Today is a Myanmar holiday so school was closed. I think everyone should have every Wednesday off.
I went to Zeygo market to buy paper for school this morning. When I finished, my driver wasn't where I expected him. I assumed I'd taken more than the 15 minutes he was allowed to wait at the curb. I was waiting at the corner where I could see him either from the front or side of the busy market.
A guy asked if I wanted a motorcycle taxi, in English. I explained that I was waiting for my driver. He noticed I had about 40 pounds of paper, so ran off to see if he could find my driver. He couldn't, but he found other drivers who knew my guy (and me, apparently) and said he had driven around the block and would be back. Just then my driver drove off. The guy who'd run down the block offered to carry my paper for me but I assured him I had it.
He didn't want a tip. He was just being friendly and helpful. Myanmar people are like that.
My driver then showed me something in Myanmar and asked if I wanted to go. The only word I understood was I-Phone and said I didn't want one. Then he explained that it was only open for another 30 minutes and could we go for him. Of course. And, of course I totally misunderstood the situation. What he showed me was an invitation for a grand opening for a new telecom store. There were lots of people. There was food. And, as the only foreigner I was honored. I also ran into the mother of one of my students. The food was good, I looked at a few Samsung phones (I am in the market) and, like everyone who attended, was given a smartphone "jacket". It was quick and fun.
Then we headed to get my hair cut. I was planning on one of the many air conditioned, fancy salons in town. My driver said he had a better plan. I'm committed to saying "yes" to suggestions. Part of being here is getting out of a rut so if someone offers an experience, I try to accept.
He took me to a local barber shop for women only. It was very small and very busy so there was about a ten minute wait. But that worked in my favor since one of the neighboring shops was a seamstress. I discovered that if I bring her the fabric, for $1 she'll sew it into a longye. Excellent. Fabric will cost about $5, unless I got for silk.
I was surprised that my hair experience began with the cut rather than the shampoo, but when in Mandalay... I was pleased that after the first cut in the back, my stylist showed me how much she'd cut off to make sure it was right. Her English was extremely limited and my Myanmar is nonexistent. That needs to change.
After the really good cut, I was led to the back of the salon and pointed to a bed to lie down. At the head was a large plastic tub with a house. It was rudimentary but clean. Then I ascended to heaven. While she shampooed and massaged my head, two other women massaged my hands and arms.
After being relaxed completely, I was led back to the salon chair for my blowout. Two women - one with a brush and one with the blow dryer. I looked and felt spectacular. When I asked how much to pay, one of the young patrons translated. 4,500K. $4.50. I believe I'll be heading back Saturday with fabric for my longyi and another shampoo and massage.
Another day in Mandalay.