Industrial Zone (and First Taxi Negotiation)

Today I had the opportunity to visit the Proximity Designs workshop in the industrial zone. I also went to visit some of the actual manufacturers/suppliers.

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Going out into the field was an incredible experience. The work conditions weren’t the most modern, to put it lightly, and if I thought the fumes were bad from road vehicles, this was at another level.

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I was treated to tea at the place with the blue sign by one of the manufacturers.

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I don’t think I have ever been inside a machine shop in the U.S., but this place looked intense.

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You can see that I’m still in one piece! (although I can’t say I didn’t stick out in the crowd)

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Here are some more of the people behind the products manufactured:

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The tan stuff you see on her face is a paste from tree bark that is supposed to be good for your skin and protect against the sun (wearing this is a local custom in Myanmar):

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It was great to see the Proximity workshop. Here are pictures of the design studio, the wet lab, and one of the manufacturing/assembly floors:

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I also saw some guys out in the driveway playing a ball game. Check out the video I took for one of the points.

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I ended my visit with a lunch with a friend at Proiximity. We ate at a local Burmese restaurant. The food was great, particularly the tea leaf salad (the dish on the front right).

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So late on the day, I had to negotiate for a taxi. There aren’t meters in the taxi cabs, so the trips are pre-negotiated. I was told what the rate should be, so I was prepared (despite my complexion).

It took a couple cabs who didn’t understand my directions until I realized to use the map on my phone as an indicator. It then took another three cabs until I found someone who was willing to accept my price. To be clear, we aren’t talking big dollars here, but it is more the principle. Two cabs stuck firm at 2,500 kyat (~$2.50) although I was asking for 2,000 kyat (~$2.00).

The driver that accepted the 2,000 kyat offer also had what looked like a sweet, custom-fabricated driver seat for ultimate airflow.

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More to come!

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