It seems that tourists pay a lot of money to come to Myanmar and Thailand to enjoy each countries' Water Festival and New Year. The New Year, by the way, coincides with Buddha's birthday.
From what I've seen and heard from the school compound, I'd be more inclined to pay money NOT to go to the water festival. I've been debating with myself. Am I just getting old and losing my spirit of adventure? I don't think so.
Every time people (security guards or one of the few teachers still here this week) come in on their motorcycle, they are soaking wet. As in, head to toe, dripping on the ground. There are "stages" set up around town. They blast music and water at everyone who comes near. And people crowd in to get soaked. Most in Mandalay are locals and many are in their teens. People are packed together pushing, yelling, laughing, singing. They're having a great time. Personally, I'd rather be at a quilting bee.
What I have been enjoying is the group of people who stand on either side of the main road near the school with buckets of water. They don't bother with cars but anyone on a motorcycle or standing in the back of a truck or jeep is fair game. After work yesterday a couple of other teachers and I were watching from our balcony. These folks, adults and kids alike, have been tossing buckets of water for two days straight, all day.
I commented on how boring their daily lives must be to find standing in the sun for hours on end, heaving water at strangers so much fun. One teacher commented that compared to their normal daily work in the rice paddies, this must be highly entertaining.
I then realized that we'd been standing, watching and cheering them on whenever they made a direct hit for over an hour. Whose daily routines are boring?
I do want to experience the water festival in a village or two
outside of Mandalay. Friends described riding into a village and seeing
three kids under the age of five. They were standing by the road, pots
of water in hand, ready to douse anyone riding by. My friends were
kind enough to stand still to make sure the tiniest kid had time to
aim. Then they whipped out their super soaker and got revenge.
Apparently the kids loved it. That's more my speed.
On another note - it's the dry season, which means the large swamp next to the school is just cracked, dry dirt. So where are the mosquitoes coming from that have been keeping me up at night? Someone suggested using the battery operated bug zapper that is shaped like a racquet ball paddle. "Just keep it next to your bed and whack 'em."
Let's think about this for a second. True, it might work and it would give me great satisfaction to fry the one damn mosquito that seems insistent on buzzing in my ear just as I doze off. Then again, I could whack myself or everything on my nightstand. And, really, as fun and attractive as I am, would any sane man be drawn to my boudoir, knowing he might get accidentally incinerated?