Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tropical Fruits of Myanmar


Fruit! It’s something I’m really thankful for here in Myanmar.

I’ll be honest, I’m not the bravest person when it comes to trying new Asian foods, especially street food. I do ok if I’m with someone and they can explain to me what I am eating. Other than that I try to be really careful with what I eat.

Thankfully Dave and I live right across the street from a huge local market that sells everything: fresh butchered chicken, fish, fish paste and all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. I'm pretty sure I'll never purchase meat from the market. I think I'd be a vegetarian before I did that. I’ve been told that the train that delivers them stops here first so we get some of the freshest produce around!

Currently strawberries are in season!

There are also a lot of other tropical fruits here that Dave and I have really enjoyed. I’m really thankful because a lot of these fruits were what I ate as a kid in Brazil and it’s fun to be able to purchase them for cheap here in Myanmar. I plan on taking full advantage of that during my time here.

I’ve been trying to go to the same produce stands when I shop so I can get to know the people that I purchase things from. It's been fun getting to interact with the same people. I have shopped at one fruit stand for 2 1/2 months and this past weekend the lady gave me a $.20 discount and finally said "you come back I give discount." I thought that was funny!

Today I wanted to share some pictures of the local fruits we have purchased. I thought it would be fun for you to see what we have over here. I hope to one day take some pictures of the local market so you can see exactly where we go to purchase them. It's always a crazy adventure in that market.

Dragon Fruit – This is new to me since arriving in Myanmar. For starters, it’s just a really pretty fruit. Dragon fruit tastes equivalent to a kiwi but the texture is more dense. We’ve also coined this fruit ‘cookies and cream’ because of the white and black coloring in it.
Price - $1.00 - $1.50 / piece




Oranges and Limes – Limes are much smaller here but they taste just the same.
price of an orange - $.50 - $1.00 / each
price of limes - $1.00 for 4-5


Passion Fruit – Ok, I will admit that this fruit looks disgusting but it tastes amazing! It’s by far one of my favorite fruits and I grew up drinking passion fruit juice all the time as a kid.

You can sprinkle a little bit of sugar on raw passion fruit and eat it or you can blend it in a blender with water, ice and sugar for an awesome smoothie. I’ve also put mango jam and passion fruit on Rotti, which is an Asian version of a tortilla.
Price - $1.00 for 4 or 5 pieces


Avocado and Chilis – Avocados are huge here but I don’t think they are as creamy as the Hass Avocados I purchase back in America. I probably won't purchase these much.

Those peppers – don’t be fooled by how tiny they are. They are spicy! When I went to buy peppers I knew I only needed two of them. The lady that I purchased them from started laughing at me and she threw in a whole handful. They probably think I'm a wimp when it comes to spice.

Price – I forgot! But I’m sure for both the avocado and peppers I paid less then $1.20


Papaya – Papaya is right up there with one of my favorite fruits! You cut it open, scoop out the seeds and take the peel off, and cut it into pieces. It's a large fruit so you can eat it for days!
price - $1.00


Have you ever tried any of the fruits listed here? If so, do you have a favorite?
What is your favorite fruit?
Do you have any other questions about the fruit or markets here?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bagan Golden Palace


Today I’m sharing more about some of the sights we saw in Bagan. We were only there two days and our itinerary had a lot packed in. I recapped our first day where we watched them butcher chickens ran a medical clinic for the students at a boarding school. If you want to read about that you can check that out here.The second day we spent a little bit of time with the students and then went sight seeing.

The city of Bagan is divided into two parts: the New Bagan and Old Bagan. The New Bagan definitely did not look new to me (more about that in my next Bagan post) but compared to Old Bagan I can see why the call it new. The Old Bagn is where palaces from the 11th century are. The palaces are scattered all over and it was fun to drive and just take all the sights in.

Bagan Golden Palace was our first stop when visiting old Bagan. When I read about this palace I learned that it was not actually the original palace or even on the same sight where the original one stood.


The palace was mandated by the government to be rebuilt and it opened in 2008. It was built across from where the original one stood and supposedly the rebuild doesn’t resemble the original palace at all. Lonely Planet even said they think the palace looks like a "Disneyfication" version. The main purpose in the rebuild was to make Bagan a better tourist destination, which I think it definitely does. I really don't mind that it wasn't a replica of the original place because it was just so darn pretty and a great place to walk around and practice my photography. Plus, after you visit here you can walk to literally hundreds of other original still intact palaces.





Here is my nice friend Ehmu and her Mom. They are the ones that invited us to go to Bagan. I'm so thankful that Ehmu and others have been so kind and hospitable during our time here. I can't even express how much it means that a local person would take us on a trip and show us around their country.








Even though Bagan Golden Palace isn’t the original I still think it is worth a stop. Foreigners are required to pay a 5,000 Kyat or $5 entrance fee and walking around the grounds takes around 10 – 20 minutes. It was a really beautiful place and I loved seeing the architect and just how grandiose the whole building was. I definitely recommend adding this on your list if you visit Bagan. 

What are your thoughts on visiting sights that aren't original but rather a tourist attraction? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Never Have I Ever ... until Myanmar


When you move to a different country you always expect for things to be different, for there to be culture shock moments, new things, adventures and frustrations. However, knowing that all those things are coming your way and experiencing them are completely different. Some days I laugh about it, some days I cry and sometimes I just shake my head. It's been an opportunity for me to grow in my faith and for that I'm thankful. So today I'm sharing with you my little "never have I ever ... until Myanmar" list.

Never Have I Ever … until Myanmar 


Never have I ever … been pooped on by a bird until I moved to Myanmar! I  wasn't just pooped on once, or twice but three times with the third time being on Christmas day when I was wearing a new dress. I’m hoping the third time was a charm and that it won’t happen again. 

Never have I ever … had my USD turned down. Many money changers in Myanmar won’t accept our US dollars unless they are brand spanking new. Seriously, this one girl wouldn’t take my nice twenty dollar bills because they were … "folded". I mean they were in my billfold so they were a little folded. I am thankful though because the money changer beneath our apartment so far has taken everything we have given him and he is very kind. I’m super thankful for him!

Never have I ever … seen a more crazy bus system than the one here. It seems to work for the people though so I am glad they have that transportation option. Here is how it works: you know when a bus changes its route and is in need of a new bus sign? Well apparently it is cheaper to hire someone to stand on the step of the bus yelling very loudly the destination rather than paying to get the sign changed. By yelling I mean YELLING REALLY LOUDLY! OVER AND OVER! AND OVER! YELLING! 

Never have I ever … lived so near a fruit market where I can get so many fun and tropical fruits! I love it!

Never have I ever ... realized what looking someone in the eye and giving them a big smile can do. I'm the foreigner here and get gawked at quiet frequently. I'm so thankful that even if I can't communicate their language a smile always communicates. It's been fun to interact with the people here that way.

Never have I ever … been in a grocery store where all the lights go out and everyone but me continues shopping as if it is completely normal.

Never have I ever … had a 2nd grader tell me that over his break he was able to catch a big spider, bake it and eat it. I have no words for that one....

Never have I ever ... been offered to eat chicken and cow intestine until I moved here. For the record I did not eat it. It was in a situation where I could opt out and yes, I definitely did.

And that my friends, is my weird Myanmar Never Have I Ever list! I hope you enjoyed it! 

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Today I am linking up with Kiki and Amanda for The Circle Linkup! If you are a blogger this is a great community for you to join in on!
THE CIRCLE LINK-UP
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Thanaka - A Traditional Myanmar Skin Remedy


Before moving to Myanmar I did some research to find out some of the unique cultural things they offer here. Thanaka was something that came up over and over again and I knew I wanted to try it out.

Thanaka is a paste made from teak wood and is worn primarily by kids and women but men are known to wear it too. It is applied mainly to the face but can be applied to the arms and legs as well. Thanaka is used as a sunscreen and can also be applied onto burns, rashes and other skin ailments.

The paste can be made in a traditional Myanmar way or it can be purchased. Gathering supplies to make your own paste is rather easy as a lot of shopping booths sell the teak wood and the cement block that you need. Something I found very interesting is that every teak wood tree is owned by the government.


To make the traditional paste they take a piece of teak wood a little bit of water and grind it on a round cement block. They keep grinding the teak wood until a nice paste is formed. They then apply it right away. 


I like that thanaka is purely used by Myanmar people and that it is a natural and healthy way to help protect and heal the skin.

Zama and Pam have some friends here who always open their homes for visitors to have a thanaka outing. If you come visit we will take you to their house. The lady who makes and applies the thanaka is Honey and she is such a kind and gracious lady. I’m so glad she opened up her home to us and let us take part in their culture.


Have you ever heard of thanka before?
Would you be willing to try something like this?

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