Recently I went to Myanmar for a two week project to review the capability of a particular Government Department to cope with a foreign aid project. After doing some preparatory in Vientiane I flew to Yangon for some briefing meetings before I flew back to Nay Pyi Taw (the Capital of Myanmar) to meet with Government project staff.
I stayed in the designated hotel zone where more large scale hotels have been built since our last visits to the country. It is standard to have enormous grounds, a huge reception area, a man-made lake that could support a small community, hotel rooms bigger than some people’s houses – and next to no guests. Although in a ‘isn’t-it-a-small-world’ occurrence I did meet another guest also out on a morning walk who turned out to be from Wellington NZ, doing some advisory work to the Union Government.
The offices and methods of working remain quite paper based – but there are some computer screens in the offices I visited this time. However wooden desks, wooden chairs and plastic event chairs remain the standard issue.
The project people I was talking with were enthusiastic with their information and treated me well with tid-bits of food and other special treatment.
After a number of meetings and discussions I flew back to Yangon for the weekend. It was interesting to be able to see the amount of change in the city in the two years since I was last there. The number of vehicles have increased exponentially and traffic jams seem constant now. And there are new buildings (office and apartment) appearing everywhere. I would love to know who is funding them.
Being April, the weather was constantly hot, but I did some walking around. And I was able to catch up with on old NZ mate which was fun and we headed down to 19th Street for excellent BBQ dining accompanied by some good local beer.