Beer under a banyan tree

Next to the Irrawaddy river

The thing about coming to a new country is that everything confounds you. I arrived in Myanmar and immediately travelled to the banks of the Irrawaddy river. There was a pop-up bar under a beautiful spreading banyan tree and several local boys were sitting and drinking beer under it. The very relaxed setting reminded me of Munich’s biergartens.

Each beer costs about 4000 kyat (around 3 US dollars). The median income is 65,000 kyat. So this should be unusual. Do all these boys earn well over the median income? Probably, since you can see one of them trying to take my photo with a smart phone.

Maybe after a week I would be able to parse the subtle social signals which tell a local which of the many people you pass on a road probably owns a smart phone, drives around in a motorbike or car (imported, as they all are), and could be expected to have beer at a relaxed biergarten.

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Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

7 thoughts on “Beer under a banyan tree”

    1. That was the monthly median income. The mean monthly income is much higher, showing that a relatively small number of people have far higher incomes than the median.

      There is now a minimum wage law which sets the daily (!) minimum wage at 4000 kyat. I do not think that most people I met get this much.

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      1. In Myanmar it is about $2.8. Although you have to compare this to local prices. Someone on minimum wage in Myanmar, assuming 22 days of work, would be probably in the top 20% of the population in terms of earnings.

        Liked by 1 person

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