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

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Myanmar musings

It�s been a bit of a hectic week, or at least it feels like it! Last week was my B day week�the worst. I have my heavier day three times, and it sucks. Plus I had an assignment due on Friday, which I finished and submitted, only to discover it was actually due on Saturday, and didn�t have to stay up all Thursday night to finish it.

On Friday, there was a mega monsoon storm here. It was like that crazy one we had last April. At around 1pm, we all had a note delivered to our classrooms saying that students could leave when their rides came. A key to chaos, if you ask me: either dismiss them or not. So I tried to have half a lesson, but then let the students go in disgust. The elementary school had a foot of water. At least this time they had sandbags ready, but it still seeped in. The guards were catching fish on the soccer field!!!! I�ll upload some pictures soon. So we headed out, taking a long route home, thankfully in a big bus! Hayley had a birthday get together, but everything was flooded so many didn�t go. On Thein Byu Road, where the restaurant was, it was flooded. Taxi just barged through! The new American embassy had a little do to open it�s Marine Bar as well, so headed to that afterwards. A humongous tree fell down right in front of their property and knocked out the lights for the whole area. Isn�t it silly that an embassy built in the tropics doesn�t even have covered walkways to get around it? And of course we had to check our umbrella at the gate!! Driving home was insane�the top of Kaba Aye Pagoda road had around 3 feet of water. We were in a big SUV, and it came up to the bonnet of the car. When we went through we created a tidal wave, which slammed into the trucks (and poor passengers) of stranded cars and trucks. Everything shut down!!

Meanwhile, last week there were protests across Myanmar� You�ve probably heard about it on the news as this is the most action that�s happened in a long time! It started small and has progressively grown throughout the week. On one hand I feel hopeful that this will bring the much-needed change, and on the other I feel pessimistic that it will all either fizzle out or draw the violent and suppressive action that it has before.

The monks were incredible�long lines sweeping down the road. People were cheering and chanting in the most hopeful, peaceful, yet excited manner. It was an honor to witness. The rain kept coming down all weekend, but this hasn�t stopped any of it. There was supposedly a 15 minute prayer vigil last night at 8pm, but we couldn�t see any of it when we looked outside.

A lot of my students are absent today because they're saying the military is going to react today. University Avenue (ASSK's house) was double barricaded with about 150 special forces/riot police standing outside all of yesterday and this morning. Apparently whoever let the protesters in to see her shouldn't have. Also saw around 15 army trucks with troops sitting by the side of the road on my way to work today. Trouble brewing! As yet, YIEC has no emergency contingency plan, though George tells me that the BC will close if any violence occurs.

Today I came in and there was sunshine in my classroom, and it felt like a long while since I�d seen it. It�s been such a wet past week, and weekend, that the sunshine is quite welcome. Hope perhaps?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Busy times

I realised today how long its been since I posted on this blog and decided I should say something, even if its only an excuse as to why I haven't posted. Basically, in the last 4 weeks I've been to Ngwe Saung beach for a long weekend, been to Bangkok for a visa, completed 3 assignments (yes, almost one a week, so lots of long nights), and taught. So that's why. Anyway, still living it up in Myanmar, and loving the new house. The inverter broke and there were some low voltage days where I had to discover how to use the booster. Otherwise, no big deal! Oh, and we had a house guest!

Anyway, just saying hi and I'm still alive! :)