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tv   Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown  CNN  August 20, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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>> anthony: chances are you haven't been to this place. chances are this is a place you've never seen, other than maybe blurry cell phone videos,
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old black-and-white newsreels from world war ii. chances are bad things were happening in the footage you saw. myanmar -- after 50 years of nightmare, something unexpected is happening here. and it's pretty incredible. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, la, ♪ sha, la, la, la, la, ♪ >> anthony: in yangon, capital city of myanmar, it's dark. blackouts are frequent with the ancient power grid. what sources of light there are in the street cast an eerie,
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yellow/orange hue. for almost 100 years under british rule, this was rangoon. in 1948, after helping the british fight off the japanese, and with a new taste for self-determination, the country gained independence. after a decade of instability, however, the military consolidated power and never let go. elections? they came and went. the results ignored, opposition punished or silenced entirely. burma, now myanmar, where orwell had once served as a colonial policeman, where he'd first grown to despise the apparatus of a security state, became more orwellian than even he could have imagined, a nation where even having an opinion could be dangerous. >> president obama: i am very
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honored to be here at this university and to be the first president of the united states of america to visit your country. >> anthony: morning in yangon. to nearly everyone's surprise, there have been some huge changes in recent months. >> aung: the most difficult time in any transition is when we think that success is in sight. >> anthony: nobel prize-winning democracy champion aung san suu kyi, for nearly 15 years under house arrest, was released, and has now taken an active role in politics. just as the door is opening, my crew and i are among the first to record what has been unseen for decades by most of the world. meanwhile, this southeast asian country of 80 million people is collectively holding its breath, waiting to see what's next. and will this loosening of government grip last?
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of course, morning in yangon has always been about tea. it's black, indian-style tea, usually with a thick dollop of sweetened condensed milk. you want it sweet, less sweet, very sweet, strong, less strong? everybody's got a preference; everybody's got a preferred tea shop where they know, presumably, how you like yours. >> u thiha: i said i'm only less sweet, and a bit strong. >> anthony: journalist and publisher u thiha saw. we meet at the tea shop. >> u thiha: anything could happen in a tea shop. this place mean, uh, a lot of things, not just a place for breakfast and snacks. >> anthony: for 50 years of paranoia and repression, tea houses were also the main forum for guarded and not-so-guarded discussions of the daily news,
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where you tried to piece together the real stories behind the ludicrously chopped and censored newspapers. carefully, of course, because informers and secret police were also heavily represented in these hotbeds of sedition and discontent. so, given your profession, how ve you managed to stay out of prison all of these years? >> u thiha: no. i was there. >> anthony: oh, really? >> u thiha: two times. >> anthony: two times. >> u thiha: once special burma police called me. "hey, u thiha saw, will you please come into office? we need to talk." >> anthony: right. >> u thiha: so i went over there and the total was 89 days in the prison. there was this very serious control that came with the first military government. >> anthony: right. >> u thiha: press scrutiny and registration. so -- >> anthony: oh, that doesn't sound good. >> u thiha: we need to send in our copies to that office and then take a look at everything. they would say, "take this out. take that out or black this out," or just, "take the whole story out." >> anthony: magazines that would come into the country would --
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they cut out, literally cut out the pieces. >> u thiha: well, the people under this kind of tight censorship, people become more, i think, creative. take a look, careful reading, there may be something between the lines, messages. >> anthony: right. it was something you were accused of, uh, sending these secret messages. in the back, a cauldron of salty little fish bubble over hardwood coals. fingers work mountains of sweet bean, one of the fillings for the variety of pastries that are stuffed, shaped, and put into an old stone oven. in another corner, the heartening slap of fresh bread, pressed against the clay wall of a tandoori. and, of course, eggs bob and spit in the magical hell broth of fish, spice, and herb. mohinga? uh, this i must have. correct me if i'm wrong, if there's a national dish, a fundamental, most beloved dish, would it be -- would it be this?
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>> u thiha: yeah, for example, take a look at all this sweet stuff. this is indian. these are chinese, et cetera. but then mohinga is a local thing. and it's popular not in the city but also in the rural areas, too, in a fish base with some rice or noodles. we would sometimes -- we put in some crispies, like fried beans or -- >> anthony: mm-hmm. >> u thiha: fried. >> anthony: mm. >> u thiha: so, these are some coriander leaves. >> anthony: yeah. >> u thiha: you can mix some -- some limes. >> anthony: sprinkle some in here. mm. good textures. particularly in the light of, uh, obama's recent visit, these are interesting times. significant changes for the first time in, you know, 50 years. >> u thiha: yeah. there's one thing which is quite significant. for example, take a look around. all kinds of people, all age groups. but a couple of years ago, people would be -- when you're talking about politics, you -- you tone down. >> anthony: right. >> u thiha: i mean, you would be whispering. but nowadays, people just being more -- are being, uh, outspoken. so, this has all become much more open.
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in last july, they're sort of relaxing the rules about censorship. august 20th, we were called into the office, we being publishers, editors. and the director general of the department said, the boss, "okay, 48 years and 20 days of censorship is gone. that's it." >> anthony: feel good? >> u thiha: yeah. that's what we've been waiting for so many years. >> anthony: i love the answer. it's a careful yes. >> u thiha: yeah. first, people within the country, we have some doubt about, "okay, is it real, the changes and the reforms?" but, as now it's about a couple of years, and then now people start believing that, "oh, maybe, maybe it's real." the process is still very young. it is still possible when the generals stop and think, "okay, that's enough is enough. let's turn back all our stuff." i'm optimistic about the changes and the reforms. but i'm still cautiously optimistic. >> anthony: in yangon, motorbikes are outlawed.
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why is a matter of much rumor and speculation. so, it's the bus for me. something seems almost out of sync. not too long ago, even filming here officially as an open, professional western film crew would have been unthinkable. in 2007, a japanese journalist was shot point-blank and killed filming a street demonstration. be seen talking to anybody with a camera and there would likely be a knock on your door in the middle of the night. yet so far, confronted with our cameras, a few smiles, and mostly indifference at worst, shocking considering how recently the government has started to relax its grip. >> ma: we love to eat. and don't forget, for 50 years, we were under two dictatorships, and especially under some
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socialists, you have not a lot of things to do. but, you know, cook and share food and -- you know. >> anthony: this is ma thengi, a famous and very controversial figure in public life. myanmar or burma? >> ma: myanmar, because that's original name since the, uh, 13th century. >> anthony: ma thengi, like u thiha saw, has also spent time in prison. but on emerging after three years, she became in the minds of many an apologist for the regime. fairly or not, i leave to others. >> ma: sometimes, outsiders, um, act as if, you know, it's only after the military junta went away that, you know, things happened. first we were sort of, like, in a frozen state, like snow white. dead. >> anthony: but her many well-known books on the culinary traditions of myanmar make her a compelling advocate for burmese cuisine. so you're very passionate about the cooking and the cuisine here, and -- >> ma: well, it's just that i
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like to eat and i eat like a pig. [ chuckles ] >> anthony: this is yangon's restaurant. >> ma: salads, i think, are the best of our food. i'm going to order a lot of salads that you haven't had. you know, it's going to be like a sort of a tasting thing. >> anthony: there's pic head salad with kaffir lime leaf, long bean salad with sesame and fish sauce, penny leaf salad, even this salad of india-style samosa. everything's out there at the same time. >> ma: yes. >> anthony: no first course, second course. >> ma: no, no, no, no. if i'm invited to a friend's house, the table would be covered with dishes. >> anthony: right. >> ma: covered. >> anthony: and it's really about the interaction between a lot of colors, textures, and flavors in one dish -- >> ma: yes. yeah. >> anthony: or -- >> ma: different. >> anthony: different. >> ma: yeah. >> anthony: wow, i'm in love. that's good. >> ma: yes. it is. >> anthony: and of course there's the maddeningly delicious condiments and pickles with which to make each dish your own. >> ma: you make a lot of different combinations with each mouthful. >> anthony: ah. and this is something very
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confusing in general in this part of the world. everybody eats everything differently, to -- very much to their taste. >> ma: anything goes. >> anthony: anything goes. >> ma: you make -- every mouthful you can make as different as you want. (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even mer-mutts. (1940s aqua music) (burke) and we covered it, february third, twenty-sixteen. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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if you need to exchange money here, only crisp, absolutely new $100 bills accepted. in myanmar, it's another, older world. oh, and what's up with this? with all the, uh, kissing sounds, that smooching, kissing, you know, sound that you're hearing all over the place? my wife would have been in, like, ten fights so far. sorry? who -- who are you smooching at? bitch? this is how you summon a waiter in myanmar. i know. i know. try that at hooters and you will be rightly ejected. it takes some getting used to, for sure. this is a big, noisy seafood house where fish is prepared in the style of rhakine, the coastal province to e west named for the rhakine people, one of over 135 distinct ethnic groups around here. see, now we're talking.
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you know, prawn curry is one of those -- one of those things everybody tells you you got to eat here. prawns from the river, in tomato curry. i tell you this, good sauce. oh, that's good. that is good, my friends. we shall know them by the number of their dead. early morning in yangon. among the crush of commuters, shoppers, people trying to make a living, rise up the last remnants of empire, faded, often crumbling, but still there after all these years. these are the offices, businesses, and public buildings of the british colonials. the sofaer building was once one of the swankest department stores in rangoon.
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a century ago, when kipling's poem "mandalay" was beckoning the overheated imaginations of a generation of young englishmen, here you could buy fine egyptian cigarettes, french liqueurs. the floor tiles were shipped over from manchester. now, people live here. a half-century as a pariah state has left very few of these buildings in good repair. and there are divergent views on whether to preserve them. for many, a reminder of colonial subjugation. for others, a vestige of a golden time. these days in myanmar in the streets, on the docks, it's all about moving forward. in an economy ripe to explode if things continue trending in their current direction, the busy hustle and bustle of yangon's port appears even busier today as workers prepare for the oncoming holiday.
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>> philippe: hey, chef. >> anthony: hello. >> philippe: how are you doing? >> anthony: it figures, doesn't it? >> philippe: yeah, it does. welcome to myanmar. >> anthony: philippe lajaunie, owner/proprietor of my old restaurant, les halles. it seems only natural that, uh, you'd bee in burma, myanmar, at the same time as me. back before anything, before i wrote the book that changed my life from broke-ass utility-grade chef to whatever it is i am today, i'd never been to asia until this guy sent me to japan and got me hooked on a continent. >> philippe: but there we go. >> anthony: oh, nice. chicken head. yeah. >> philippe: that is the perfect mood awakener. >> anthony: oh, yeah. philippe travels constantly. he's been bouncing around asia for decades. like all good travelers, he's relentlessly curious and without fear or prejudice. >> philippe: it's fantastic. >> anthony: it makes perfect sense, then, that over cold brew and chicken necks in the port of yangon, philippe is the one
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joining me to explore this particular moment in myanmar. >> philippe: that's the money tree. >> anthony: oh, it is going to be a party. >> philippe: yeah. >> anthony: full moon party tonight. >> philippe: full moon party, that's right. >> anthony: now, what that means, we have no idea. >> philippe: we don't know. there is only one way to find out, i suppose. well, it sounds like a party. >> anthony: oh, it gets crazy from now on. it's full moon day, a holiday marking the end of the rainy season. and today marks the beginning of three days of break out the crazy. giant speakers compete for attention, everybody cheerfully oblivious to the distortion. cotton candy, trinkets, tube
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socks, just like a new york street fair, but with infinitely better food. oh, are these the little birds? >> philippe: yeah. these guys are really good. was flying just a bit earlier this morning. >> anthony: i'll tell you, it's the backbone of every street fair in the world, isn't it, deep-fried food? >> philippe: that's right. and here they also have the -- the little, uh, uh, batter, where they break a quail egg in it. one shot. it's really good. that's it? he's happy? all right. this is so tasty. much less greasy than i thought it would be. in fact, rather delicate. >> anthony: yeah, any time you tell me "crispy little bird," i'm all over it. >> philippe: good head. good beak, too. >> anthony: good beak. >> philippe: crispy and tender. >> anthony: oh, and they have rides. check this out. okay, it's a ferris wheel, but the power source, not unusual for these parts, is not electric. it ain't gas. oh man, are you kidding me?
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it's human power. >> philippe: you have to see it to believe it. >> anthony: an absolutely insanely dangerous, closely choreographed process of first getting the giant, heavily-laden wheel in motion, and then getting it up to top speed and keeping it there. wow. look at this thing tilting out, too. >> philippe: that's the break. three guys the other way. >> anthony: note the footwear, by the way. and it's not just this one. every couple of blocks, bigger and bigger ferris wheels, each one with its own troop of acrobatic spinners. and sure, going for a ride is tempting, but -- "cnn host implicated in death of four underage carnies." that's the thing just came off the hinges, and next thing you know it was rolling down the street and sending those kids flying. "if i'd had any idea, i never would have taken a ride," says
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>> anthony: next day in the full moon festival. and whether you're looking out the window at a rural village or at the streets of yangon, what's happening is probably pretty similar, a tableau of dancing, body painting, car-mounted speakers blasting. but it's also three days of merit accruing, the practice of performing charitable or otherwise good works in the hopes of jacking up your karma. money trees are paraded around pinned with cash donations for monks. free banquets and feasts are held. and many moments of spiritual reflection.
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the majority of people here practice theravada buddhism, the oldest, most conservative form of the religion, which, simply put, asserts that existence is pretty much a continuous cycle of suffering through birth, death, and rebirth. noisy today. >> zarni: very noisy, very noisy, yes. >> anthony: the morning star tea house, where i've come, well, for a couple of reasons. reason one -- the must-have, bone-deep, old-school favorite around here, la pet tok, the salad of fermented tea leaves. i know. that does not sound good. but you'd be wrong to think that.
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take the fermented tea leaves. add cabbage, tomatoes, lots and lots of crunchy bits like toasted peanuts, season with lime and fish sauce. this is absolutely delicious. >> zarni: you like it? >> anthony: oh, yeah. it's fantastic. >> zarni: yes, yes, fantastic. >> anthony: simple, delicious. things not to be taken for granted if you've been in and out of the joint like this guy, zarni bo, activist, astrologer, and three-times convict. yeah, everyone i've met in this country so far, in fact, has been to prison. it -- it seems, uh -- >> zarni: yes, this happens again and again for us in myanmar. >> anthony: for almost six years? >> zarni: six years, nearly six years. >> anthony: about six years. >> zarni: all the judgments are made by the kangaroo court. the navy, army, and the air force, these three officials are sitting all together. they read off, uh, "this is your sentence," like that. >> anthony: right. >> zarni: it happens. only minutes. pst, like that. >> anthony: uh, what is life like inside prison? >> zarni: nice, nice, very nice. [ laughter ] >> anthony: i have a hard time believing that. >> zarni: no. very nice. we can talk to each other, you know, saying some things. and we use a mirror to look each other. it's very nice. >> anthony: access to books?
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>> zarni: no book. no writing thing. no paper. no, nothing at all. a mat and a blanket and a plate and a bowl. >> anthony: right. >> zarni: only these are the things that we possess. >> anthony: how's the food, the food in prison? >> zarni: soup. rice with pea soup, only one meat meal for a week. that's on thursday. you know that in prison, it ends in prison. all the fish has no body, only the head and the tail. no middle part. i can look like that. >> anthony: so, there is hope for this country in your view, yes? >> zarni: yes, yes, especially with the buddhist belief, you know, how to live in situations. dictators, you know, and the political pressures, or even discrimination, everything is happening to us. but the buddhists say, "okay, that's about past life love. if we go do something, the next life will be good." >> anthony: there's something pretty cool about meeting people who've been, for so long, unable to speak, now so unguarded about their hopes and their feelings.
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[ burmese singing ] >> anthony: sizzling meats, the clink of beer glasses, ringing bicycle bells. this is yangon's 19th street. does yangon rock? can it rock? >> darko: 19th street is like a must-go place when you are in yangon. >> anthony: meet burmese punk rockers side effect and lead singer darko. >> darko: uh, you can come here anytime. it will be lots of people, like here. >> anthony: so, if you sit here long enough, you'll see every musician in town? >> darko: yeah, you could say that. >> anthony: the citywide curfew used to mean, "close your doors at 11:00 p.m." most shops and restaurants still close early, but not here on 19th street, where you can eat
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barbecue late into the night. wow. what do we have here? what, uh -- grilled tofu? >> darko: yeah. and this is a pork tail. >> anthony: pork tail, oh. >> darko: yeah. >> anthony: this barbecue is awesome. these young men show exactly how determined you've got to be to rock, especially in burma. >> darko: i like to say my early influence was nirvana. and then, sex pistols, ramones, and stuff like that. >> anthony: what american bands do you hate? >> darko: especially, uh, um, creed. >> anthony: yes. >> darko: yeah. [laughter ] >> anthony: they are, like, the worst band in the history of, like, the world. so, what's it like having an indie band in myanmar? is it a little difficult? >> darko: for sure. for sure, yeah. before you reconnaissance or, you know, like, when you got the lyrics, you got to submit the lyrics. so they're going to censor it.
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they're going to check it. and even sometimes they -- they will, you know, suggest to you some words to change. >> anthony: oh, that must be funny. >> darko: very funny, actually, you know? >> anthony: now, is that still the case? >> darko: now, it's not like that anymore. they're not going to censor you. but it's going to be kind of risky, because you don't know what's going to happen to you if you write and sing something wrong. >> anthony: so, let me ask this. if all your dreams came true, where would you want to play? >> darko: new york city. >> anthony: you want to go to new york city? >> darko: yeah. oh, it's my dream. you just need to be strong, so that's what -- that's what i keep telling my bandmates, you know, "come on, be strong. have faith." so. >> anthony: so i hope people reach out to you, because making rock 'n' roll is hard enough. truly independent rock 'n' roll en harder. and i'm guessing that making it here is harder still. so, gentlemen, you deserve some success. people should hear you.
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>> philippe: so, you heard the sleeping car lost a wheel? >> anthony: the what? >> philippe: the sleeping car lost a wheel, uh, and the dining car. so, we get a new -- >> anthony: well, no, we lost
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the dining car, i hear. >> philippe: we lost the dining car, but even our original sleeping car lost a wheel. so, we just have to hope for the best. >> anthony: the night express to bagan, 600 kilometers of what will turn out to be kidney-softening travel by rail. but bagan, myanmar's ancient capital, i've been told, is a must-see. >> philippe: the true old english experience. the engine is a french engine from the '70s. >> anthony: we've been told it's a somewhat uncomfortable ten-hour trip. so really, the question on this end of the journey is, come back on the train or flying coffin? mishaps on both burmese planes and trains are not, shall we say, unheard of. the widowmaker express. >> philippe: the -- uh, that is the choice. so, that may be the signal to, uh, depart at some point. >> anthony: yeah. all aboard?
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whoa, we're moving. here we go. >> philippe: here we go. oh, that's it. we have reached our cruising, uh, speed. >> anthony: really? this is cruising speed, we think? >> philippe: just a bit. [ chuckles ] >> anthony: you could literally outrun this train. >> philippe: we could jog ahead, have a nice meal in some, uh, you know, recommended, uh, restaurant. >> anthony: we could catch up with it. >> philippe: it's like the digestive, uh, walk. there we go. this is stop number 1 of 75. >> anthony: heading north, the
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scenery opens up. the space between things gets wider, more pastoral, and more beautiful. looking around at my fellow passengers, it could be hard to distinguish between the 135-plus ethnic groups that make up the burmese population. the very name "burma" refers actually to only one of these groups. what they all seem to have in common, however, is thanaka, a face paint and sunblock made from tree bark that masks many of their faces. it's ubiquitous here. at first jarring to see, it quickly becomes something you get used to and take for granted.
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yangon's gravitational pull broken, and with darkness falling, the train picks up speed. at times, terrifyingly so. >> philippe: i mean, this thing is going to derail at some point. they have lost how many wheels yesterday on this one train? so, truly, it's about being in the right car, the one that keeps its wheel. >> anthony: derailments, or "rail slips," as they are referred to here, a somewhat more benign-sounding occurrence than, say, "rolling off the tracks into a rice paddy," are not uncommon. and one can't help wondering what the engineer and conductor are thinking as the train speeds heedlessly on, faster and faster.
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>> philippe: i mean, it must be, what, about 40, 50 miles per hour at this point. >> anthony: i wonder if anyone has ever, like, flown right out of their seat, out the window. >> philippe: yes, small people, sure. >> anthony: you don't want to be, like, holding a lap dog. >> philippe: or a baby, or anything. i mean, it's -- >> anthony: yeah. try pissing in the bathroom and find yourself launched straight up into the ceiling, bringing to a rude conclusion what was already an omnidirectional experience. it's smooth now. it's very relaxing. >> philippe: what kind of beer did he have? i want the same. dude. cleans so well, it keeps your underwear cleaner. so clean... you could wear them a second day. charmin ultra strong. it's 4 times stronger, and you can use up to 4 times less.
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>> philippe: samosa? samosa? >> girl: yes. >> philippe: yeah. 1,000? >> girl: 1,000. >> philippe: okay. done. now, this is breakfast. >> anthony: nearly 19 hours into our 10-hour trip, and the night express to bagan lurches and bounces onward over old and poorly maintained tracks. could have flown back to new york for breakfast. i -- i had time. what's in yours? >> philippe: carrots. root. >> anthony: i got potatoes in mine. >> philippe: how to make good food pretty. look at this. >> anthony: a bouquet of fish. >> philippe: indeed. so, this is it. this is the plain of bagan. >> anthony: out the window, the modern world seems to fade away, then disappear altogether, like the last century never happened, or even the century before that. we're traveling across the
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largest mainland nation in southeast asia. but it should be pointed out that we are still within the confines of the tourist triangle, areas permissible for travel. whole sectors of this country, much of it, in fact, are off-limits. simply put, there is shit going on they do not want you to see. a low-intensity conflict with the ethnic kachin tribe would be one of them, a wave of persecution and deaths in rhakine state. the country may be opening up at its center, but all along the edges it's waging a desperate war to hang on to the status quo. needless to say, the status quo is not good. >> philippe: all right. bagan, here we come.
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>> anthony: 1,000 years ago, bagan was the capital for a long line of kings. it's the sort of place where the old coexists with the even older. as elsewhere in this part of the world, in many of the buddhist temples here, far older animist spirit-based beliefs coexist with more recent buddhism. and, in myanmar, worship of the nats is widespread. nats, as i understand it, are more like greek gods, former humans, demigods, spirits, often with very human qualities and failings. dance performances pay homage to the individual nats, performers claiming to actually channel them, bringing about, one hopes, a beneficial spiritual possession.
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but i'm not just here for a nat. i have a list -- things to eat in myanmar. and this is one of them. chicken curry. and from roadside joints like this, nestled among the temple ruins, you're more than likely to catch a very enticing whiff. just delicious. spicy, but not to the point that you want to scream out for mercy, but some heat. slow simmered curry, served with a side of sour soup made from roselle leaves. with it, you get fried, ground chilies, pickled bean sprouts -- you get the idea. they always have, like, these relishes, these dippy type things, these, like, really interesting salads, and i'm, like, not really a salad guy. the salads here are, uh -- they're happening. spicy, sour, salty, savory, just delicious. it's delicious.
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a plethora of textures and flavors. this is a culture that's thought a lot about their food, clearly like eating, like feeding people. they think a lot about those classic balances of flavors, colors, and textures. best restaurant in the country so far, by the way. ♪ the bud light party is for everyone. men bar crowd:yeah! women bar crowd: woo! people of all genders! we don't care we'll sell you beer. we'll sell you a beer any day of the week. steel mill workers: yeah! ♪ this car is traveling over 200 miles per hour. to win, every millisecond matters. both on the track and thousands of miles away. with the help of at&t, red bull racing can share critical information about every inch of the car from virtually anywhere. brakes are getting warm. confirmed, daniel you need to cool your brakes. understood, brake bias back 2 clicks. giving them the agility to have speed & precision. because no one knows & like at&t.
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>> anthony: you'd expect this, an ancient city of nearly unparalleled size and beauty, to be overrun with tourists, souvenir shops, snack bars, tours on tape. but no. >> philippe: oh, this is stunning. >> anthony: you'll encounter some western travelers at bagan's temple sites for sure, but, generally speaking, they're a hardy bunch even the bus tours here are not for the faint of heart or the weak of spirit. far more likely to bump into a >> philippe: this is so beautiful, so much like an ode to human, you know, beliefs and
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adoration and worshiping and -- and -- >> anthony: slave labor. >> philippe: and slave labor. >> anthony: i'm thinking, you build this many temples, thousands of them, in a relatively short period of time? you know, chances are somebody was working for less than minimum wage, let's put it that way. >> philippe: for sure. ah, we could fly here. look at that. whew. >> anthony: a millennia ago, in a period of just under 250 years, over 4,000 structures like this were built here. they say that a king began this project after a conversion to theravada-style buddhism. they started a new temple, like, every 14 days.
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over 3,000 pagodas, temples, and monasteries remain today. inside almost every one of them, a buddha figure, each one different. >> philippe: and i like how integrated it is with those trees, ox trails, and -- >> anthony: actually, funny you should mention that. people used to live here, but the government came along in the '80s, i believe, and relocated. it was a mass relocation project. >> philippe: right. >> anthony: so, any homes, anything, it was understood that this is a good -- you know, there's some tourist bucks here. they relocated the entire population. we're in one of the first mass waves of tourists. european tourists have been coming here in relatively small numbers for a long time. but the floodgates have certainly opened.
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they're building hotels like crazy around this area, what's called the tourist triangle. >> philippe: i really like this, too. >> woman: this is silk and cotton poly. >> philippe: and what-what is this here? oh, this -- this is a -- this is a nice cloth. >> anthony: as myanmar begins its shift towards accommodating increasing tourism and a service economy to go with it, there will be adjustments. there will be, of course, a downside. >> girl: now, how much you pay? >> philippe: okay. >> anthony: what's that going to mean? how will the burmese react to all of the goods-good and evils that come with tourism? >> girl: okay, mister. what about -- you pay one, okay. >> philippe: perfect. >> boy: it's perfect, yeah. >> girl: excuse me. >> anthony: it's going to mean mobility. it's going to mean prosperity for some. will mean a lot of bad things, too, you know. it'll mean prostitution. it'll mean hustling. >> philippe: here you go. >> girl: okay, my booth. fine restaurant. >> boy: so. thank you very much. for your health, for the children. >> philippe: okay. and you, too. >> boy: yeah. >> philippe: you think so. >> girl: everybody is selling to you, you buy, you pay 20. you buy, you buy. >> philippe: i know, i know. but you don't buy postcard. now, that's no fair. you buy postcard, also fair. but i don't need the postcard. >> anthony: we're told that kids are dropping out of school to do this, the double-edged sword of the service economy. >> girl: you want to buy postcard? for, uh, only $5. one, two, three, more, five,
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six, seven, eight, nine, ten. >> anthony: what i'm amazed is how friendly and open people are with us. i mean, it's very easy for me to sit here and say whatever i want about the government. right? we can go home. you know. our lives will go on. we don't pay the price for that show. uh, everybody who helped us could very well pay that price. it should be pointed out that a lot of people did not. a lot of people were very nice to us but said, "look, i just -- i've already been in jail." you know? "i don't -- i really don't want to go back." um, it's a very real concern. what happens to the people we leave behind? you know, one would think that you can't -- once freedom -- you know, they've tasted freedom, you know? well, uh, uh, you know, you can put the toothpaste back in the tube you know? uh, there's no doubt about that. but for the moment at least, things seem to be moving in the right direction. a country closed off to most for
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so long, sleeping, a 50-year nightmare for many of its citizens, finally may be waking up. to what? time will tell.


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