Often with traveling or living abroad a seemingly mundane experience can turn out to be something of great intrigue. I went to acquire a printer which by any measure fits the definition of “mundane” and further falls under the category of “necessary evil”. Like going to the dentist. My experience shows that Printer companies told their engineers to assume the mantra of Henry Ford who reportedly said “I will give you the car if you contract the parts through me” Replace that distributor with a thimble sized ink cartridge needing replacement and you have a financial winner. We found a particular model online boasting a larger ink reservoir said deliver printed pages in the thousands. Done deal!
We hailed a taxi and experienced yet another bumpy and congested ride that delivered us to our downtown Yangon destination. It is called “Technoland” and best described as the Myanmar baby-brother version of Best Buy with that noxious overwhelm of the big box store. Technoland is located on a street full of other technology based businesses with wares ranging from computers to phones to audio systems. (The Burmese love to play music and speeches very loud.) Yangon likes to keep similar industries located together on the same street or neighborhood. I know not if all plumbing supplies on one lane stems from a military command-economy of the past or simply emblematic of SE Asian culture but it is nice if your looking for piping, electrical, whatever. Just how it is.
After making a purchase we had to wait for the salespeople to unpack the device, plug it in and complete a test print. These things always take several people to complete and our salesman was insistent. Perhaps to many times they have been burned by Chinese knock-off that failed to deliver on the faux brand name stamped on the device. (Makes you wonder if that Johnny Walker Red for $20 at the liquor store is really Johnny Walker and not a repackaged Chairman Mao simple grain whiskey.) Technoland’s proving it was real process was going to take 20 minutes which by international standards is time for a cup of coffee.
We stepped out the front door to locate a local tea shop and scanned up and down the street to see only electronic gadgetry. Lo and behold just across from us was Moe Coffee Shop. Interesting name. I don’t know if they forgot the possessive apostrophe-“s”, misspelled “more” or named it after one of the Stooges. Legitimate options. We ambled over with aromatic anticipation only to be shocked and bemused by polka music booming from loud speakers in each of the corners. The oompahs’ immediately conjured images of stout madchens fisting eight steins of lager and tables of lederhosed’ Germans performing the chicken dance. Not typical Yangon music nor imagery but it worked. Some credit to Moe Coffee house for this irregular sound because do boast a music theme. Photos of Elvis, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and more decorate each of the walls. There was no jailhouse rock.
A quick search of TripAdvisor surfaced nothing as Moe’s is not a member of this tourist app. Isn’t everything rated on TripAdvisor? The eventual upward glance up from my screen presented yet more intrigue in the form of a high-end stereo system complete with Bose speakers in each corner and a stack of amplifiers to provide the juice. Behind the counter was an older man easily in his 70’s operating it all with racks of CD’s on shelving behind. I think that was his only job. Surely all electronics were purchased within a stones throw of the front door. As I marveled at Bavarian rhythms my disappearing Americano gave way to a funky Latin beat and eventuality of Ritchie Valens. That matched my caffeine buzz. Myanmar, Burmese culture, Polka, La Bomba. Beautiful.
So I found a new spot in downtown that is unique and off the beaten path. Nothing special about the coffee but an elder DJ and jukebox possibility of Johnny Cash is enough of a draw.