Happy Burmese New year

 Scene like the one I was in at this year's Thingyan, the Burmese water festival during the four days leading up to New Year.  (credit:http://myanmar-cefa.or.jp/myanmar_tourism_tokyo/img/myanmar/zaw_zaw_tun_108a1_40_myanmar_new_year_festival.jpg)

Scene like the one I was in at this year's Thingyan, the Burmese water festival during the four days leading up to New Year.  (credit:http://myanmar-cefa.or.jp/myanmar_tourism_tokyo/img/myanmar/zaw_zaw_tun_108a1_40_myanmar_new_year_festival.jpg)

Happy Myanmar new year!

My 2015 in situ resolutions:

  • dance under firehoses whenever possible
  • risk GI distress fearlessly (and at least thrice daily)
  • learn the rest of the alphabet by next week — I’m close!
  • spend at least a month in a Buddhist monastery
  • schedule as many appointments for “nya nei nga na yi” as possible — and say it with pride
  • offer my soul to learn how to make Chi Mya’s curries
  • help people understand this stunningly contradictory — as perplexing as inspiring — country
  • and maybe drink a little more $1.85/bottle Burmese whiskey...

And, if you didn't see my post on Facebook, I spent about 4 hours in a throng just like the one above, in the heart of the swarm, dancing like a maniac, all the while pummeled by firehoses from above. I was kissed by six different burmese guys -- all complete strangers -- handed local whiskey in water bottles, danced with by every child and every grandmother, and so drenched that it killed my iPhone, even though I had it in a ziploc bag. Totally worth it!

Now, if you avoid the stages with the giant dance parties, that doesn't mean you're out of the soup. For four days, literally from morning till sunset all around the city, kids everywhere spray everyone with hoses -- some with serious nozzlage, occasionally taking out whole busloads of people -- and tossing buckets of ice water on anyone who comes close enough. 

And i figured out quickly that there's no better target for them than a white guy on a bicycle. So I'd zoom in, ringing my bell wildly, take the bucket of frigidity to the face and then say, "Muh so bu!" (i'm not wet!) then circle back so they could get me again. 

Obviously I love this country, so by now you probably think I'm completely biased, but that really was one hell of a party.