If you like watermelon, laughing or napping and have 3 hours spare then hop on the train and keep reading….
Any waste gets thrown off the train….
If you’re selling watermelons, bread, cigarettes,…you hop on, sell and then move to next carriage at the next stop….
Guys smoke cigars, friends chat, mothers and children eat snacks and look out the window.
Or if tired take a nap…
It’s a cornucopia of life…
The carriage door and windows frame the world outside the train as you pass by. Locals working, cleaning, playing, waiting…..and the stray dogs and cats abound.
Random stops, delays are just part of the fun. It’s never dead quiet – somewhere there is hammering, idle chatter, and the distant play of children.
Over the three hours peanut shells hit the ground, big baskets for transport come on, betel nuts are chewed, naps are taken, big smiles abound and it goes on…
The most chaos happens 90mins into the journey, at Mingaladon station, the furthest from central station. Baskets and bags of goods – fragrant spices, plants – it gives the carriage a food smell – are thrown on to the train – through windows, doors, it’s first in to get the floor space as it is covered in minutes. Cries, grunts, and then laughs as relief sets in as your spot on the train is secured.
Close to the end a group of young kids hop on, goofing off, posing for photos, thats cool they say as they look at my phone. And on way off at next stop they sing it’s gangum style – just like my kids are singing at home – there is no escape – the song is everywhere!
It might be the best $1 you spend in Myanmar for 3 hours of street theatre, on the move. And its the part of Yangon that is not changing!
How – leaves from Yangon central railway station several times a day in either direction for us$1, you can hop on and hop off if you want to explore some distant local suburbs. My train was scheduled to leave at 1010am.