As the last few days of summer travel, work, and play come to an end, I’ve lost count of the number of places I’ve slept the past three months.
These pictures were all taken from the hotel we stayed at in Bangkok for a day before heading North to Chiang Mai.
Over the past few months, I’ve rested in numerous hotels, bungalows, and apartments. Some have been great, others not so great (bedbugs in one and rats and roaches in the others). At night, I’ve fallen asleep to the sound of the ocean crashing by my head and other nights I’ve fallen asleep listening to the sound of traffic or Bangkok club music.
I’m going to miss the sounds, the good views, and most of all this feeling I have when I look back at the photos taken in the quiet moments this summer.
Back in Yangon after three beautiful days in Bagan. Our days in Bagan were unbelievably good, peaceful, and happy.
I’ve smiled and laughed more than I have in ages this past week and I don’t want to go.
It feels good to be back in the beautiful city I’ve called home for the past month, but also somewhat sad to realize this is the last day I’ll have in the country (for a while). I don’t know when life will take me here again, but I’m hoping it will be someday soon.
Tomorrow, early a.m. I’ll be on my way to back to Thailand.
Burma thank you for being wonderful, challenging, and rewarding! Thank you for all the smiles, the generosity, and for sharing yourself with me. Beauty is everywhere here and I feel incredibly blessed to have had the chance to live, work, and play here for the past month.
“Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment — the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.” – Jorge Luis Borges
If there is one thing I can count on these days, is that eventually the rains slow and there will be a brief moment each day when it becomes a slight drizzle or simply stops. I find those moments to be the most quiet in this city. Everyone knows the rains will start back soon enough and there is a gentle calm that overtakes most everyone. All of these photos were taken during that in-between time.
The rains have become routine, expected, and daily. I have grown to like them (in part) and am thankful that despite the constant wet, and constant damp, the heat doesn’t overpower and the cooler, rain-weather normally wins.
The streets have started to flood and there have been more reported cases of people getting sick and dengue fever (this becomes far more prevalent during the rainy season).
Even in the in-between rain moments, most people still walk around with their umbrellas open. Although I’m not particularly tall by most standards, I’ve had one too many jabs and pokes to the head and face, and cannot handle it anymore. I’ve learned to patiently wait for the crowds and their open umbrellas to pass before I make my move, or be bold and make it clear that a taller person and her umbrella are also trying to make it through. I feel that there is a certain bond with all the other umbrella holders (most everyone) when a crowd tries to pass through a narrow sidewalk at the same time. The taller people raise their higher and the shorter ones lower. Often, this nonverbal communication between strangers works and most people pass what feels a good deal like a gauntlet.
All this to say, life in Yangon is filled with meetings, short-distanced taxi rides (*but, ones that involve a long-time sitting in traffic), long walks with heavy gear, too much coffee, and trying to find creative ways to make everything in my life less damp (no solutions yet).
At night, two colors pervade this city – gold and blue.
These days have been wet, very wet and filled with walking long distances (just to save $2 and see more of the city), funny conversations with strangers, and my attempt to explore food (all food here). Walking around with a heavy camera is nothing new for me, but I find that I often want to ditch it and everything I have and dance in the rain. Something about the place makes me want to abandon everything and spend my days wandering like a monk.
So far, and as I’ve been told numerous times, internet is slow (very slow) and hard to come by and the food is oily. Other than that (and maybe the constant wet and the early mildew of all my possessions), I have absolutely no complaints. I find that I am perfectly content and enjoying my solitude. I’m staying at a tiny budget inn not too far from the water and I feel that these days have been important for me.
I find that when I travel I often opt for the “slow and sweaty” route and in doing this, I challenge myself to be patient. In Yangon, I also have been practicing patience and practicing the art of living quietly and living alone. While I’ve had great encounters with strangers so far, I feel that this is only the start of nearly a month of living here. I’m enjoying both the conversations and the times of silence.
For now, I am (patiently) waiting to check my email and doing yoga in my tiny, concrete room. I’ve got rain-soaked and mango-covered leggings on now and I’ve only been in the city for a few days and I already smell like it (and I don’t mind it one bit).