Myanmar won my heart right after I stepped out of the airplane in Yangon.
I walked down the street past a mother with her child eating rice. She looked up to me: "do you want to share?" – I was overwhelmed by her generosity and declined.
She looked at her child: "say hello to the foreign girl". The little boy looked at me and waved, a big smile on his face painted with Thanaka: "Minglabar".
Encounters like this kept happening every single day. I talked about European Politics, how Angela Merkel holds her hands funny when talking, how the education system worked and how pretty Myanmar is with people who just came up to me and introduced themselves.
So when I decided to ride the circular railway for a couple of hours the next day, I wasn't as surprised anymore when the cashier who sold me my ticket asked me to just wait in his office, he would bring me to my train when it was there, since it could be "confusing" to find it (it stopped right next to where I was waiting). Try that anywhere else.
While I was waiting, a nun came up to me, telling me about her work in a school, about her home state and what kind of gems are found there. She gave me her phone number, in case I ever needed any help.
Since a big part of the life takes place outside here, you'll basically drive through people's living rooms when taking the train.
In any other place I would not take pictures of people out of a moving train. Here, parents held up their children so I could get a better picture, telling them to smile and wave in the camera.
You will drive by a giant market at Danyingon, where you can get off and then simply hop on the train again an hour later. Food and water are also sold on the train. I didn't trust the open water coming from a bucket and brought my own, but the food was amazing.
Driving through the outskirts of Yangon, you'll also see that it's not all golden pagodas there.
What made this trip special to me, weren't just the sights out of the window but the people I met in and around the train. Being stuck for a couple of hours in my seat gave me the chance to have actual conversations, to get to know more about this amazing country and to see more than just pagodas and markets. I had a brilliant day and miss the people in Yangon already.
I got on the train at the central train station, platform 7