09 April 2012

The warm underbelly of Myanmar

Magwe and Pyay (Two cities that can be pronounced at least 4 different ways depending on who you ask)

Magwe was the first city that Allie and I started doing the bus portion of our adventures in Myanmar.  While neither had anything truly spectacular to look at from a tourist's perspective, the one thing they both really showed us was just how warm and caring the Burmese people are.  At both of the guest houses we stayed in, we were extremely skeptical at first impression.  In Magwe, the guest house was by most American standards for accommodations extremely scary looking aesthetically (it looked like really shady auto repair warehouse) but we decided it had the basic essentials that we were looking for (safe, mostly clean-ish, and with either a mosquito net, fan or AC) and cheap so we took it.  For Pyay, it looked like a typical guest house/motel, but the owners were not on their A-game, plus power went out fairly frequently.  So while we were not in ideal conditions, both owners made sure to look out for us, give us great recommendations, assist us with food including us bringing in our own, gave insider info on pricing and went out of their way to arrange taxis and tickets for us that were at very fair/local pricing (including arguing with locals for fair pricing), and the owner in Pyay wanting Allie to marry her son who lives in Malaysia because she wanted an American daughter and really liked Allie.

We are so grateful that these two guest house owners (and we're positive the majority of Burmese) have gone out of their way to show us the warm underbelly of Myanmar.  It made all the difference in our experience and perceptions of Myanmar and would happily go back to their guest houses and stay with them again.


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