Saturday, February 1, 2014

Random Observations

Stuff happens all the time that I think is funny, weird, curious, whatever.  Here's some of them.

  • Recently I saw a car completely covered with giant words and pictures.  Disney and Winnie the Pooh.  I don't think the Disney legal folks would find it as amusing as I did.  Today I saw a car with just Winnie.  I've also seen cars completely covered with Hello, Kitty.  I don't get it.
  • Yesterday one of the other teachers had a chair and foot stool delivered.  By a guy on a motorbike.  Also on the bike were the man's wife and five year old son.
  • During the Indian/Myanmar friendship concert last night I sat near a family with several young children. Through the concert they were talking, laughing, playing and wandering around.  Most of the adults in the family just ignored them.  The father encouraged them.  And I wonder why my kids have trouble following the rules in class.
  • Chinese New Year was celebrated on January 31, a Friday.  A few other teachers and I went to Bistro Mandalay for dinner.  As we typically do, we hired a taxi, who took us to the restaurant and was going to wait for us to leave to take us home.  I'd used this driver before (it's the car with Sherri in the luggage area in another post) and he seemed like a nice guy, who speaks passable English.  All was well until it was time for us to leave.  I made it to the car first and as the others chatted outside for a minute, I was in the car listening as the driver tried to start it.  Dead battery.  Which was kind of ironic since my friends went to check on my car in Florida last week and it had a dead battery, too.

    Anyway, the guy made a phone call and within minutes, here came three strong guys to give us a push. There was much laughing and yelling all around as they successfully got us rolling.  We wanted to make a quick stop at a small market near the school and as we tried to explain the location to the driver I realized he was doing a little celebrating while we were having dinner.  The streets were packed with people walking and partying and we were alternately racing or crawling down the road, depending on how focused the driver was on the conversation in the car.  One near miss with a motorbike was so close all of us screamed.  He just laughed and hit the gas.

    He began calling me "mother" and one of the women "sister".  He also insisted that I spoke Myanmar, which was wonderful in his view.  I gave up explaining that I didn't...never argue with a drunk.   I really don't think knowing ten words in a language counts as being fluent.

    We finally made it to the little store and as we drove up, told him repeatedly not to turn off the car.  As soon as we stopped, he turned off the car.  We bought what we needed then headed back.  Luckily, the car turned over.  He almost missed the turn to the school, then started to drive by the gate, with all of us screaming for him to stop.  It was pretty funny, now that we were there alive.  There was a guard and another staff member talking when we finally pulled into the proper place.  They greeted us, we greeted them, we were discussing how much we each owed for the taxi...the taxi driver talking nonstop about me being his mother and then it happened.

    One of the teachers slammed the back door, not realizing that the driver had his hand in the door.  The driver immediately started screaming.  I watched it happen and assumed that he had four broken fingers.  All the foreign staff and the Myanmar staff were asking if he was ok, offering ice and just acting concerned while the driver shook his hand and insisted it was fine.  Nothing appeared to be broken or really swelling but I'm guessing he's going to wake up with quite a hangover and a very sore hand.

    Driving in Mandalay is scary.  Driving with a very happy, pretty drunk guy is interesting but not something I ever want to do again.
  • Three of us headed out today for lunch and then a haircut.  Never got the haircut.  Instead, after lunch we hit the craft stores, then the big market (where I know a vendor who sells cool bronze and wood stuff) and where I wanted to buy toys for the kids.  On our way out I scored.  Plain brown wrapping paper.  Think flip chart sheets.  This is the only place I've not found it in schools.  The paper was cheap so I bought a bunch and will be going back for all the colored paper that will be great for summer school crafts.

    Stopped for happy hour on our way home, we were a couple of hours early but they know our school so gave us the twofer deal...and then we stayed until happy hour started anyway.  I bought half a cooked chicken for takeaway and was disappointed that it's small, a bit burned, chopped into unrecognizable bits with bone in each bite and no roasted potatoes.  I understand the reason for hacking meat into tiny pieces, but I just wanted a nice wing, leg and thigh and breast.  Other than my chicken disappointment it was a spectacular day.  Except for that moment when we realized it was Saturday night happy hour and we were arguing about phonics.  Teachers!

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