Getting Templed Out – Myanmar Temples

Getting Templed Out – Myanmar Temples

We often get templed out in Asia.  I do, truly, love it here, but after numerous months over many trips traveling through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, etc., I just got templed out.  A similar thing happens in Europe – I easily become “cathedralled” out.  When you have seen one church with statues and stain glass, you have seen them all. With Myanmar being one the most religious of the Southeast Asian nations, loaded north to south with beautiful Buddhist temples, pagodas, and stupas.  I was praying, pun intended, that because we had not been in Asia for a year, that I would not get templed out so quickly.  I wanted to savor it. Climbing Shwedagon Paya As we approached the south entrance of Shwedagon Paya in Yangon, this desire was strong – I felt as though I had never laid eyes on a Buddhist temple before.  It was all new for me.  Like I was a temple virgin.  We took our shoes off, attached them to our bag, and started the slow journey up the covered walk way, fairly unique to Burmese Buddhist temples.  Along the way, we saw some souvenir stands, but most sellers offered Buddha statues, prayer beads, and other paraphernalia for devotees to buy on their way to pray.  I tried not to stop to buy a Buddha statue, which was hard for me to do.  We emerged at the top and stared straight up at the golden stupa, or zedi, reaching over 300 feet high.  It was surrounded on all sides by additional stupas, buddhas, shrines, and worshippers everywhere I turned.  We walked barefoot on the...
Yangon and Tea in Myanmar

Yangon and Tea in Myanmar

We emerged from our friend’s apartment in to find breakfast and tea in Myanmar, realizing how new the city was to us.  Max directed us to a noodle stall across the street.  We had no idea what to order, and, unfortunately no one else was eating there to show us what to eat and how to eat it.  We communicated with the woman using hand signals to demonstrate 2 orders.  Her neighbor seemed to understand us a bit more, and helped her along the way.   Not only was I unsure what we would be eating, how to eat it, and how much it would cost, but I also had no understanding how to communicate with her.  We had yet to master even simple words like thank you, which is a complicated 5 syllable phrase.  My gut reaction twice was to speak in some foreign language.  At one point, I uttered thank you in Vietnamese (the fact that I could remember the phrase in the first place astonished me), then I responded to her with “si si si” at one point.  Embarrassed, I tried to communicate from that point on with nothing more than nods, smiles, and thank you in English. The breakfast was quite good.  A mixture of noodles, cabbage, tofu, and spring roll, with a side of a hot soup to pour on top.  The two orders totaled 1000 kyat, or about $1.15.   We sat on tiny plastic stools, with people staring at us as they walked by.  We were used to feeling this way – teetering on a stool in hopes that we would not...