“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Back in Myanmar

Being back in Myanmar is quite strange. I live in such an amazing country—it is full of rich culture and heritage, not to mention its particularly sensitive political situation. When I landed, some things had changed. The renovations on the airport are a little further along, so now, instead of the arrivals hall looking like a moldy ballroom, half has majestic white marble (the rest still has antique looking decoration and tables that were probably installed in the 1970s). The land is lush again, unlike the brown it was before, but like it was this time last year. They’ve had quite a wet time here, but that sounds unremarkable considering it is the monsoon.

The taxi prices are the same, which is reassuring considering the tumulus time just before I left, the City Mart supermarket is still open (though its competitor, Asia Light is not), school hasn’t changed in the slightest (both good and bad), and my apartment is safe and clean. But the weird part is me and how I feel. What an amazing country, and yet it’s ordinary and familiar. I walked to Boyjoke market and it was rather unremarkable in its familiarity. Nothing is exotic anymore. Am I so completely jaded that I feel no response? Or is it still exotic to me, but I’m so preoccupied with being back, life in general, and the world as a whole that I just am not noticing at the moment?

3 comments:

Rama said...

do you still feel this way? maybe travelling so much is palling for you... and it's your subconscious telling you to settle down for a while (even though you ARE in Myanmar for 2 years...)

Natalya said...

Things are still exotic, but Myanmar is not... there are so many things here that wear on you, but that does make it interesting and exciting. I'm just harder to impress, but then I've always been that way, considering my background. I live for the stimulation and thought and feelings and the whole picture, so being impressed is just one factor.

n-bells said...

I think people are such adaptable creatures, it would be impossible to resist becoming jaded, as you put it. Heck, occasionally I get that feeling walking around here on campus. And I've been here 3 years already. Although, of course, it's not really the same.