The midday sun is scorching the city of Yangon. Buddhists race up the white marble steps of Shwedagon Pagoda to avoid burning the soles of their feet; unlit candles offered to the Buddha dissolve into bright pools of wax; the tyres of my bicycle soften into the tar beneath me, impeding my already sluggish pace. I persevere through the exhaust-fumes-and-heat haze on Shwegondine and Banyar Dala roads, pedal down Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda Street and swerve into Bogyoke Museum Lane where, tucked between embassies, is the house where Bogyoke Aung San lived until his assassination in 1947. He was the father of Burmese independence, and also of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Approaching the gates of the house I discover it is closed today. Kandawgyi Lake is not far from here, so I set off for it on my bicycle, perspiration stinging my eyes. Two women pass by and smile a sweet, fleeting smile. They disappear around a bend, walking towards a future that brightens with each gentle step.