Joint entry by Gordon and Sonia…
We have returned home to smiling faces of our neighbours and the always welcoming team at Sanon Restaurant.
After a huge thunderstorm the afternoon flight from Yangon flew through some amazing fluffy cloud formations.
Unfortunately it was a longer flight than usual as we took an unexpected detour via Heho near the beautiful Inle Lake before touching down in a very dry and dusty Bagan.
We now have to tackle the new challenges of intense heat and dust. This is known as the ‘Dry Zone’ and we have very little rain so at least we haven’t had to deal with humidity…yet! Yesterday it was 41 degrees… but apparently it reached 47 while we were in a much cooler Japan.
We have had a couple of days of rain in our 5+ months here which has done nothing to alleviate the floating terra firma. We are not sure what happens in the wet season… perhaps it is ‘be careful what you wish for’.
The fridge is struggling and the tap water is always warm. No need for a heated towel rail here. Bananas cook in their skins, the tea stays hot in the teapot for hours and all our clothes we have hanging under feeble plastic garbage bags for dust protection are warm to touch like they’ve just been ironed.
However on the flip side the shower has refreshing water and strong pressure, the washing dries in minutes, the pineapples are soooooo sweet and you can buy – locally made organic yoghurt, New Zealand butter, freshly baked french sticks, cans of soda and tonic water to go with the very cheap gin and … and … an icecream cornetto will cost you less than 30cents!
We also thankfully have aircon and fans in our bedroom and the lounge area. As long as there are not too many blackouts we’ll survive! The power has already gone off this morning for a while which seems to happen most Saturdays.
Particles of sandy powdery soil settle onto everything. We dust daily and every few weeks we drag everything out of the house, air the mats on the fence, give the floors a double mop and wipe down all the surfaces. I don’t think we can ever get the house completely spotless as there are way too many crevices… but we have accepted this is part of living here in such an amazing historic location.
To dampen the dust people throw water on the roads and lanes outside the front of their houses and shop fronts, a common practice in most hot, dry countries… it kind of keeps the floating particles in control – for a while.
The colour of the sandy soil ranges from various shades of ochre to bright red which Is reflected in the 3800++ stupas, pagodas and temples that adorn the Bagan landscape like shells on a beach.
The mother cat we inherited from the previous volunteer Ann was on our front step within an hour of us walking in the door – meowing for a tickle and ravenous for some food. (Her two offspring are missing in action so we hope they have found new homes.)
It’s nice to be ‘home’.