Pathein was our first stop that branched off Myanmar's main tourist circuit. The difference was immediate. I've never said "hello" (Ming-la-bah!) to more people in a day.
Our hotel, the best in town, reeked of cigarettes and bleach so we spent all but our sleeping hours wandering the streets visiting the handmade umbrella workshops that gave the town its reputation. My fondest memory of the place is resting at a lakeside tea shop (little plastic tables and squat stools) and striking up conversation with a student who explained how he ran a Facebook-based tarot card fortune telling business to help young burmese find love.