Monday, January 21, 2013

The Rangoon (Yangon) train station slum children, with photo gallery - Burma

A father kissing his child at Rangoon central station
We are not interested in the majority of Yangon monuments and museums: the entrance fees are exorbitant and you never know exactly who is pocketing them and what they are used for. Besides, for a westerner who is not a Buddhist art expert after a while those pagodas tend to look all the same. Every day in the late morning we go out with our cameras, we have lunch and then we stroll around, with a vague idea of where to go for the first half hour, and totally aimlessly after that. We come across curious corners, scenes, people, buildings, and our afternoons pass so fast.
One day we walk into an alley near the railway station, we pass a heap of rubbish where two scrawny dogs are having a feast, we proceed between two rows of wooden restaurants, barber shops, grocery stores and teahouses - the further into the alley we walk the more run down the structures become - then we turn right, we cross a narrow bridge over a canal whose radioactive water flows around isles of trash and we finally find ourselves in the main square of a slum.
The adults look curiously at us, some of them smile, others don't. The children draw near with shy little steps and then, after we've shown them the pictures we've just taken, they pounce on us, invite us to take more photos of them, bring there their friends or little brothers and sisters, tug at our t-shirts to see themselves in the pictures and make fun of one another. Their clothes are dirty and their hair infested: I normally suffer of numerous imaginary dermatitises and already start to feel itchy, but they soon make me forget about that. They fall over the stained ground, their flip flops slip on the gutters, they get covered in dust and grime, they keep laughing, embarrassed or amused, who knows. Someone opens the gate to the railroads for us: people are sitting, walking, peddling among the parked or slowly moving trains. There is even a shepherd with three goats.
Here are a few photos (they were taken with a point and shoot camera and I don't know much about photography, but I think that the subject is what matters here):

Wrapped in a sack in the filthy alley

You won't take a photo of us, damned tourist!

The novice

A little group you have my little brother as well



Unstable balance

Another little group

Stuck out tongue

Hold on a second, let me see what you have there...

This guys is too is another photo of him

More photos of the slum and its surrounding

Sitting down and having a the middle of the street!

A little shop with a chair on the roof

Another dingy shop with a guy saying hello

A Burmese rocker walking among the trains

A shepherd and his goats on the railroad

Railroads at sunset

A family on the railroads

Burmese ladyboy

Boat shaped street stall


The radioactive canal


Typical slum house

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