This weekend I joined some friends on a hike, about 2 hours north of Yangon. The city has a small reputation for not having lots of options for day trip getaways, particularly in the rainy season. A short jungle hike certainly is an option if spending time outdoors is your thing.
Not necessarily a challenging hike but the monsoon, the changing weather conditions and the (at times surprisingly pleasant) weight of constantly being wet add a flavour to the walk. In an odd way, the mud and humidity reminded me of hiking in the rainforests of British Columbia. Except for fewer bears and more machete wielding to make way.
As cities around the world are slowly starting to ease their lockdowns, so has life started to return to Yangon. Having spent most of the last several months cooped up alone in the apartment, there is a well-developed itch to spend more time outdoors. Case loads in Yangon have been low and life has been rushing to “normal” for several weeks. Traffic feels like it’s almost back to its usual chaotic self, street vendors have taken back their corners, construction workers are back to laying bricks.
An upside to having my routine disrupted is that it rendered time for reflection of what it is I enjoy and don’t enjoy spending time on. Photography being one of the former, I rushed myself out for an aimless wander … for the first in a loooong time. I first thought I’d challenge myself to try something new and stick to shooting only in black and white. But it turns out I had missed colour more than I thought – a black and white wonder around town will have to wait for another day.
There was little deliberation about where to go on my first outing outside of the regular shopping trips – downtown, no question. Maybe it’s the lockdown effect but even after 4 years of living here, a few hours of an afternoon sun interrupting the monsoon rains are still just as exciting. On days like today, it’s hard not to feel that downtown Yangon is just magic. It’d take more than than a short blog to muster a description worth the city’s energy. You’d have to content with what comes out of the back of the camera.
Stay safe and take care of others, wherever you are!
P.S. I’ve been testing a vintage 50 mm Minolta lens. If you find some pics out of focus, it’s because I’m still feeling my way around its focus ring 🙂
Last week celebrations were on for the Thadingyut Festival (သီတင်းကျွတ်ပွဲတော်). It’s a Burmese Lighting Festival that takes place on the full moon of the Burmese Lunar month of Thadingyut. Celebrations are spread over a number of days with a downtown street blocked off from traffic and absorbed by a wave of people every evening. Vendors pay for a spot to set up shop offering all sorts of goods and services; from tattoos to underwear sale to a bucket of insects to munch on just a stall over.
I unfortunately, didn’t have much time out with my camera and would have to limit this post to a few random shots of some of the street vendors hard at work.
It’s been so long since my last post I almost forgot this website is still up and running. There’s been plenty of material to post, though unfortunately not as much in motivation or discipline to do so. As I’m starting a new adventure all of the mentioned should be in large supply.
I took this photo on an old train line that wraps around the city of Yangon. The train travels at a leisurely pace, not in any rush to get anywhere fast. That doesn’t seem to bother the passengers who are all smiles, and some even peak out the window for a light breeze.