Friday, June 1, 2012

Circle Train

After lunch we walked to the railway station to find the Circle train. arriving at the station we were directed up and over a footbridge to get to platform 6. We needed to show our passports and were charged $1 each. The train does a 3 hour circuit around the outskirts of Rangoon.

2 On the train 2

Sitting on the hard seats we snaffled a window spot and didn't relinquish it the whole journey. We people watched and the locals people watched us. I think we were the only foreigners on the train, and we were definitely a bit of a novelty.

2 round the train 2

People hop on and off the train at the various stops. Produce gets transported from/to market and then home again.

2 Into the station 2

One of the stops has the actual market spilling across the tracks. Every stop another food seller moves into the carriage and offers their wares.

2 Through the market 2

We passed up the opportunity to purchase hard boiled eggs, small quail sized eggs, mango & chilli, betel nut, and biscuits. Nor did we partake in the communal bucket of water, where you pay the fee and get to drink out of a metal cup - along with everyone else who used that cup.

2 meal service 2

The journey was good to see outside the city itself and to have a fleeting glimpse of normal life. There are pockets of poverty with shanty towns, grass shacks with no running water or electricity lines.  These are set alongside very smart detached houses and apartment blocks. There is a real problem with rubbish disposal and seeing mass plastic bag dumping grounds hits home what a nuisance these modern articles of convenience really are.

2 poverty 2

One odd sight was the huge used car dumping areas. The vehicles appear to have been dropped by crane into the pile and many show no evidence of damage. And none appear to have been stripped of the useful and recyclable parts - tires, windscreens, metal...

car2

It was good use of 3 hours during the heat of the day. The breeze helped keep things cool and we weren't having to trek about.

2 girl on train

Dinner was a bit of a treat at Monsoon restaurant. Lonely Planet describes this as a good option for those intimidated by Yangon's more authentic options. Even if it was in the "expensive" eats category the atmosphere was lovely and all the food was wonderful. The national dish - Mohinga- a fish broth had a rich and complex flavour, tempura vegetables (chosen by meat-man Andrew!) light and tasty, a chicken & yoghurt curry And a sweet pork curry ...delicious Total bill including drinks about $40.

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