Revisiting

Going back was a difficult decision but I did it anyway.

After having had such a special experience 'the first time', I was full of internal conflict about going back.  Being lucky enough to have the opportunity to revisit such a special place, I was filled with the irrational fear that it just wouldn't be the same the second time round and would ruin my first time memories.  I was wrong.    

Maintained by kings and queens since the 14th Century, then rebuilt in 1774, Shwedagon Pagoda is 100 metres of gold standing on the top of a hill, above the Myanmar capital of Yangon.  During the day it shines, at sunset it glows, and at night it sparkles for the whole city to see as a symbol of the devout Buddhist culture that exists across the country. 

It took my breath away for a second time and I couldn't stop looking at it.  When travelling in South-East Asia, it's easy to get 'templed-out' - particularly in Myanmar where ancient temples and pagodas abound.  Shwedagon is different and it was easy to spend time there just observing and taking in the feeling of calm that seems to radiate from it - even in the sweltering heat and humidity.  

It was a contrast of old and modern, with a new, free wi-fi zone and dramatic increase in Myanmar locals taking 'selfies'  since my last visit - all evidence that Myanmar is a country on the move after many years of being somewhat sheltered from the technology that much of Asia has embraced.  

Like many things in life, nothing will ever erase that 'first time' feeling but I know now that revisiting is not better or worse - just different.

 

 

 

 

 Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

 Downtown Yangon

Downtown Yangon