|Letters From Myanmar
~ Sunday at the Zoo
Sunday, July 23, 2006
will start off by saying the very first Sunday that we spent here
together, I was a little down and out that afternoon. David looked
at me and said..."look at it this way, one Sunday closer to going
home". I got my calendar out and counted down the Sunday's. It
has become tradition for us to have pancakes every Sunday morning
and to talk about how many few Sunday's we have left here. Just incase
you were wondering...we've got 21 Sunday's left. May sound like a
long time to you but to us....It's the sound of hope!
My life has been a roller coaster ride every day since April of 2005.
I wake up each morning never knowing what is about to happen. It's
hard to be prepared when things are so unstable. I'm a little torn
quite frankly. I'm so ready to come home and be normal but sometimes
great things happen and I just stand amazed and happy to have had
This brings me to our adventures today. The Weldon's went to the zoo
here in Myanmar. David has been to the zoo before but the kids and
I got to experience it for the first time. It costs $0.10 to park
the car in the zoo parking. Admission to the zoo is 2000 kyats per
foreigner (that's a little less than $2.00
US each). This is a small way that americans get discriminated against,
we pay more for things that locals do because of our white skin. BUT
we got carried in a special enterance for foreigners. We didn't have
to go in the same gate as the locals. Whoo Hoo....Our very own gate!
It's probably wider because foreigners are enormous compared to the
tiny Burmans!! haha A wider door for wider folks!!!
As David paid our admission and got our tickets to get into the zoo,
the kids and I began to get surrounded as we often do here. My kids
are an attraction and I have decided that I need to find a way to
charge the locals to touch, look at and kiss my kids. You have to
be here to understand how it is. We are freaks here. People will stop,
point their fingers at us, tell the people they are with, and stare
as we walk by. It is the most amazing thing. Especially, Zoe. She
has the fairest hair and skin and is small so people tend to be drawn
to her. People will walk up to her, squat down (people here squat
like you wouldn't believe) and will start touching her. She freaks
out, of course. If I stand still longer than about 30 seconds people
will surround me and her to the point that we cannot move. We get
mobbed. At the market, on the street, no matter where we go and the
zoo was no
different. David got our tickets to get into the zoo, turned around
and had to say excuse me, just to get to us.
We had drawn quite a crowd. By the time we had been into the zoo for
about 10 minutes...He was sick and tired of the attention we were
getting. I just laughed. I was glad he was holding zoe...generally
I'm by myself with the kids. It gets to the point that I buy only
a few groceries at a time because I can't be in the market longer
than about 10 minutes at a time. Everyone needs to experience this....It's
so weird to be white!!!
I will not bore you by sending all the pics as I made around 100 pictures.
I will send a few. Keep in mind, I didn't use a zoom lens. We were
as close to these animals as the pictures show. We were close enough
to touch many of the animals...Made me a little uncomfortable with
Zoe Brooke not knowing any better. Kinda have to keep close eyes on
her. The zoo smelled so bad but seemed to be clean (according to Myanmar
standards). There were trolleys to ride you around the zoo, there
were boat rides, elephant rides, a water park, and little venders
set up all along the way selling food, drinks, and items that I felt
uncomfortable getting too close too....ha ha! One of the highlights
was when we stopped by one of these little stands to buy Zach and
David a soda. The sodas came in bottles. We paid the lady for the
soda and she took the top off of the bottle and began to poor this
bottle of soda into a small baggy. She then put a straw in the baggy
and handed it to Zach. Have you ever drank a soda, or any liquid for
that matter, out of a baggy??? My mouth just dropped all the way
open. I looked at David and his mouth was all the way open. SHOCKED!!
What was she doing?? She was pooring that bottle of soda into a baggy.
This was a tiny wal mart sack. Then she
put a straw in the sack. Words cannot express my amazement. Who would
have ever thought to pour a soda into a baggy and drink it. Turns
out, no glass bottles were allowed in the zoo so in place of what
we would use a plastic cup for, they used a baggy. When I was able
to gather myself, I laughed way too hard. This was the funniest thing.
A soda out of a wal mart sack...I have a picture of course...check
David bought some bananas to feed some elephants that were just out
walking around on leashes with zoo keepers. He was holding Zoe and
needless to say...Zoe isn't much of an elephant kinda person. She
freaked out!!! Zach wouldn't go near them either. I was taking pictures
so, of course, I couldn't be close...ha ha We like the zoo, we just
don't want the zoo to touch us!!!
David paid one of the zoo keepers $0.20 to sit a really big bird on
his shoulder so I could take a picture. The bird just sat there...David
was holding Zoe and she's not really a bird kinda person either! After
wiping the BIRD FLU off of his shoulder we moved on. Of course, we
got rained on which was totally expected! It's the rainy season here
and if you go anywhere, you get rained on! Rule of Myanmar thumb...always
take an umbrella.
We stayed about 3 hours at this zoo. We didn't use the restrooms as
it is well known to all Americans here that it's worth going back
to your apartment if you gotta go. I havent' gotten up enough nerve
to try a public restroom out (for photo purposes) and the zoo was
not where I was going to experience one for the first time. We are
learning to hold it!!! I think all three of our bladders have grown
in size since arriving here. AND thankfully, Zoe still has her diapers.
I can't even imagine how things would be here if we were just learning
to potty like a big girl. To all of those people who encouraged me
to train her before we left....My gut instinct (keeping her in diapers)
was right on!!! I shipped a potty chair over here but I plan to make
no effort in this department until we get back into the land home!!
Sorry didn't mean to get into this subject so deeply,
just wanted you all to know...Never use the public restrooms in Myanmar!!!
I hope you all had as good of a weekend as we have had!! Monday, July
24 will bring me down to 150 days until I come home!!! I look forward
to seeing everyone and look forward to this whole experience being
just a memory!!!
I will see you soon....Dannielle