Live from the CIP Lounge in Suvarnabuhmi Lounge, Bangkok
We know that there at a lot of our friends, relations, guests and contacts out there who follow our beings and doings these days. And we feel that a lot of you are a little ‘considerate’ when you ask to our Tings Yangon Hotel: They have been working on the project for a year now – and still NO Hotel… It is as if you are afraid to ask and at the same time are wondering: What are Thomas and Annette doing if they don’t have a hotel? Well – we understand you. Especially all of you who started following us after we opened Tings in Kathmandu. The rest of you know about the time it took us to find the right house in the right location AND all the troubles we went through before we finally got the house ready and started working… Right now we’re sitting in the lounge and ask ourselves the same question. What have we spend our time on the previous two weeks?
Can you imagine how it is to set up a new home/office in Yangon? After more that 4 years in Kathmandu we thought it would be a piece of cake.
Our new studio and office is working – or at least it was when we left it Friday 🙂. We had HUGE problems the first week. We had NO water where it was supposed to be… we could not cook, we could not use the toilet etc. In return we had water a lot of places where it was not supposed to be. Before we moved on new windows was put up, but wrongly, so water flooded down our newly painted walls on to the floors.
Finally we didn’t know how the water system works in Yangon (in this part of the world water is a mystery that varies from country to country). We know NOW! We have to start pumping up when a ‘person’ turns on the water supply to our house. This happens around 10 am and sometimes in the evening around 8 pm. If you miss these hours YOU WON”T GET WATER!!! So we had to plan all our activities and meetings around the water pumping schedule (after 10.30 am).
Further more most of the electricity didn’t work. When the electrician came and opened the sockets we found out that some of them were COMPLETELY EMPTY – no wires inside – which means NO ELECTRICITY.
The fun part of moving to a completely empty place is to furnish and equip the place. In our case we have to create both an office and a place to live. So we did a LOT of shopping – for household stuff (kitchen & bathroom), flooring, furniture etc. To us its like a being kids in a big playground. Create interesting things by using whatever is available – like our bed which was inspired from the pallets the shops use to transport fridges etc.
The positive thing is all the experience and knowledge we gathered in the process. We know how water works, we have numbers of a few very good workers and names of workers we will NEVER see again. We know what it cost to start up a kitchen – and what the key problems will be when we start up Tings Tea Lounge (one of them is to get a decent professional oven for our bread). We have the numbers for a couple of food/ingredient wholesalers, we know the prices in restaurants and cafes, we know prices of fruit, vegetables, fresh fish etc in the market and most important – we know where to find potential staff.
Still we had a a lot of time to kill – a lot of waiting, a lot of in-between-time! We use the time starting up our new web shop: Tings@home (working title)
If you followed this blog when we were starting up in Lazimpat you will know that we did a lot of things that had absolutely NOTHING to do with hotels. Especially mois. I taught business at a college, I started up a small web company and got involved in a lot of art stuff, while Annette was looking into massage oils, soaps and pashminas. Here in Yangon its Annette who takes the lead in our side business. Her new collection of Tings Rings where she combines the high quality precious stones from Myanmar with the fabulous silver smiths in Patan in Kathmandu and creates the most fantastic unique jewelry based of her customer’s wishes, personality etc. is becoming increasingly successful. So she spends a lot of time finding the right stones, getting contacts to reliable suppliers
When we returned from one our many travels to Myanmar 10 years ago we brought a couple of the hand made parasols with us home. Since then we had dreamed of improving them and importing them to Denmark.
Our close friend Ingrid who visited Yangon in January started this project up with help from Annette. The first shipment (just a small one with samples) was shipped from Yangon Friday. This is not something you just do. Annette had to go to the workshop in Pathein twice for quality check etc.- leave at 5 am an return at 6-6 pm – and the payment, shipping etc took us most of an other day.
Tings Rings & Tings Burmese Parasols will be some of the products’ people can buy from our up-coming Tings@home webshop – with already classics like Tings Pashminas, Tings Soaps and all other future products from around the world.
But what about the house hunting?
Our search for house is going well. We still haven’t found the right one. And sometimes it depress us. But then – we get calls from someone who shows us houses that are perfect for our plans but somehow still not perfect enough to start up. BUT it shows us that there are houses out there waiting for us. We just have to find them – and there is only one way to do this: Keep searching online, in papers, by calling scouts and real estate agents and by spreading the words… this is a full time job!.
One of the reasons why we haven’t decided on a house yet is not only because of prices, conditions etc.
One our main problems is the location… In Kathmandu we have a criteria that says: In walking from down town.
But where is down town in Yangon? Yangon keeps changing.
Every time we leave Yangon we have found at least one lively part of town we didn’t know existed or a part we knew about that has changed completely…
This time we fell in love with Sanchaung and a small part of Bahan TS.
And we also found a few new bars where we easily could see ourselves as travelers… Like Fatman just around the corner from our office/home and Vista Bar where you get the best view of Swedagon.
Every time that happens out side our priority neighbourhood we rethink our plans… when we left Yangon Friday we’re almost 100 % sure that the first house we fell in love with is wrong…
How do we find all these places?
Well – when we’re not working on the projects mentioned above we spend the rest of our time looking around… one of the reasons why we are a popular hub among the free individual travelers in Kathmandu is because we know what is happening and know what we like, and what not. These information we share with travelers who ask.
So if you are on the way to Yangon and have questions or need inspiration… don’t hesitate to contact us.
Annette & Thomas