Around Yangon, Myanmar – February 22, 2015

We started the day in the Bogyoke Aung San Market, formerly known as Scott Market, named after Municipal Commissioner C. Scott, it was later renamed to honor General Aung San. This is the most famous and popular local market in Yangon. The large colonial building was built in 1926, and houses some 1,641 shops selling everything you might want, including jade and other precious and semi-precious stones, handicrafts, lacquer ware, wood and ivory carvings, (no, I didn’t), tapestries, gold and silverware, brassware, silk and cotton fabrics, clothing, hardware, food, and much more.
True to her reputation of knowing the markets and where to find quality products and good deals, Ms. Su Su effortlessly guided me around talking to shop keepers, inspecting and trying on items like the traditional longyis.
After the market we took a driving tour of the Port at Yangon, a bustling place with construction activity in all directions.
In the afternoon I was hosted by members of the Diplomatic Skills Trainees Organization, a group of successful business professionals who associated to mentor other budding entrepreneurs and to advocate for more open trading practices.
We discussed many of the ideas and observations I’ve already discussed here and again, there was general agreement on not only some of the commonalities between Myanmar and Montana and Bozeman but on some of the plan of action I proposed, especially in the tourism sector. Tourism is the sector that the State of Montana and Bozeman both have extensive experience with the challenges and opportunities and establishing some connections here may have the opportunity for the most short term benefit while we work on larger, longer term plans for cooperation in other areas.
Unfortunately, I’m a little lean on photos from yesterday, my phone/camera ran out of space about mid-day but others were taking pictures of the meeting so I’ll try to post some when I receive copies.
Today is my last day in Yangon and Myanmar for that matter. I board the KAL flight to Seoul for the 19+ hour return trip to Bozeman. We are schedule to tour Ms. Su Su’s security company headquarters this morning and have one last meeting this afternoon with the staff of the Director General for National Planning.
This may be the last post depending on time, connectivity and general exhaustion level that has started to rise exponentially over the last few days. I intend to do a wrap-up post once I get back to Bozeman. Thanks for following the journey, providing comments and encouraging these efforts at international exchange and economic empowerment. Thank you to the U.S. State Department and the Mansfield Center at UM for making this experience possible. In my opinion, this type of work is critically important. As the world is made smaller through technology, we must continue to achieve some understanding of one another since our paths, both physically and virtually, are destined for intersection more than ever before. Cheers,
Brit

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City of Bozeman MT
Brit Fontenot | Director of Economic Development
406.579.1302

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