Well, it was great while it lasted but tomorrow it’s back to the grind! We’re not too sad though as it’s been relaxing and it’s only 3 weeks until we get a few days off for Thanksgiving! I find it very odd that we get Thanksgiving off here as the school is only about 17% American, so that hardly seems like a critical mass to declare a holiday but I am not going to complain. We are going bird watching in a few places outside of Yangon, so stay tuned for the riveting update of which LBJs (little brown jobbies) we mange to spot.
I’m hoping that the weather might cool down a little bit by the time that holiday rolls around. The wet season is well and truly finished here and we have entered a season I did not know existed. When we arrived I thought I only had to hang on until October 15, the date at which everyone we had spoken to assured us the rains stop. After the rainy season comes the cool season, so October 16 = sweet sweet relief in my brain. No one explained that there is now a “mini hot season” that occurs before the cool season and I am feeling ripped off. And still very sweaty. I am seeing pictures of beautiful fall leaves, snow flurries, Halloween preparations and cozy fires on Facebook. I am jealous. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Halloween is here and I had to take a cab to dinner at a friend’s house last night after dark because it was so humid I knew I would be a crabby, drenched wreck if I tried to walk it. I’m so glad that 15 years ago Mom bought me a Halloween t-shirt from Target because that sucker is going to get worn for the first time without a cardigan on Wednesday.
Let’s back up to our trip so I can fill you in on all the details Gav left out of his post. First of all, he did not update how it went with our cleaner staying with Nell. Before we left, we put together a page long list of directions/tips on our house and taking care of Nell. Then Gav had a colleague of his call our cleaner and talk her through everything as she doesn’t speak much English. She assured us that all would be fine and that made us feel very good. We even downloaded the Asian version of WhatsApp (Viber) so we could text her if needed. We left early Sunday morning before she arrived and flew first to Bangkok. When we landed there, Gav started in a panic spiral that maybe she forgot to come, maybe she thought she was supposed to come on Monday, why wasn’t she texting us?, who was still around in Yangon that could stop by the house and ring the doorbell???? I thought he was being a little nutty and finally convinced him to just call her and find out if everything was fine. Of course it was, but she obviously sensed the panic and started sending periodic “proof of life” photos of Nell. It was hilarious. First there was a selfie of her and Nell on the sofa together, then a picture of her son and Nell, Nell’s paw possessively on his leg. Then a picture of husband and Nell chilling on the balcony. Burmese people do not see dogs as animals that belong in the house, let alone on your furniture cuddling with you so I am positive this was an awkward series of photo shoots for everyone, but it was comforting for Gav and amusing to me. When we arrived home, Nell was happy to see us but not as clingy as she normally was after we sent her to stay with her dog walker in London. Gav was worried that something was wrong with her, I had to explain that she was just happy and had a fine week. Probably she was mad we were home, she loves having new people over.
I was kind of mad we were home too-we had such a hoot in Siem Reap. The only downer was the heat.
This was me at every temple-that sweat rag was tied with our e-bikes as the MVP of the trip. The problem is that lots of the temples are very open with little or no shade and there is a lot of climbing very steep stairs. Then I am sweating from exercise and panic about the height I am at (plus how to get down the very death-defying steps) and it is not pretty. That shirt colour you see above was a total error. Only black and dark blue is acceptable in these circumstances as you can’t see the sweat nearly as much. Lesson learned.
The good thing was after I got nice and drenched seeing one temple, I could jump on the e-bike and dash away at the death-defying speed of 20 kilometres an hour, a speed just swift enough to create a nice shirt-drying breeze. It was great. I felt pretty cool on those e-bikes too and imagined that everyone passing us in their tuk-tuk was seething with jealousy at our freedom. Then I saw a video of myself on that thing and it was less Harley-Davidson and more Mobility Scooter. I mean, we wore bike helmets. That is not the epitome of cool. Also I imagine that in a collision with a bus full of Chinese tourists, not that effective. Oh well, I loved that thing. I’m going to pretend I looked cool despite evidence to the contrary.
(not getting honorary membership in a bike gang any time soon)
After a sweaty morning of sight-seeing we would usually stop to charge up the bikes and have some lunch and then drive back into town. Our hotel had a nice pool and weirdly we were the only people there for much of our visit, so we would spend the late afternoon swimming and reading before going out for (very cheap) drinks and dinner. We did find one fantastic bar/tapas restaurant run by a French couple that was an oasis of calm and fancy cocktails. While more expensive than other places, it was well worth it and highly recommend seeking out Wild if you are ever in Siem Reap!
I need to hire that couple to come fix our garden and hang up some lights.
Last night we had a nice dinner with some friends who spent the holiday in Mandalay, which we thought was not on our list of must-sees, but they had a wonderful time as well. We then spent the rest of the evening learning how to play pinochle, so between that and my time on a mobility scooter this week I think I have now earned my Senior Citizen card. I wonder what discounts they give for that in Yangon…