On Friday we got notice from the US Embassy that the local government was going to be cracking down on the lockdown more severely. It urged us to only leave the house for necessary errands and our school sent a notice that we should stop coming onto campus of at all possible. Gav and I had been going into school every day as it is much easier to get work done there, at least for my job as I can go and physically help anyone who is having tech problems. Now it’s back to working from home for the time being which means helping to solve tech problems via chats and zooms which is not ideal. It often leads to exchanges like the following:
I am going to choose to believe that my colleague did not in fact call me a Ho and that was a typo…
Nell’s probably going to get all bent out of shape about us hanging around all the time as well. After a few days of us being with her 24/7 she starts getting a bit mopey. I think she misses our cleaner (we have told her to stay home for the moment as technically people are not supposed to cross townships in Yangon and she lives outside of ours).
Luckily it seems like we can still go outside for exercise and dog walks. We have started to wear our masks 100% of the time when we are doing that though, which makes it less pleasant as it is still super hot and humid here. We have been taking Nell for 2 walks a day around our neighborhood since the first lockdown in March and we have some good doggie friends along the way. Everyone will be happy to know that these are all doggies with owners so we are doing our best to not repeat the Mabel fiasco.
The first friends we see are a matching pair of what we think might be Dogo Argentinos. They are massive (about 3 times the size of Nell) and pure white. When they bark it’s like the Hound of the Baskervilles but they are total softies and love a good “through-the-gate” cuddle.
Gavin once asked the guard who was sitting with them if the dogs have names (it’s not super common here for Myanmar people to give an animal a name, they would just call it Dog). The guard said yes, pointed at the dog who has one blue eye and one brown eye and said “One” and then the other dog (with 2 brown eyes) “Two.” Ok, not very creative but at least they have names!
Once we round the corner from One and Two we run into a string of houses that have tiny little yappy dogs who barrel up to the gate and bark their heads off at Nell. We skip right past those houses, but then we come to some more friends who use the barking as an early warning system that we are coming and they hustle over to get a treat.
You can’t tell in this picture, but it is clearly the ONLY hustling these two ever do as they are quite barrel-shaped. The one on the right is a bit worse, we call him Fat Camp and the other one Barker.
After those guys we come on to Bonny and Clyde, who we have introduced before (the dogs I once accidentally almost had neutered in my first year as I didn’t realize they were pets).
Last week after seeing all of our friends we were trying to finish up our walk down a street 2 behind our house. There was quite a lot of commotion in front of one house, with lots of people in PPE and someone got out of a car and told us to go another way. The next morning when we went past we saw that the front gate of the house had caution tape over it and a guard stand had been erected next to the house. It really can only be one thing-someone must be Covid positive in there.
Myanmar has gone from having 120 cases in the first 5 months of this epidemic to now about 600 a day. I guess it was inevitable with everyone living in such close quarters downtown and in some of the outer townships, but it is sad since we did so well to contain it for so long. Hopefully these new more stringent lockdown rules get it back in check.
There was a worrying headline in the local news sources that went flying around school last week:
We all decided that obviously this was some sort of mis-translation from Burmese to English. Gav and I are going to just keep on as normal, never fear. Our local liquor store Lady Mind (not even joking on that name) is I think legally supposed to be closed. But we hear that if you knock on the metal shutters covering the door, someone will open it a few inches. And if you lean down and tell them what you want, they will shove it under the grate for you (after they ask you if you want the bottle with the real tax stickers (more expensive) or if you are ok with the one with the fake stickers (smuggled in, so cheaper)).
Good thing, because we have just run out of Aperol. The horror! Off to Lady Mind…