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

Sunday, August 12, 2007

You know you're in a Yangon taxi when...

The driver opens his window for air... and the rain splashes you
One window is shards of glass taped together with cello-tape
There is only one window
The window doesn't open
The window doesn't close
The window handle is gone
The window handle is shared (sitting conveniently between the two front seats)
The car next door goes through a rather large puddle and you get soaked

You sit down and your pants get soaked
You sit down and you're lopsided
You sit down and feel a piece of wood underneath you
You sit down and the spring pokes you

There are ants climbing up the wall
There is no wall--it's just the bare metal car frame
... and said car frame is so rusty it looks like it has sat outside unused for 6 months... or has gone through a war or two
You can see the ground rush past through the enormous hole in the floor
You can see the road through the door
The door is held closed with a little wire hook
There are holes in the ceiling
The front seat is propped up on a piece of wood... and held to the car by a piece of chicken wire
You've been bitten by at least five mosquitoes
You've squashed one of those mosquitoes and it's full of blood (your blood)

It whirrs
It mumbles
It moans
It rumbles
It shudders
It grumbles
It squeaks
It creaks
It goes no faster than 30km/hr

There are red spit splatters all over seat/wall/door
There is an enormous puddle of water on the floor
There should be an enormous puddle of water on the flooor but it has leaked out through the enormous hole...

Our house

So an interesting thing that happened when I got back... maybe I mentioned that we were having some problems when we first moved in. Things breaking... water problems, etc. Anyway, our landlady, being concerned, went to see her monk. She told us that the reason why we were having issues with our house was because the monk had said "something is out of place". Turns out that my Buddha statues should not be on the lower shelf and should face a certain direction. Interesting... I wonder what "element" in my life is so out of whack that I lose data, lose suitcases, lose textbooks, among all the other issues!! Will have to search for it no doubt! :)

Back in Yangon

Well, I've been largely silent on this blog for the last little while... not that I haven't had anything to say, but I'm been too busy doing things to write about it. I've been on three continents, working 2 jobs, etc, etc! Whenever I got near a computer, I also got a little bit depressed because my wonderful external hard drive died. Even though I had the best high-tech classroom at my summer school, the computer had surges and killed my hard drive... a week later it died too!

The hard drive never recovered but I did end up paying Best Buy $160 to back up the data on it... it took a lot of stress, missing my files, rewriting my lessons and around 5 tries (driving each time to the next town over, Amherst. The first time they only copied the stuff I told them was the priority, the second time they missed two folders together worth 15GB, the 3rd and 4th time the power went out in the middle due to a lightning storm, and the 5th time was the night before I flew out of the country, and it still had 50% to go at closing time so a friend and I (my fabulous, patient TA!) sat and watched their big screen tv while it finished). As it was, I didn't get the last DVDs done. To give you an idea of how small a town it was: it was the biggest backup they'd ever done (80GB), and I really stressed the poor workers. What a joke, but at least I got it back. I am now going to scourge Asian to find a fantastic guy to fix it :)

Yangon is the same as ever. All my clothes and shoes went mouldy. I probably should've thrown them away, but instead painstakingly washed and resorted all. I wish someone would organize another one of those boot/trunk sales because I need to sell stuff--both mine and Kate's! (Kate passed through on her way back to Australia, and heads off to Finland next month). It's been raining for ages, and must say I'll be glad when October rolls around and it stops altogether!

As for school, the typical happened... my psychology textbooks won't arrive for another two months. Of course, I expected this and worried about preparation, buying all this stuff in the states, but fate didn't want that. The suitcase that I put all the heaviest stuff into (thus the psych texts) was inconveniently left behind in the car that dropped me off at the airport. I'm still trying to track it down! Also left my uni books in there too... ooops. Haven't even gone online to check up on what's happneing this semester either. I will not stress!!

I'm certainly being tested however, for other than losing suitcase, losing hard drive, losing psych texts, my calling card decided not to work and my fees are due next week. Credit card seems to be having lots of trouble! I also had a new one sent to me in the states, but they sent it to Queenstown instead. My free mouse for my new computer also never arrived! :(

On the positive side, I had a fantastic time at my friend Sarah's wedding in Tacoma. Got to Seattle and to the hotel in the nick of time. It was disappointing that many people from Beloit didn't come... you guys are bums and should call Sarah and apologize!!!!!! We missed you Christy, but completely understand! The wedding was quite lovely. She's part Native American and had a special blanket sharing ceremony which was fascinating and touching. The wedding was held in the Tacoma zoo which was very unusual. The couple had pictures with the female tiger behind--what a neat idea! Afterwards, headed back to the hotel and caught a shuttle just in the nick of time again to go to the airport. Had to pay $350 for my seat (I'dwaitlisted it but never gotten a place), but concluded it was worth it compared to stress, hotels, etc, etc. Long flight home, got changed airline in Taipei due to delays. EVA air is a great airline!

Well, I've been rambling heaps--can you tell I'm trying to procrastinate from my work? I've got to teach a psych class tomorrow with no resources. Yikes. Must go!