Day 173 – 2.1.2016
Hpa-an. Hpa-an – Mandalay
There is not much to say about today. Stéphane worked and we girls went to the local market. I just love doing this. There is so much to see and usually there are very few tourists. The girls do have a hard time being touched and I understand that. But here it is their custom, they do touch apparently every kid, their own and others and the kids don’t mind it since they do know nothing else. For my two it is obviously not their nature and especially Alina with her light complexion and her blond hair is attracting a lot of attention.
What was really funny was when I intended to buy a bra. Well, I would never buy a bra without trying it on, but how to do try one on in a market where there definitely aren’t any changing cabins? You just put it on top of the t-shirt with my own bra underneath. It was funny and I looked completely ridiculous. But things got worse. Other women – complete strangers, helped me to close the bra and that without me needing nor asking for help. That was definitely a new experience. And then after all that trying on… what I achieved was that I now know my size in their system, but I didn’t buy one. Why did I want to buy one? Well I had thought that the sports bra would be more comfortable while travelling and they are, but they are also getting very sweaty.
When it was getting close to lunch time, we found some food vendors just inside of the market. And it looked good. So we sat down on those mini plastic stools and picked some food. Alina wanted to have the chicken and I took the liver. But after trying her food Alina decided it was too spicy for her and I had to trade my food against hers. Lara was happy eating her apples and mandarins. In the end she just wanted some rice. Lara is still difficult when it comes to food. Usually it is too hot, or she just can’t make up her mind. So rice on its own might sound boring but at least nothing can go wrong. The woman selling the food just couldn’t believe it and smiled the whole time. Although we were sitting in some corner there were soon quite a few people around us looking at us. It felt a bit like in a zoo, only that we were actually the objects of interest. I somehow learned not to mind that anymore. I just look back, smile and leave it at that. Communication is nearly never possible, since only a few people can say more than “Where do you come from?” and “What is your name?”
Anyway, at some point Lara left to bring Stéphane his lunch take-away and Alina and I did another tour through the market getting some water melon for later. In the guesthouse we answered some emails, the girls were doing some math and around 5:30 pm we left the guesthouse and walked towards the bus station.
Just after 6 pm our night bus to Mandalay arrived and we got on it.
The next hours we spend in a fridge. When we first got on the bus it was already a cold 23°C. During the next hours the temperature in the bus dropped to a freezing 16°C.
From the bus company we were provided a blanket that kept us hardly warm and some lovely nutritious dinner.
The seats are hardly comfortable, my legs are too long for the space and we have 12 hours ahead of us. Good night. When I arrive I will be an ice block.