YANGON, OUR BURMESE IMMERSION

After tasting Hpa An’s paradise, we take the night bus to Yangon.

THE BUS ACCIDENT

The bus left at 7pm and was supposed to arrive around 3am in Yangon. So it was our first night bus, our first night in the cold of air conditioning on narrow seats. Fortunately, we are entitled to blankets! On the way up you can see all the rooms equipped with sweaters, hats, scarves – in short, the whole range… it announces the heat!

The first few hours are difficult but after the meal break sleep sets in. The accident occurred around 1:30 in the morning when we were 50 km from our destination. Everything went very fast. We were woken up by a huge shock and screams, the bus started to brake and move in all directions, the windows on our side exploded and finally the bus stopped. Right after that, we didn’t know anything. We were on the lower side of the road and the bus was stable so there was nothing to worry about. The bus assistant was panicking a little bit, screaming and going all over the place, he tried to open the bus door in vain. We could see that the driver was blocked because there were people around him but we couldn’t hear him so we didn’t know if he was conscious or not. People began to evacuate silently through the windows. The bus was full and there were a lot of children, surprisingly everyone was very calm, no crying, no screaming, no panic. At that time we still didn’t know what had happened.

It was only when we got off the road that we saw the extent of the damage. The front of the bus was fully pushed inwards, (that’s why the driver was blocked), in the middle of the road there was a tree that had been completely broken in half and a little further on a car that had been completely knocked over.

What happened: we were on a two-way road with a full land in the middle. The car came from the opposite direction and we don’t know why the driver lost control of his vehicle (which apparently drove fast), the car took the big edge of the solid ground and ended up on the other side rolling over until he took our bus hard.

Fortunately, no one was hurt! The driver of the car was still a little hurt and frankly given the condition of his car it could have been much more serious. A kind of ambulance arrived to take him in, he was taken into the trunk and returned 30 minutes later with the police to make a kind of report of the accident. The guy was completely stunned and desperate to get some stuff out of his car body. We waited 1h30 for another bus to pick us up to finish the journey.

THE MEETING WITH KHON

Shortly before the accident we met Khon, a Burmese apprentice lawyer who was on his way to Yangon with his grandfather. As we were supposed to arrive at 3am, he kindly agreed to stay with us for the rest of the night. We finally arrived at his grandfather’s house at 5am after the accident. His house is located in the suburbs of Yangon and we were very well received. It is a small woven bamboo house very typical and quite pretty although simple and poorly equipped (but the grandmother still has electric hobs!). We slept on the floor, on carpets and blankets scattered, three of us under a mosquito net, it was epic!

A few hours later, Khon takes us for breakfast in the popular restaurant around the corner. Everyone is looking at us and for good reason, it is not a district where tourists come to stroll every day! On the menu: Eat-kyar-kwey (a kind of frie cabbage dough) and pauksi (a kind of sticky doughnut filled with chicken and vegetables), a delight!

We then take a tour of the neighbourhood, an opportunity for us to visit a kindergarten (very noisy ^^) and for Sylvie to play a few guitar chords in a church. People did not understand when we explained to them that in France, people do not take off their shoes to enter a church.

When we came back from our walk, Khon’s grandmother prepared lunch for us: a bundle of vegetables with chicken curry and rice, it was really good! We sat on the floor around the small round table and enjoyed the meal. By the way, Burmese people eat a lot, Khon has refilled himself with 3 plates of rice!

YANGON CITY

The same afternoon we leave for the center of Yangon, always accompanied by Khon who wants to help us find a hotel and show us around. We take a local bus in which the seats are very small and with the bags we are quickly cramped!

Once the accommodation has been found (Khon doesn’t like our room at all because he doesn’t like it at all.