Back in Yangon

Burmese food is definitely underwhelming. It was especially bad in this hotel on the lake. It’s a rare thing that I can’t find anything I like on a breakfast buffet, but here I couldn’t!
Burmese cuisine is somewhat a mix of Indian and Chinese, but it seems to have left behind the best of both. It doesn’t have much flavor and is very greasy.
We left the hotel on a boat, saying goodbye to this magical place – I don’t know how long it can remain so unspoiled!
We are back in Yangon now. Really, one day in Yangon would have been be enough. We saw another pagoda, another buddha, another temple, two white elephants on the display to the public, chained to the poles with short chains, which didn’t allow them much room to move around, so the poor creatures were performing a kind of an elephant foxtrot, trying to to get out or get some exercise. A sad sight: these magnificent animals dancing around their poles, trying to free themselves from the slavery with their trunks, to no avail.
Traffic here is insane. Moving a short distance from one destination to another can take an hour. We went to a gem factory and to another market, this one – a poor city market catering to the locals with cheap clothes, jewelry, fruits and vegetables. There was one shop selling vintage and antiques that had a magical vibe about it. The kind of a shop where one could find a mogwai. I didn’t find a mogwai, but a finely crafted marionette of a garuda dressed in silk and other finery. I almost bought him but then decided against it because the carver did such a good job that the garuda was giving me the heebie jeebies.
After the market, we headed for the synagogue. This synagogue was founded in 1893 by a group of Baghdadi Jews who moved to Burma to conduct business. Once, there were 2500 Jews in Burma but now there are less than 20 left. This might have been a Jewish neighborhood once but it’s mostly Muslim and Hindu now. What will happen to the synagogue when the present caretaker dies? Will it still be here in 50 years or will it be turned into a mosque, erasing the last remnants of Jewish life that once thrived here…
The son of the synagogue caretaker invited everyone who came to the services to be his and his family’s guests at a Sabbath dinner in a fancy restaurant. So we joined a group of British tourists, an American couple from another tour, who sought out the synagogue, a man from Connecticut who has been coming to Burma since 1971, and last but not least, the Israeli ambassador to Myanmar, and had a lovely Sabbath dinner under the stars of Yangon.

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