It has been an….interesting few weeks here in Yangon. That’s all I can say about that, but we are fine and the Myanmar people remain as positive and friendly as they have ever been. Why, just this morning while on our dog walk a lady stopped me and told me “you are strong and beauty!” I am 80% sure that lady was drunk, but hey I will take a compliment!
We are, like the rest of the world, still dealing with COVID on top of everything else, although in the past month we have seen the numbers of new infections here drop dramatically, down to under 200 a day. Some places have started opening up a bit on the sly, and now that the weather is nice we feel comfortable going places that have outdoor seating. The other day we took two friends to a place we had discovered nearby our house. We have been watching this restaurant closely because last time we had a lockdown it was one of the first places to open back up. We walk by it every day and have been patiently waiting, but it just never had anyone there. Last week I noticed there were lots of cars parked around it, but still no sign of anyone actually in the restaurant. Well, we enquired and it turns out they had purchased the house next door and were using the secret garden there to serve people so that you couldn’t tell from the street! They built a secret little door in between the two places and everything. Anyway, draft beer! What a luxury.
When I say the weather is “nice,” I mean that we are in the cool season. Temperatures are now dropping to about 19C at night, which is downright frosty for the locals. When I go for my runs early in the morning (temps probably already in the 20s by 5am) people are wearing woolly hats, scarves, etc. Do not worry, I am still sweating. This is our neighbour a few weeks ago, braving the early morning chill (it was 22C) on his balcony.
It does still get up to about 35 during the day, but it is very dry and manageable. Even our evening dog walk is now not leaving me a total sweaty mess which is nice. We’ve been seeing our bird friend Aung Chin out of his house quite a lot, so Gav got a photo with him a few days ago. Even he is in joying the nice weather!
Today is Valentine’s Day. It is strange to look back on this day last year, which is when our school decided to do a mock virtual learning day “just in case” we ever needed to do a day or two or remote leaning (hahahaha sob). All of the kids were still at school, but we made them not go to classrooms but connect with their teachers in lots of different ways to try out what worked and what didn’t. I remember one Math teacher coming to the tech people to tell us that she was going to try out this new thing that she had heard of called Zoom.
At this point last year we were only doing this because we had heard that the schools in China were not going to go back right away after the Lunar New Year break. Obviously we knew about COVID at this point, but I think even Gav and I thought we might still be going to Beijing during our April break! How insane does that sound now? Anyway, in the week leading up to our virtual trial I remember I got really ill. I was coughing SO MUCH and was also stuffier than I could ever remember being, it was miserable. I ALSO remember several classes of small kids helpfully telling me I had the Corona virus, so they were aware of it too. I am now sure that I did not have it as I never had a fever and being super snotty is not a symptom. Very helpful of them to accuse me of being Yangon’s first case though.
Last year we went downtown for happy hour cocktails and dinner at our favourite restaurant. This year we will have a beer in our driveway like the last 340ish days of our life. Oh the excitement. At least I get to spend it with my two valentines, who keep me sane and make me laugh during this (increasingly crazier) time. Last week we were talking to a friend who said “remember when we just had a pandemic? I miss those days…” Me too.