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Living in Myanmar ~ Got Chips!
by Dannielle Capps Weldon
Saturday, August 5,2006
I have HUGE news! I ate Ruffles Chedder and Sour Cream Potato Chips today!! How happy am I right now??? I realize that you all can just run up to the local gas station/wal mart and pick up a bag but here....not that easy! I haven't had a real Lays or Golden Flake potato chip since leaving home over SIX weeks ago. Potato chips are one of my most favorite foods but after arriving here, I've learned to live without them.
The American Club Commissary got a new shipment in yesterday. They only get shipments every three months. All the people here have warned
me, When the American Club gets a shipment, go as soon as you can. Once the food is gone, it is gone for three months. So the kids and I got up this morning and Charlie took us down there. HOLY COW!! I walked in and all I could see was potato chips!! I was so happy. I grabbed a couple of bags of chips, a couple of bags of nachos, a couple of bags of pretzels, and a couple of cans of peanuts oh and I got food too. I am truly learning to appreciate all that I have at home by living here. I've said it before and I'll say it again, everyone needs to do this for a while! You don't know how truly blessed you are until you've been here

Tonight, we went to the Monsoon Restaurant to have dinner. I had the spicy penne pasta again and David ate squid....YUCK!! The interesting part of this night is that we rode in a TAXI!!! You haven't lived until you've ridden in a taxi in Burma. To give you an idea about the cars here...Have you ever wondered what happens to cars when they get old?? I mean, what ever happened to those 1972 Pintos??? I'm not talking classic cars, I'm talking old run down, beat up Datsuns. What happened to the Datsun cars and trucks that we all used to see in the late 70's/early 80's. Well, they are all here and these people use them for Taxi's!!! No interior, no air conditioner, no handles to roll the windows up or down, some have the seats covered with shower curtain liners but some aren't that nice, no floor carpet just metal, no overhead upholstery just metal, no seat belts and most importantly....no shocks! Did I tell you there is NO department of transportation here??? These people don't repair roads. If there's a hole in the road, that's where you will find a taxi!! The taxi's don't handle holes
smoothly! It's a bumpy ride. The windows are down, you are bumping up and down, the smell of the exhaust from all the vehicles (NO EPA here either), and worst of all...the smell of the garbage that has been dumped on the streets. It's almost unbearable!!! But what a great experience!!! Can't get this kinda living in the Sumiton!!!

Sunday, August 6, 2006 ( 19 more Sundays until I get home)

Today, our adventures carried us to Hlawga Wildlife Santuary. It is located about 40 minutes north of the city of Yangon. We had no idea where we were going or what we would see but we packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bottles of water, OFF, a few diapers for Zoe and headed north. Charlie knew exactly how to get us there. To give you an overall picture of what it was like, think of Cades Cove in the smokey mountains. A single lane sometimes dirt, sometimes paved road. It made a giant circle and took us probably an hour and a half to go all the way through. There were wooden bridges, places to pull off and take in the view, a lake, a creek, rocks, and lots of wooded areas.
The main difference between Cades Cove and Hlawga Park is the animals. There were animals everywhere. In the road, on the sides of the road, in your way, touching your windows, climbing in the trees, sitting in the water...Everywhere!!! There were Burmese people all along the way
trying to sell you food to feed the animals. If you bought food, the animals would come to you. Of course, the price of the food was higher because we were white people out for a day of enjoyment and the majority of the burmese people look at that as an opportunity to jack the price up. Needless to say, we bought some grass for the deer and hippos. It was 500 kyat for us to buy grass. Charlie bought some for 200 kyat. After driving all the way through, we parked at the entrance and there was an area that we could walk through. In this area were bears that were down in holes. We bought bananas to feed the bears. The kids loved throwing the bananas into the bears and watching them
eat them. We had a great time!! I'll send a few pics but keep in mind, I didn't have my zoom lens on. As close as they appear, that's how close they were!!! A little too close for me at times!!

To give you an update...Ree Na Htoo no longer works for the Weldon's. We had to let her go. Several things had been happening over a period of about 3 or 4 weeks and things had progressively gotten worse. So we sent her on her way. I am presently looking for someone new to help
me. Some of the american's here are trying to help me as well. I have talked to one lady and had numerous other calls. I hope to find someone soon as I hate to iron!!!
I hope you all have a great week!! It's Monday here and that makes it one monday closer to coming home!!! I miss everyone and will see you
all soon!!!

Dannielle

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