An Expedition Update From the Field
We arrived safely in Yangon yesterday at 11:30 am and were greeted by Naing Thang who is to be our guide for our stay in the area the next couple of days. He immediately hailed a taxi and took us to check into our hotel which was chosen by our guide because it is owned by an honest man who lived for three years in Toronto. He was very hospitable and would not allow us to carry our bagsanywhere without assistance. Our guide then took us to a bank to exchange our currency. It was very different from any bank you would see in the US. The cash was being counted in a main room behind the desk and tied into bundles which where then tied into bigger bales.
Our next mission was to get a SIM card to communicate with friends and family back home when we are without internet. We walked probably half a mile down the crowded streets and into four shops before we found one that would offer a reasonable price to westerners.
One of the things that struck me most about the streets was the total chaos that reigned. Every type of vehicle imaginable could be found all fighting for their place. The lane markings are regarded more like suggestions than laws and the same goes for traffic lights. The first time our driver completely ignored a red light I almost had a heart attack, but by the tenth time it became just another part of the chaos. I personally prefer this driving style in some ways to the western style because you get from point A to point B so much more quickly, and a traffic jam doesn't mean that traffic slows... just more car horns. Just kidding on that point Mom.
Our next stop was the Shwedagon Pagoda,which is a massive stupa towering 368 feet and coated in 60 tons of pure gold. It is also surrounded by dozens of gold plated statues of various sizes and incredibly ornate buildings with gold plated sides. We plan to return here in two days to get a tour and hopefully some video footage. Please pray for our safety as we travel today and that we would be able to take video and pictures as planned.
Benjamin Lenz, Historiographer