First Impression of Yangon


Due to flight delay, I arrived Yangon late last night and did not get to see much of the city but I was very excited to meet Janine, my working partner here in Yangon. Having similar goals in mind for this project or simply because of her calm and caring personalities, we got along well and very much looking forward to working together.

My first impression in Yangon is that the city is more developed and westernized than I had expected. It almost seems to me that the city itself is changing and modernizing rapidly that maybe the people might not be able (or maybe do not want to?) to follow the pace. It is very interesting to sit in a totally western café (you can only pay in US dollars) and look out side to see people carrying a tray of fruits on the top of their head or eating betel nuts. Maybe because of the opening economy of the country, Yangon is surprisingly a very expensive place to live in. There is a high demand for everything, including accommodation, which Janine and I have been trying to sort this out and we will have to continue doing so.


Bogyoke Market, Yangon

One other thing that really strikes me is that the people are really nice and friendly. I came in the country not having any picture in mind about how the people might be, but they would have met my expectation in any category. Right when I sat foot at the airport, a couple of teenage girls just kept smiling at me that I got self-conscious and was wondering if I dressed inappropriately or if there was anything on my face. People are really open and helpful with general information about the city and directions, but being a foreigner in a country that I do not speak the language, I also keep reminding myself not to trust anyone so easily and double check everything. However, doing this kind of work when I need to build trust with the people and gather their stories, I wonder where should I be drawing that line and boundary when I start working…

Overall my first day in Yangon was long but interesting. I am really looking forward to observing and learning more from this city and the people. I am looking forward to hear about their stories of water issues as well as any other stories they are happy to share.

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