Men in skirts

The men in Myanmar wear skirts.  It’s actually really great- as a traveler, it makes you feel more like you’re in another country when everyone dresses differently than they do back home. You just don’t see that very often anymore in our commonly traveled-to places.

(Thus, my excitement when I saw women in Vietnam wearing those conical straw hats, and my slight disappointment that I didn’t see bunches of geishas running around Japan.)

Kim posed at the airport for our first (stealth) photo of a man in a skirt. The skirts are called longyi, and they are essentially just a length of fabric, knotted at the waist.

Most men seem to wear them with either a button-down or polo shirt. And everyone was wearing flip-flops. Women wear these longyi, as well, but their skirts have different patterns (usually plain or flowered or something jazzy) than the men’s usual blue or green-based plaid variation.

(Photos: The color options at the men’s longyi store.)

And women’s longyi usually have waistbands, whereas for men, the tube skirt is more like a length of cloth which they wrap around themselves from behind and tie into a large knot at the front. And it somehow doesn’t pull open obscenely. Of course, this makes for frequent adjustments throughout the day, so I suppose they have that in common with Western men, anyway.

Most of the younger guys we saw usually stood with a leg/hip jutted out to the side, which is probably a cooler way of standing, and probably also helps to keep the longyi in place. The longyi seem to hit between mid-calf and almost ankle-length, but not all men or women wear them.  There are plenty of people in “Western” garb, too.

I hope this lovely cultural dress isn’t one more thing that disappears as we all move toward worldwide sameness. I tend to think that discovering (and blogging about) our differences is one of the most interesting parts of traveling.

A pause in Myanmar

The internet is a bit spotty, unreliable, slow, and also inconvenient to find here in Yangon, so I probably won’t be able to post anything for a few more days until I get to Bangkok.

BUT, I’ve got some good stuff planned to share with you!  Men in skirts, women in face paint, and mystery noodle dinners without the aid of menus!  And… the impossible search for crab rangoon in Rangoon…