Mandalay, Myanmar

January 20, 2014

Alright! Time to head out from Mandalay. I had a greaaatt time here the past three days. I never left our neighborhood nor did any sightseeing.. But what I did was much more valuable for me. The photo I posted before with the road and the cows is the front road of my hostel. When I arrived I saw two kids trying their best to fly this tiny kite so I went out and helped them. The two kids turned into a crowd and we tried fairly unsuccessfully for an hour or so to try to get this kite flying. The string kept getting stuck in the electrical wires which was terrifying at first but the kids seemed to have done this before and no one got shocked. It smoked a couple times on the strong but that’s it. Well, the next morning I woke up and walked I to the courtyard to find six pairs of eyes peering in through the gates. It was the neighborhood kids waiting for me to wake up and come and play with them! Haha so I got dressed and went to the road and became a human jungle gym for the morning. One by one it was their turn to play “airplane” and yes, I got a workout. Next the older kids came and brought a guitar and handed it to me. I feel bad for their ears, but I sloppily played the handful of cords I remembered which sounded horrible when played in the order I chose. But they liked it, I think. They also came up to me with various sliced fruits to try. They were sour.. Extremely sour. They all got a kick out of watching my facial reaction when I tried them. On a side note, right now in front of me they are doing some sort of construction and the men are on the second story and the women are transporting the liquid cement up the ladder to the men by balancing bulge buckets of cement on their head. My tabled is already covered in a line of dirt from the air and my lungs have a hefty kick to them. Ok, back on track, the kids gave me these fruits and them along w the parents laughed as I tried them. I brought out my smaller camera and let the kids hold it and take photos and have roughly 150 photos yesterday of me and the kids all taken by the kids. The photos are priceless. So Mandalay was a nice experience. I didn’t see anything touristy but sure did gain a lot by just mingling with the kids and families all day yesterday.

Today I head to Hsipaw, a rural mountain town. I am VERY excited because I am starting an adventure. I was told by a backpacker about a man there who goes by the name of Mr. Books. He is a local who goes around from village to village visiting the schools in an effort to make them run more efficiently. His thought is that education is the only way to make any change in his country. This is a concept I firmly believe in. Being a country where human rights are violated at an astronomical level, most of the population are so uneducated and illiterate that they have no clue what’s happening to them. Mr. Books is supposedly an inspiration and my goal is first to somehow find him. After I find him I want him to place me in a local school for me to volunteer for a week or so and ideally have a host family I stay with. This sounds like a far fetched plan but I think I’ll be able to pull it off. If not, it’s worth the shot and the experience. But first things first, I need to get to Hsipaw and find Mr. Books. Next the volunteering and host family should fall into place. I’m really excited about this, it’s gonna be good. Let the hunt for Mr. Books commence!

01202014

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