Sunday, December 14, 2014

"From Myanmar With Love" photography exhibition

At the beginning of December we went to see the photography exhibition "From Myanmar...with Love" of Maro Verli, a Greek friend.  She is a young photographer, with a kind heart and a lot of curiosity. The idea of the project took shape after Maro began discovering Yangon and noticing the people's warmth and kindness.

She then visited 4 cities in 60 days and asked the same question to 100 people:  WHAT IS LOVE? She also photographed these people.

Maro sold the pictures during this 2days exhibition, as postcards (with the answer printed on one side) or framed in a big format. We bought both formats and sincerely I could have bought half of the pictures. It is true: printed pictures are so much beautiful than electronic ones.

All proceedings were donated to "A Heart for Myanmar Foundation".

Enjoy Maro's pictures and discover the Myanmar definition of love on her blog:

The Irrawaddy online journal took Maro an interview which you can read here.

Taukkyan War Cemetery

We visited this afternoon the Taukkyan War Cemetery which is in Taukkyan town, Mingaladon Township. It is around one hour drive from downtown Yangon.

We saw the cemetery on our way to Golden Rock, when driving to Bago. We remembered we saw the Top Gear presenters stopping and paying their respects to the fallen heroes of WWII, in their show on Burma.

The cemetery, according to Commonwealth War Graves Commissions is the largest war cemetery from the three which exist in Myanmar. It has today 6374 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 867 of them unidentified.

Inside the cemetery there is also a Memorial which has on huge columns the names of 27000 people who died during the campaign in Burma and who do not have a known grave.

While reading some of the grave stones I was wondering how many grandchildren of these soldiers came to Burma to bring some flowers and light a candle for the loved one?

The locals come here to take a walk, make pictures and hide behind umbrellas while relaxing on the grass. It is for them an escape from the pollution and the noise of the town.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

If you want to relax in Yangon...

...go to a day spa or a beauty salon. There are plenty of them scattered around the city. Below you will find more information about two places I really like.

The first one is called Genky and has two locations in Yangon one of which is in downtown. Genky is not a spa but a physiotherapy clinic which offers massages. The massage rooms are clean and simple. All the masseurs are blind and it is a concept which comes from Japan. The place was established as a Japan-Myanmar Clinic (they also sell the Meso soap there, on which I wrote in a previous post) in order to provide training and employment for the blind community of the city. At the entrance you have a picture of each one of the staff, each having a number (a bit strange), with a short CV. The therapists are all very well trained, and you will get a professional massage for a very convenient price.

Book a massage after a few hours of sightseeing. During the weekend it gets crowded but on the weekdays you just enter, relax in a comfy chair enjoying a foot massage or you lay down on a massage table to have your back treated.

Address: 285, Bo Aung Kyaw Road (middle block)
Kyauktada Township
Tel: 098 615036 (make a reservation if you will visit during the weekend)
Opens daily: 9am to 9pm

The other place is a beauty salon and it is located in Golden Valley (Bagan Township). It is called California Skin Spa and they are using the Dermatologica skin products from the US (which you can also buy there). This is the place to get pampered!

The things I like most about the place are the professional and very nice staff and, of course, the 50% reductions on all treatments on Wednesdays! Without these reductions the treatments are less attractive, with a facial costing around 70 USD and a body scrub 50 USD.  Their facials last for more than an hour, are tailored to every skin type and leave your skin looking fresher and well hydrated

Try it once and you will return! 

California Skin Spa 
32B, Inya Myaing Road
Bahan Township,
Tel: + 95 1 535097, +95 1 501295 (always make a reservation and it is better to pay in USD)
Opens daily: 9am to 9pm

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The National Theatre and the crunchy noises

Yesterday evening we went to the National Theatre where we listened to a concert given by the The Youth Orchestra ASEAN-Russia to celebrate Myanmar's 2014 Chairmanship of ASEAN. We also watched some traditional Myanmar dancing and singing. Beautiful traditional costumes!

The room was not full even if the entrance was free. It was a good concert with young talented artists who played Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Bizet, Verdi...

But the reason I am writing this post is to tell you about the audience and the atmosphere.  

We had heard that when Myanmar people go to the cinema they bring food, drinks and enjoy the movie with loud comments or laughter as if they were in their living room. But we did not know that the same is true for concerts. We would have thought the locals would be, like us, immersed in music. We took our seats and listened to the introductory speech when suddenly, behind us, four ladies took out sunflower seeds and starting eating, making loud and crunchy noises. We looked behind and could not believe our eyes. We moved seats, luckily the room was not full. Nevertheless we could notice some other families with children who where around us and who happily ate and made comments during the performance.

Next time probably we will take a seat in the first row to make sure the music is loud enough to cover these sounds. And maybe the people in the first rows are more interested in the performance than in socialising and eating in a concert hall.