planetary Post under the sign of the naga.

English Conversation.  Steps of the Independence Monument (Mahabandoola Gardens

Maha Bandoola Gardens    In 2015 Yangon Heritage placed a plaque in the park

It stated it was originally Fytche Square and has been the site of many important moments in the country's history.  The foundation stone of the Independence Monument was laid by the Prime Minister on the day of Independence.   The park has always been a venue for cultural performances and public gatherings.  They failed to mention is also known as Yangon's Tiananmen Square, having been the scene of much violence in the recent past.  Notably the uprisings by monks named Saffron Revolutions.   The one in the Fall of 2007 threatened to derail my  visa application.  Fortunately they lifted the visa ban just in time for me to make it to Yangon to take up take up a three month volunteer teaching position at Growing Together

2007 - Locals were calling this the No People's Desire 

 Propaganda Street Art

 

Yuzana Garden Hotel

We were very happy with out choice of hotel.  The Yuzana Garden is the former Steel Brothers 'chummery', it is within walking distance of the Shwedagon Pagoda, Scott Market, Sule Pagoda and the Yangon river.  The mansion next door once belonged to the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company and During World War ll became General Aung San's Burma Independence (later Burma Defence) Army Headquarters,  General Aung San and Ne Win slept under it's roof.  The British Government bought the residence in 1949.   Pity we would be leaving before the garden party

From the balcony of our junior suite 'Mr. Colin' could keep a watchful eye on the residence, gardens, pool and tennis court of the British Ambassador and his family  

In truth the place was a little rundown, in other places a lot rundown, with a shortage of guests and money.  It must have been magnificent in it's heyday, the teak flooring in our room was 1.5" thick.  I know because some of the pieces were loose.  The staff were lovely and a complimentary basket of fruit, tea and 3 in one coffee was awaiting us in our room
Yangon is bound on three sides by water.  This is the ferry across the Yangon river. We were the only foreign visitors onboard.  Maybe the signs saying 'no foreigners' had something to do with that.    Someone had kindly pointed out where we could purchase tickets, we produced our passports visa, entry documents etc. , our details were copied out in triplicate and we boarded.  Seats cost extra,  we could have a kindergarten stool or a deck chair

The upper deck was less crowded and there was entertainment.   Apparently he was a Christian preacher 'illustrating' his chosen texts with tricks.   I  was given an illustrated religious tract in the distinctive Burmese script, I had nor have, any idea what it is about

 
The scene on the other side contrasts sharply with modern Yangon in the distance.  As it was so hot we passed up the opportunity to explore and took the next ferry back

I am updating this page, it is October 29th 2018, Googling to see the current ferry situation,  I see two snazzy Australian catamaran ferrys delivered on October 30th 2018.  With the time difference, that means they arrived on this very day

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