tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN December 23, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
prancercise, you don't need equipment, but just a spring in your step and music in your heart. ♪ ♪ ♪ i don't care what anyone says, prancercise rocks! >> well, we ask you to stay tuned on this edition, and anthony bourdain, parts unknown, starts now. chances are you haven't been to this place. chances are this is a place you
in the capital city of myanmar, it is dark, blackouts are frequent with the ancient power grid. what sources are light there are in the street cast an eerie, yellow-orange hue. 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 median, where orwell
had once served as a colonial policeman where he had grown to despise the state, became even more orwellian in a nation where even having an opinion could be dangerous. >> i am very honored to be here at this university and to be the first president of the united states of america to visit your country. >> morning in yangon, to nearly everyone's surprise, there have been some huge changes in recent months. >> any time with transition. >> nobel prize winning champion, aung san suu kyi has been
released from prison. and my crew has shown what has been seen for decades. meanwhile, the people there are collectively holding the ing th breath, waiting to see what is next and if the loosening of the grip will last. of course, morning in yangon has always been about tea. it is black indian tea, with condensed milk. you want it sweet? less sweet? very sweet, strong, less strong? everybody has a preference and a preferred tea shop where they know presumably how you like yours.
>> very sweet. >> the journalist and publisher, we meet at the tea shop. >> this place means a lot of things, not just a place for breakfast and snacks. >> for 50 years, under paranoia and repression, they were secrets of the not so guarded daily news, where you tried to piece together the news. carefully, of course, because informers and secret police were also heavily represented in these hot beds of sedition and discontent. so given your profession, how have you managed to stay out of prison? >> no, i was there two times. one time, they said will you please come into our office and talk. so i was there. 89 days in prison.
there was this very serious control that came with the past scrutiny and registration. >> that doesn't sound good. >> we sent in our copies to that office. they the took a look at everything, they said take this down, black this out. >> magazines that would come into the country, they would literally cut out the pieces. >> so people in this kind of area, i think they become more creative. carefully, there is something between the lines. >> something you were accused of. sending secret messages. >> in the back, a cauldron of salty little fish bubble over hot coals. fingers of sweet bean, one of the fillings for the variety of pastries that are shaped and put
in an old wood stone oven. in another corner, the heartening slap of fresh bread, pressed against the clay wall. and of course, eggs bob and spin in the magical broth of spices and herbs. correct me if i'm wrong, if there is a national dish, would it be this? >> well, take a look at this. this is indian, this is chinese. this is a local thing, and popular in the city, but also in the rural areas, too. a fish paste with rice. sometimes we put in some crispies like fried beans. these are leaves and lime. >> sprinkle some in here. hm, good texture. >> particularly in light of obama's recent visit, these are
interesting times. significant changes for the first time in 50 years. >> yes, there is one thing that is quite significant. take a look around. >> all kinds of people, all age groups, let's say a couple of years ago, people would be talking about other subjects. you turned up. and you're whispering. now a days, people are more out spoken. the government is more open. people are relaxing the rules about censorship. years ago we would be called into the office. the boss, okay, 48 years and 28 days of censorship is gone. that is it. >> feel good? >> yeah. that is what we have been waiting for, for so many years. >> i love that. it is a careful yes. >> first, people within the country, we have some doubt about okay, is it real? the changes in the reforms? but now, it is about a couple of years. and then now people are starting to believe, maybe it is real.
>> the process is still very young. but it is still possible. and when they say enough is enough, let's turn back. i'm optimistic about all the changes of the reform. in yangon, motorbikes are out lawed. it is the bus for me. something seems almost out of sync. not too long ago, even filming here as an open professional western film crew would have been unthinkable. in 2007, a journalist was killed. be seen talking to anybody and
there would likely be a knock on your door in the middle of the night. but now, a few smiles, and indifference, shocking how the government is starting to relax its grip. >> we love to eat, and don't forget, for 50 years, we were under two dictatorships, so not a lot of things to do. we got together, shared food. >> this is a famous and very controversial figure in public life. myanmar or burma? >> myanmar, because that is the original name since the 13th century. >> she has also spent time in prison. but after coming out aft three years, she became in the minds of many, an apologizist for the regime, fairly or not, i'll leave to others.
>> sometimes, i think it is only after the military that things happened. it became a frozen state, like snow white. dead. >> but her many well known books on the culinary traditions of myanmar make her a compelling advocate for burmese foods. >> so you're very passionate. >> it is just i like to eat and i eat like a pig. >> this is yangon's restaurant. >> i think the best of our food, i'm going to order a lot of salads. it is good to be sort of like a tasting thing. >> there is pig head salad, long bean salad with sesame and fish sauce, even this salad, indian style. everything is out there first time. no second course. >> no, no, if i'm invited to a friend's house, the table would be covered with dishes, covered.
>> and it is really about the interaction about the color and flavors of dishes, and different. >> different. >> wow, i'm in love. that is good. and of course, there is the maddeningly delicious variety of pickles, with which to make each dish your own. >> this is something very confusing in general, in this part of the world. everybody eats everything differently, so very much to their taste. >> anything goes. >> anything goes. >> with every mouthful, you can make it as different as you want.
this is cnn. ♪ ♪ ♪ credit cards accepted almost nowhere. cash machines, no. wi-fi, internet? rare. 3-d, you have to be kidding. if you need to exchange money here, only crisp, absolutely new hundred dollar bills are accepted. in myanmar, it is another, older world. oh, and what is up with this? with all the kissing sounds,
that smooching, kissing sound you hear all over the place? my wife would have been in like ten fights so far. sorry? what are you smooching at? this? this is how you summon a waiter in myanmar. i know, try that at hooters and you will be rightly ejected. it takes some getting used to. this is a noisy fish house. this is a coastal province to the west, one of over 135 ethnic groups here. they tell me you have to eat the frogs from the river. the tomato curry, look at this, good sauce. that is some good stuff, my friend. 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 of these years. these are the offices, businesses, and public buildings of the british colonials. this building was once one of the finest department stores in rangoon. a century ago in kipling's people, mandolay was beckoning the young british citizens, here you could buy liquor and cigars,
few of the buildings are in good repair. and there are different opinions on whether they want to revive them. for others, colonialization, for others, the vestige of a golden time. these days, in myanmar, in the streets, on the docks, it is all about moving forward. in an economy ripe to explode if things continue trending in their current direction, the busy hustle and bustle of the port appears busy today as workers prepare for the coming holiday. hey, chef? how are you doing? >> it figures, doesn't it. >> it does, welcome to myanmar. >> the owner of my old restaurant. >> it seems only natural that you would be in burma/myanmar,
same time as me. >> back before i wrote the book and changed to whatever it is i am today, this guy sent me to japan and got me hooked on a continent. >> there we go, nice. >> chicken head. >> that is the perfect mood awakener. >> felipe travels constantly. he has been bouncing around asia for many years. like all good travellers, he is curious and without fear. it makes perfect sense then that over the cold brew in the port, felipe is working on this particular area. >> it is going to be a party. full moon party. what that means, we have no idea. >> we don't know. there is only one way to find
out, i suppose. ♪ ♪ ♪ well, sounds like a party. >> oh, it gets crazy from now on. it is 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, items, tube socks, just like a new york street food. but with much better food. >> these guys are really good. what is flying, this morning. >> it is the back bone of every street fair in the world, deep fried food. >> that is right. and they also have a little
butter where they break an egg in it. one shot. pretty good. that is it? this is so tasty. much less greasy than i thought it would be. >> a crispy little bird? i'm all over it. >> good beak, too. >> good bea k.crispy and tender. >> the power source is not unusual for these parts. it is not electric. it ain't gas. oh, are you kidding me? it is human power. an absolutely insanely dangerously closely watched giant, getting it in motion and gets it up to top speed and
keeps it there. >> wow, look at this tilting out, too. note to foot wear, by the way. not just this one, every couple of blocks, bigger and bigger ferris wheels, each one with its own troupe of acrobats. cnn implicated in the death of four underage carnies. if i had any idea i never would have taken the ride, says bourdain. >> no, i don't think so. hard making a buck, but again and again, the seats are loaded with smiling families. the team climbs on board and the circus begins again. >> good luck, may you return to earth with all of your limbs intact. [ male announcer ] the new new york is open.
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yangon, what is happening is probably pretty similar. a tableau of dancing, body painting and car mounted speakers are blasting. but it is also three days of merit accruing, the practice of working on good works, in hopes of your karma being pushed up. many moments of spiritual reflection. the majority of people here practice buddihism, the oldest, more conservative form of the religious, that pretty much believes that there is a continuous cycle of birth, death and re-birth.
>> very noisy, yes. the morning star tea house, where i have come for a couple of reasons? the most favorite reason, the fermented tea leaves. i know, it doesn't sound good, but you would be wrong to think that. take the ferment tea leaves, add cabbage, peanuts, season it with lime and fish sauce. this is absolutely delicious, simple, delicious, things not to be taken for granted if you have been in and out of the joint like this guy. activist, and three-times convict. everybody i meet has been in prison almost.
>> nearly six years, all the judgments are made, and the army, and therefore, three officials sitting altogether, they read it altogether. this is your sentence, it happens only in minutes like that. what is life like in prison? >> nice, nice, very nice, we can talk to each other, you know, saying some things. and use a mirror to look each other. >> access to books? >> no books, no writing things, no paper, no, nothing at all. a mat and a blanket. and a plate. and a bowl. only these are the things that we possess. >> how is the food in prison? >> soup, rice with pea soup, only one meat meal for a week, that is on thursday. you know in prison, all the fish has no body, only the head and the tail. no middle part. it can look like this. >> so there is hope for this
country in your view, yes? >> yes, especially, the buddhists believe how to live in situation, dictators, political pressures or even discrimination, everything is happening to us. but the buddhists say okay, that is about past life. if we do something, the next life will be good. >> there is something pretty cool about meeting people who have been for so long unable to speak. now, so unguarded about their hopes and their feelings.
this is yangon's 19th street. does yangon rock? >> it is like mexico, like when you are in yangon. >> meet the burmese punk rockers, "side effect." and lead singer, darko. >> you can come here any time and there will be lots of people here. >> so if you sit here long enough you will meet every musician in town. >> yeah, you could say that. >> the city-wide curfew means you close your doors at a certain time, but most places like here means you can eat late at night. >> this is barbecue? awesome. >> these young men show exactly how determined you have got to be to rock. especially in burma. >> i would like to say the name
was nirvana. >> what american bands do you hate? >> creed. >> yes? they are like the worst band in the history of like the world. so what is it like having an indy band in myanmar? is it difficult? >> for sure, for sure. yeah, before you record the songs, so like when you have the lyrics, you have to submit the lyrics. so they're going to censor it and check it. and even if sometimes they will you know, suggest you some words to change. >> that must be funny. >> very funny actually, you know. >> is that still the case? >> no, it is not like that anymore. they're not going to censor you, but it is going to be kind of risky because you don't know
what is going to happen to you. if you write and sing something wrong. >> so let me ask this, if all of your dreams came true, where would you want to play? >> new york city. >> you want to go to new york city? >> it is my dream. just need to be strong. >> that is what i keep telling my band mates. come on, be strong, have faith. >> so to help people reach out to you. truly independent rock and roll is even harder and i'm guessing that making it here is harder still, so gentlemen, you deserve some success. people should hear you. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here and pay no taxes for ten years...
happen. >> take our clothes off now? >> cnn, new year's eve, with anderson cooper and kathy griffin, starting at 9:00 eastern. >> i love it. so you heard this -- >> the what? >> the dining car -- >> we lost a dining car, i hear? >> we lost a dining car, but even our original sleeping car lost a wheel, so we have to hope for the best. >> the night express, 600 kilometers of what will turn out to be kidney softening traveling by rail. but the ancient capital, i have been told, is a must-see. >> the true old ancient experience, the engine is an engine from the '70s. >> we have been told it is a somewhat uncomfortable ten-hour
trip. so really, the journey is come back on a train or coffin. mishaps on burma's trains are, shall we say, not unheard of. >> so that may be the signal to depart at some point. >> yes, all aboard. whoa, we're moving, here we go. here we go. that is it, we have the cruising speed -- >> really? this is the cruising speed? you can literally outrun this train. >> we could jog ahead, have a nice meal in some recommended restaurant. >> we can catch up with it. >> the walk. >> here we go. >> this is stop number one of
75. heading north, the 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 only to one of these groups, actually. what they all seem to have in common, though, is a face paint
made out of tree bark that marks many of their faces. it is jarring to see, but quickly becomes something you get used to and take for granted. yangon's gravitational pull granted, and it picks up speed. at times, it is very scary. >> they have lost how many rails yesterday, on this one train? so it is about being in the right car. the one that keeps its rail. >> derailments or rail slips, as
they are referred to here, is somewhat more benign occurrence let's say than rolling off into 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. >> i mean, it must be what, about 40 or 50 miles an hour at this point. >> i wonder if anybody has flown right out the seat, out of the window. you don't want to be like holding a lap dog. >> or a baby or anything. i mean. >> try going to the bathroom and find yourself launched straight up into the ceiling, bringing to a rude conclusion what was already an omni-directional experience. >> smooth now, very relaxing.
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>> is a moe is a? . >> yeah. 1,000? >> 1,000. >> done. now, this is breakfast. >> nearly 19 hours into our ten-hour trip in the night express to bagan lurches and bounces onward over old and poorly maintained track. >> fly back to new york for breakfast. i have time. >> what's yours? >> arrowroot. >> potato. >> how do you make good food pretty. look at this. >> a bouquet of fish. >> indeed. >> this is the plain of bagan.
>> out the window, the modern world seems to fade away, then disappear all together, like the last century never happened, or even the century before that. we're traveling across the 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 -- going on that 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 death in the thu kine 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. >> all right. bagan, here we come. a thousand 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 spirit-based believes co-exist with more recent buddhism. and in myanmar, worship of the gnats are wore shipped, they're
more like greek gods, former humans, 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. but i'm not just here for a nat pue. i have a list. things to eat in myanmar. 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 you want to scream out for mercy, slow simmered curry served with
a side of sour soup made from rozelle leaves. with it you get fried ground chilies, pickled bean sprouts. you get the idea. these relishes, the dippy type of things, really interesting salad, but i'm not really a salad guy. salads here are happening. spicy, sour salty, it's delicious. delicious. a plethora of textures and flavors. they thought a lot about their food and clearly like eating, like feeding people. think a lot about the balances of flavors, colors and textures. best restaurant in the country so far by the way. [ male announcer ] the new new york is open. open to innovation. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan --
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♪ you'd expect this, an ancient city of nearly unparalleled size and beauty to be overrun with tourists, snack bars, tours on tape. but no. >> this is stunning. >> you'll encounter western travellers at bagan's temple sites for sure but they are a hearty bunch. even the bus tours here are not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. but for the most part you are more likely to bump into a goat than a foreigner.
>> this is so beautiful. so much like an ode to human believes and ador ration and worshipping. >> slave labor. >> and slave labor. you build this many temps thousands of them in a short period of time. chances are someone was working for less than minimum wage, let's put it that way. >> oh, sure. you could fly here. look at that. >> a millennia ago in a period of 250 years, over 4,000 structures like this were built here. they say that a king began this project after a conversion to buddhism. he started a new temple every 14 days.
over 3,000 pagodas, temples, and monasteries remain today. inside almost every one of them, a buddha figure, each one of them, different. >> and i like how integrated it is with the frieze, postures. >> funny you mention that. people used to live here and the government came along in the '80s and relocated them. it was a mass relocation project. any homes, it was understood this is a 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 small numbers for a long time but it's the flood gates have opened. they are building hotels like crazy in this area called the tourist triangle. >> what is this here? this is a scarf.
>> as myanmar begins the shift to accommodating tourism and the service economy to go with it there will be adjustments. there will be a downside. >> what is that going to mean? how will burmese react to all of the good and evils that come with tourism? it's going to be mobility. it's going to mean prosperity for some. it will mean a lot of bad things too. it will mean prostitution. it will mean hustling. >> everybody tell it to you. you buy -- you don't buy -- that's no fair. >> i don't need it. >> kids are dropping out of school to do this. the double-edged sword of the service economy. >> you want one for $5. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
>> what i'm amazed is how friendly and open people are with us. it's easy for me to say whatever i want about the government. me can go home. our lives will go on. we don't pay the price for that. 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 nice to us but said i've already been in jail. you know, i really don't want to go back. it's a very real concern. what happens to the people we leave behind? one would think you can win freedom. they tasted freedom. you know, you can put the toothpaste back in the tube. you know, 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 so long, sleeping, a 50-year nightmare for many of its citizens finally maybe waking up. to what? to what? time will tell. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com pity the salary man. tokyo's willing cog in an enormous machine requiring long hours, low pay, total dedication. and sometimes, what's called koroshi, death by overwork. here in a society of tight spaces, the pressure is on to keep up appearances, to do what's expected, to not let the