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Project 3 -- Myanmar

By Paul Padegimas


          Myanmar, or Burma, was an absolutely incredible place, unlike any that I have ever experienced before.  The city of Yangon, the only city that I visited in Myanmar, had a very different feel than the other major cities I had experienced earlier on this voyage around the world.  While everywhere I had visited in the country exhibited a rich vernacular culture, I could find very little evidence of efforts made to globalize this city.  One thing that shocked me the most was the absolute unavailability of ATMs and vendors which accepted credit cards.  To me, in a world linked more by finances than anything else, this was unheard of.  Given, there were places we visited thus far that had limited credit card acceptance, the fact that there were no ATMs anywhere for those who did not carry enough cash on them made it seem as if we had traveled back in time when we entered Myanmar.  Understood that there is an incredible lack of infrastructure in this country to base credit card and ATM networks on, it still was shocking to see that there was absolutely no acceptance aside from in a couple of the fanciest hotels.

            Also, while in Myanmar, I realized that, though not overtly apparent, if one looked a little closer it was not incredibly difficult to tell that it was not a free society.  On the outside, most places seemed like those in other less developed countries.  However, if one actually talked to the people, it became apparent.  Though people would not hesitate to talk about politics, they would only discuss them in a way much slanted towards the positive when referring to the Burmese government, and showed no true support for the institution of democracy.  I believe that this would be mostly due to fear of the kind of things that occurred in Stephens' article, “The Heart of Burma.”

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