It’s an hour past noon and the passengers were settling in on the plane. As usual I was quick to fasten the belt on my (aisle) seat and ready to fly. This time to Bangkok.
“So where are you from?”, asked the boy who was sitting by the window.
“Philippines”, realizing I’d always smile whenever I say my country.
“..tell me that I look Burmese? Ah yes a lot”
I think he was about to say – I knew it! but then asked “And you’re just traveling in Myanmar?”.
“Yeah”, instantly images of Burma a week ago started to fill my head.
Several confused looks and hand mimes past, I eventually got to the Yangon Central Railway Station which will then take me to the terminal.
“Hi, how do I get here?”, pointing to Paywetseikkon station in the map.
“Paywetseikkon. Ah 15 minutes”, said the boy behind the old wooden table as he write my ticket details. “Okay wait. I’ll show you train later.”
The station was less busy than I thought. No morning madness. Just some people waiting for their designated train, others carrying big sacks, while a couple of young boys were selling what looks to be bottles of water.
The Circle Train literally circles around Yangon which means anyone who is bored can decide to sit and just enjoy the full 3 hour ride into the deep towns. Hop off if you find something interesting then hop back in to the next passing train. Mingle with the townsmen, soak in the common folks life, or just sit in the train station observing how quiet Burma lives.
It was a window on what the real Burmese life is. Away from foreigners, away from tourists. It looked so familiar but it feels so different. And a lot of what I’ve seen during my short time around this railway can only be captured with my imagination.
“So how was it? Did you like it?”, sensing his eagerness I knew he had a wonderful time too.
“Oh yes. Place is amazing. And definitely the culture.”
Meanwhile in the background, our plane’s wheels were up in the air.