December 13, 2013

Myanmar (11 - 13 Dec 2013)

Just returned from my maiden trip to Myanmar, went to Yangon to manage a work event as the banking sector in the country undergoes reforms. 

Myanmar is hosting the SEA Games and some Team Singapore members were on the same flight. The journey from the airport to the Traders Hotel was uneventful, I booked a hotel car. Security was tight upon arrival, mainly because the hotel had a bombing incident not long ago plus SEA Games officials were in residence. Ate room service for lunch, the hotel food prices are really reasonable. 
Spent the first day preparing for our event, had a meeting with the local partner as well as dinner with Gavin, Kevin's brother who lives in Yangon with his family. Gavin was actually entertaining some invigilator from Singapore and I gatecrashed their dinner, which had been planned for Traders.

There was a bit of a crisis when I found out one of the speakers had pulled out at the last minute and the first night was spent re-organising the agenda with my colleagues and the event partner, who had flown in from Dubai. 

The event itself went off relatively smoothly yesterday, the local partner were really a big help. I missed lunch because I had to pump...housekeeping did a great job in arranging my toiletries! Ate with my colleagues after though, and then we decided to check out Bogyoke market, a popular market for gems and local handicrafts which was just around the corner from our hotel. 
I bought a bunch of cheap accessories and then we headed back towards the hotel. I ventured a little further down the road to snap a picture of Sule Pagoda and along the way, caught a glimpse of how the locals went about their daily business. Was late in meeting up with Esther, Gavin's wife because of poor mobile connection but we finally managed to meet up at Bogyoke market. 
The shops were starting to close for the day but we went to the second level and I bought some lace fabric thanks to her bargaining. We went to a supermarket next door and I bought some cashews before we caught a cab to Shwedagon Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Myanmar. 
Luckily we went in the evening, it was not as hot. The place was huge, never seen so many Buddha statues in one place and it was pretty at night. After that she followed me back to the hotel before we said goodbye and I joined my colleagues for dinner at the hotel's Chinese restaurant. Very short trip, but at least I can say I've been to Myanmar now!

No comments: