TOO QUICK TO JUDGMENT – HERE IN RANGOON!
The once impressive Yangon Western State Court is typical of so many wonderful century-old colonial buildings now crumbling. Its cupola is caving in, the shutters are broken and falling off the windows, and plants grow from cracks in the peeling façade. Amazingly, it’s still in use! But after three days here in Rangoon, I believe I may have been too quick to judgement.
The changes for the better since I was last here in 2011 seem to be outweighing the negatives.
There’s truth to the belief that Rangoon’s impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes it one of the most fascinating and authentic cities of Southeast Asia. Pity the sweltering climate in summer time makes it so difficult to get around. (I won’t mention the increased traffic that brings agonising gridlock to the main streets.)
The local people are respectful and friendly. I like that they still wear the national dress, the longyi skirt, for both men and women. There’s so mnay new Toyota and Hyundai vehicles cramming the roads, and all seem to be proudly maintained and gleaming. I don’t see many smokers at all, but there is the chewing of beetle nut and spitting that is probable an equal evil
The more I move around Rangoon, the more progress I witness. Roadways leading to large areas of parkland are landscaped with trees and garden beds, and the streets are surprisingly clean. Pavements and are being renewed and the many street-sellers that blocked your way are greatly reduced.
I wouldn’t want to imagine living conditions in high-rise buildings rising from the side streets, or on the still old, jam-packed buses.
After a visit to Scott Market to buy nothing at all (but I found my Shan pants that I can’t tell the front from the back), we took off in the heat for the nearby Yangon Shangri-La for a repeat of the wonderful Indian lunch we enjoyed on our last visit. And we were not disappointed!
We set sail for Colombo on the high tide.