Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Yangon at a standstill

As we drove into Yangon, I suddenly saw why the government might have wanted to move to a new city. The traffic here is truly terrible. There is nothing wrong with the roads themselves, they are in pretty good shape, but the volume of cars means that nothing goes anywhere. And this isn't due to an accident or any ad hoc problem, it is just the norm.

One thing that we quickly noticed was the lack of any two wheeled modes of transport. Unlike everywhere else, where mopeds and small motorbikes are the norm, with a good number of regular bikes still thrown in, none of those are to be found here. We did see the occasional bicycle sneak around, but that was it. Apparently, a government official had his car hit by a bike of some form, so promptly banned all two wheel vehicles. I can't vouch for the truth of that, but that is the story.

But there is no shortage of cars and they all seem to be in front of you and going the same way! It took us forever to get around the city, which made the further afield sites a little frustrating to get to.

Anyway, we did finally reach our hotel, and had a bit of time to relax before a few of us headed out to see if we could pick up a bit of street food. We would have been fine if we wanted just anything, but we had agreed to go for some dhosa that had been spotted earlierin the day, so the search was on for them.

Unfortunately, all the dhosa vendors seemed to have packed up early for the night. On the brink of disappointment, someone directed us towards a little restaurant, and sure enough, there were dhosa there. It was my first taste of them, and I was a bit dubious as spicy floors and I don't mix well, but as they are basically a pancake with stuff to dip them in, I just stuck to the one dip I liked and all was fine.

Yangon is noticeably different from the rest of Myanmar, not only because of the traffic. Whereas Mandalay and some other big towns do have some big 'western style' buildings, much of it is still very low level and in parts quite ramshackle. Yangon has a much higher proportion of taller and larger buildings, albeit that many are now quite old and a bit run down.

Also the people dress differently. In most of Myanmar, the majority of women and many men still wear the traditional longhi. Here, some still do, but the majority are in western style clothing. Quite a lot of the women are still using the thanaka though.

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