Yangon | Dec. 15, 2011. Street scenes from downtown Yangon. Wherever you go, you find street stands for fruits, vegetables, and tiny plastic table/chair sets for sitting and drinking tea. The man yelling "No Camera!" (making the boy laugh) was only half-joking.
Yangon | Dec. 15, 2011. Drinking sugarcane juice on a hot Yangon street is a taste sensation, but it may not be the smartest choice on an inexperienced western stomach. Still, it seemed worth it -- a stomach tax of sorts -- to sit in the shade and enjoy the sights and sounds.
Yangon | Dec. 16, 2011. A 20-minute walk takes us past monks receiving rice as alms and to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese with relics of the past four Buddhas enshrined within, namely the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa and eight strands of hair of Gautama, the historical Buddha. We've heard from locals that the best times to visit are in the early morning and late dusk. It can be blinding -- and blindingly hot -- in the middle of the afternoon. Even during this "Burmese winter." We walked up the eastern entrance. The gold on the stupa is made of genuine gold plates, covering the brick structure and attached by traditional rivets. Myanmar people all over the country, as well as monarchs in its history, have donated gold to the pagoda to maintain it. Most people try to visit the pagoda at least once during their lifetime. Near the top of the stupa is a crown or umbrella tipped with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies. The very top, the diamond bud is tipped with a 76 carat diamond. (Source: Wikipedia).