Moments | October 13

New series! Each week, we’ll share little moments, thoughts and stories with you.

It has been a struggle this year to find good coffee, and not just in the tea-dominated places that you would expect it. So It was a relief to find a coffee shop in Yangon, Myanmar that served great Singapore-style coffee. Despite all the troubles, there have been a few wonderful coffee moments on the trip. In Dubai, there was some fantastically dark and sweet Arabic/Turkish Coffee. In Malaysia, there was a special coffee roasted with butter and sugar giving it an interesting taste. In Indonesia, there was the Copi Luwak coffee, made from beans that had been eaten by a civet (weasel-like animal). Though the best is still the incredibly delicious cup of coffee from the Africa House in Zanzibar. A perfect, freshly roasted cup with just enough coffee grounds to add flavor, but not make it gritty. It had that rich, dark coffee flavor, and hands down was the best cup of coffee I’ve had all trip. 

Every time that I land in a different place, I expect to find a few oddities after arriving. One of the first that I found in Yangon was that although people drive on the right side of the road at least half of the cars have the driver on the right-hand side as well.  I’ve heard that it’s due to a lot of cheap imports from left-hand drive countries, but it’s still amazing to see. The car sounds are a bit different too, with beeping turn signals, and I even heard a truck that played It's a Small World when reversing. The best was the car that instead of a normal unlock beep, said "Hello", but in Burmese.

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Another odd thing in Myanmar was that we had to get handwritten flight tickets. Normally, we can book, pay, check-in and download airline tickets online, but in Myanmar, that wasn’t the case. The entire process was antiquated, from booking via email, to having to pay U.S. Dollars in person. They even had to look up our reservation in an Excel spreadsheet, then told us the flights were canceled. After finding us other flights, they finally hand-wrote our tickets. 

Change is coming fast here, so it probably won’t be the case for very long. Myanmar is one of the only places in the world we’ve been to that doesn’t have a KFC, Subway, Starbucks, or the other major fast food chains. At least that is until 2015.

We’ve rarely had the chance to watch TV while traveling. However having some downtime in Inle Lake, it pours rain almost every evening, we got a chance to see some of the local shows, which seem pretty familiar. I’ve seen ads so far for Myanmar’s Got Talent, Are You Smarter Than a Burmese 5th Grader?, some sort of Pictionary, and Myanmar Family Feud. At least that’s what I think they were named, the names were all in the really crazy curly local script.

Sign on a voltage transformer.

The only thing I can make out on this sign is the phone number.

Till next time,
Jon