Myanmar: Myitkyina’s Finest Gentlemen

Before writing about my final two days in Myitkyina, I  need introduce you to a couple of people. But first, I’ll describe where and how we met.

The River View restaurant/beer bar is the best place to eat and drink in Myitkyina. As well as great food and beer, the location allows you to look across the mighty Irrawaddy. In the early evening, you can watch kingfishers hunting over the water close to shore. As darkness falls and more people arrive, the atmosphere can get very lively.

It was early evening and i was sitting at a table overlooking the river and waiting for my beer to arrive. I had a feeling it had been forgotten, and asked the waiter if he could check on my order. The waiter was having a little trouble understanding me, and the two gentlemen at the next table asked if they could help with translation.

With the confusion now resolved, the two gentlemen asked where i was from. They had heard me call the waiter ‘mate’, so thought i might be Australian. But then they thought my accent was probably British. After explaining my links to both Australia and England, I was invited to join them.

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Prem and Raj are originally from Myitkyina, but now live in Bangkok. They went to Bangkok around 13 years ago to look for work due to the limited opportunities at home. They are now employed as tailors in one of the tourist areas and were returning to see their families, and to start off the construction of two houses. These houses would be finished for when they were ready to return to Mytikyina permanently with their families.

I have to say that these guys are absolutely brilliant. We had a great evening, and enjoyed various local dishes and probably a few too many beers. I was absolutely blown away by their hospitality. They told me that they would be a little busy the next day, checking on the progress of construction at their house sites. However, as the night came to a close and i prepared to wobble home, they decided they could settle their matters in the morning, and take me on a tour of the villages across the river. Of course, this would be extremely enjoyable and interesting for me, and so I accepted their kind invitation. As we would mention many time over the next couple of days, if it was not for the confusion over my missing beer they may never have started conversation with me. I’ll be forever grateful for that missing beer, and also to Prem and Raj who really went out of their way to make sure my final days in Myanmar were so much fun. These are great guys, and now good friends.

 

2 Comments

  1. Paul Taylor

    Good experience. I may well have missed it in exactly the same circumstances. I have become perhaps too wary of people using a pretence of local friendliness/hospitality to try to sell you something that I tend to be a bit stand-offish in these circumstances.

  2. carono (Post author)

    There were many times i was approached by locals and without exception it was because they wanted to talk. It was never to try to sell you something or con you. One of the best things about Myanmar is the people 🙂

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