Every year in January Yangon holds a big running event around the city. They offer a full & a half marathon, a 10K, 5K and a kiddie fun run. I ran it the last two years and it is a fun and well run event. It is also a very amusing event as it seems that almost no one trains for it, people are eating KFC in the starting corral, and at least 10% of the racers choose to run in flip flops but it is really wonderful to see so many people out getting exercise or cheering the runners from the side of the street.
Obviously this year the event is not happening. So one of our colleagues decided that he would hold the Yangon Sort of Marathon on the last Friday of our December break. He invited everyone to gather at his house and then run the course that he laid out-you could choose how many laps you wanted to do and each lap was 5K. When we arrived everything was very organized with a sign in sheet, a map and detailed instructions on important things like “don’t get hit by a car.”
Innes has a very good sense of humor, so let’s zoom in on that course map. Yes that was on purpose.
I wanted to join in on the fun but I was very worried because we were set to leave at 4pm when the scorching sun was still high in the sky. I try to run before the sun even comes up and I was concerned that I would either just plain die and have to be dragged off the street or my colleagues would be so disgusted by my sweat they could never work with me again. But I soldiered on and towed the start line. It wasn’t too bad actually, the route was mostly shady and one family stood about halfway through with some super soakers. I asked to be sprayed and they obliged, unfortunately I was also yelling “HIIIIII” at the time and they got me right in the mouth. So I spent the rest of the run wondering if later I was going to poop my pants from swallowing what was surely Yangon tap water at best, hose water most likely. Reader, I was fine. I also managed to get 1st place in my division! Ok, my division was The Weenies Who Ran 1 Lap but I still got a trophy!
Here I am on the winner’s podium. And here’s Gav who did the very difficult job of guarding the beer while we all ran. Thanks Innes! The only thing missing was a bucket of KFC which we will have to rectify next year.
And so concludes the least eventful winter break of my life. One highlight of the last week was our friend Greg offering to teach us how to use the pottery wheel in his art room. Good thing he is a patient man as throwing a pot is not as easy at the movie Ghost would have you believe. Just getting the blob of clay centred on the wheel is an ordeal in itself never mind all the bits that come after. A couple hours later (and many Greg “corrections”) I had made three….things. I am not sure what they will be yet but they have been fired and it is reported that no one’s creation blew up in the kiln so that is exciting!
In pandemic related news, we are still on lockdown which is very boring to drone on about. I have cancelled another vacation (April vacation to India to see tigers, hahahaha sob). Because we did not go back to the UK this past summer we are starting to feel the pinch of running out of some things we can only get there. The most distressing is NOT Gav’s shampoo (he is fine as he brought so many last time he isn’t even halfway through) but our bug spray. We knew we were going to be running super low so tried to order 15 bottles from Amazon when the school facilitated an order back in July. Sadly our order turned up sans bug spray (we think maybe the shipping company couldn’t ship aerosols or maybe liquids) and we started to low-level panic. Well now we are in more of a mid level panic as our stocks are dangerously low. We have three kinds of spray at the moment- one that smells ok but only mildly discourages the mozzies, one that smells like bad old man cologne but is about 80% effective and one that both smells tolerable AND is best at keeping the bugs away. We only have half a bottle of the last one left. It has gotten to the point where we seriously are saving the good one for “special occasions” and yesterday Gav accused me of using the “good stuff” without a proper consultation about whether this was a moment worthy of a squirt. Covid is affecting us all in different ways, bring on the vaccine before we have to split up over bug spray!