Yangon

So hubby and I made it to Myanmar (after 48 hours of Singapore) and our first impressions are fantastic. The food is great, the weather awesome and the people are super nice, although not many speak English, and when they do it is only a few words. Now that we know we are learning to communicate again, coz their English is sure as hell better than our Burmese…

I love the bling in Yangon; there are many pagodas everywhere with golden cupulas and golden, silver, bronze Buddhas and artefacts in cool shiny boxes. You walk around bare feet and praying is sometimes a personal thing, sometimes a group thing. The Buddhists are happy for you to join in their rituals and are happy to explain them to you. The history is amazing, it’s about holy men, spirits and heroes who slay dragons. Very cool, but you can all look that up online. Just a few pictures though to get you in the mood.

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We rely heavily on our Lonely Planet here in Myanmar, because we don’t have too much time and it really helps research along very fast. So we usually carry it around with us, also because it has many maps and it’s just easier than trying to see through the glare (of the sun) on our phones.

Anyway, one day we visited the Sule Pagoda and – as you are only allowed in on bare feet – sat down to take off our boots. Hubbies chair broke and he almost fell on the floor. It was really funny, but I didn’t dare laugh as his mood started to darken… Unbeknownst to me the chanting inside these pagodas drives him crazy but he never realized this before the Sule Pagoda. So, he was very grumpy.

I was pretending all was well and made many great pictures. While doing so, a monk came up to me, telling me about all the good work they were doing by educating kids in schools an hour from Yangon, and asking for a donation. He showed me some serious bills (like a 100 euro bill, one that I never used to carry around…). He also told me about karma and that giving is a good thing.

If looks could kill, hubby’s looks would have dropped both of us dead on the floor. So I declined and wished him all the luck. I dragged my husband along and since pretending was not an option anymore, I got a little less happy with every step. There was no point in hanging around, we had to leave. I was about ready to file divorce.

When we got back on the street, we noticed our Lonely Planet was missing. I seriously was upset, because it was obviously my man’s fault, and he hadn’t been any fun at all today, and if I had gone off by myself I would have been so much happier AND I still would have had the Lonely Planet. Yep, I ranted right there and then!

I then dramatically stormed off, back into the temple. I looked around and couldn’t find anything. I met hubby again at the entrance we had used the first time we entered and nope, nothing was there. We went to one of the ticket sales ladies and asked if there was a ‘Lost and Found’ somewhere. Judging by the look on her face, I’d have to say that is not a thing here in Myanmar…

She on the other hand called over to the security guard and told him that I’d lost something. He kind of waved at me to follow him and so I did. He took met to a booth which turned out to be the security guard office. It never ceases to amaze me how much stuff and people Asians can fit in to the smallest possible spaces. Anyway, there were six of them talking away and waving their arms and it was all mysterious. One of them ran off while telling me to sit down. Or maybe he told me that first before he ran off. It is all a bit fuzzy as I was still upset with hubby.

The guard came back with a proper police man. Who spoke English. And that apparently was the whole thing… They all knew something had happened, but they had no clue what it was. It then dawned on me that they saw me run back into the temple very upset after my rant with hubby, so they must have really worried something awful had happened. The fact that I ‘just’ lost my book had not sunk in and it did seem a little silly all of a sudden…

The police man was really very nice. He asked me in the friendliest possible way what had happened. I then told him about my Lonely Planet book and he had no idea what that was. I googled it, and showed them. Everyone took a picture and finally we were all clear on what the problem was.

They had a solution: CCTV. Wow! They ushered me into the small office where there were at least 3 screens with each like 12 cameras and a computer and someone who actually knew how to use all that stuff. I sort of knew what time we had arrived and yep, there we were at the entrance.

We all could see that when we got in, hubby was carrying the book. When hubby fell through the chair it was like watching a slapstick comedy; everyone laughed, then they remembered I was there and looked to see if I laughed as well, which I did, so they laughed again. We saw hubby sit down on the other chair and put the book on a table to take off his shoes. He then put on his sarong and never picked up the book again, so when we went inside the complex he carried everything, except the book.

Ahhhhh, that’s where it was! Everyone was happy. Except that’s where it not was anymore! So we kept looking at the CCTV.

Now here’s a truth I did not know beforehand: everyone looks like a criminal on CCTV. When people don’t know they are filmed they really don’t look as happy or glamorous as when they are taking a selfie. We saw a group of women coming in, some guys sitting on the floor studying something, some other women leaving the pagoda and all the while the book was there. We could see it hanging over the edge the whole time!

And then, the monk came and picked up the book. Everyone cheered (literally!!!) And they were telling me all was going to be well, they knew who had the book. Within the minute the monk was found and I was reunited with my beloved book.

Karma indeed works in mysterious ways.

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