On the way to Myaungmya I met two young monks in the bus. I just mention it. I won’t describe in detail what happened. It is my privilege as a (greenhorn) blogger to decide what to tell and what to conceal. I’d rather keep some things to myself and learn from them instead of publishing here what might all too easily be misunderstood. I reckon enough already of what I write is not understood at all. Still, I keep it as a kind of diary.
The story (let’s not forget all stories are made up of parts told and untold) serves to remind me that there are real monks and there are men in robes. Well, what else is new? you could say… Look, these two groups play their roles impeccably. One group represents Buddhism by adhering to its principles. Another group serves well to remain alert in order not be misled by outer appearances.
The bus driver is chewing betelnut. He got it from a fellow driver. Spits out the scarlet stuff every now and then. There are 15 people in the van. There is A/C but still I am sweating. Too many bodies crammed into a small space. This is how it is. We all carry it lightly. With a wave and a smile and some red saliva dripping from the lips we all get along a whole lot easier than we would with a grim face full of thanaka sunblock fighting against who knows what. One’s own grimness maybe? I mean, just take a quick look at the driver’s expression.
Be that as it may. After the bus ride to Pathein and to Chaungtha I encounter a wall of nos trying to find a place to sleep. ‘No foreigner license, sorry.’ ‘Full, sorry.’ ’40$, please’ (for a room with a plain mattress inside) … so having been thru some conversations running along these lines I find a helpful man who brings me to the tourist police. There I meet two Germans who find themselves in the same situation. The police helps us, provides shelter for the night and shower/toilet. For free. When I point out that I like it this move and that I am grateful to see the other side of police – to help and to serve – for once, he just smiles and says: ‘We take care of our foreigners.’ It turns out that it is the best that could have happened to me. I mean, is there a safer place than the tourist police station? and, Is there any place cheaper than free? I stay there for three nights. Seldom check out the beach cuz it’s too hot.