Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 90 - Schwedagon Pagoda

I survived the 16 hour bus ride on an empty stomach and arrived in Yangon at around 5:30am, taking a shared taxi cab ride to the hotel. Luckily, they had a room available for me to doze off in for the next 5 hours since sleep was seldomly achieved on the entire bus ride.

I woke up to a rainy Yangon, which continued throughout the day, so very little was explored of the city. Plus, I had already been in this city at the beginning of my trip here. Given all the sights I had seen and all the cities I visited, this city has got to be my least favorite of all of them. It's the least clean, rainiest, and least easy to traverse on foot.

I decided I would visit the main attraction of the entire country, the place that clearly symbolizes all of Myanmar – the Shwedagon Pagoda. I decided I would give in and pay the $5 entrance fee to the government given all the details I learned throughout my trip. Five dollars really wouldn't help the government all that much, and I'm sure some of the money went to the maintenance of the Pagoda, since this was the MAIN ATTRACTION. Neglect of other sights could be excusable, but not at the Shwedagon Pagoda.

I took a taxi with my new Japanese friend, who I met on my three day trek in Kalaw. The pagoda was very impressive, not just in size, but in the glimmer that was created by the lights at night. It was almost as if I was in Hollywood, or Las Vegas, given the grandeur of the structure. I believe the entire center Pagoda was covered with a sheet of pure gold, which gave it a unique luster that was not seen at any of the numerous other pagodas I had seen throughout the country.

I found it fitting that I would come here to see this pagoda as the last attraction on my last full day in Myanmar.

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