Saturday, November 03, 2012

Social Geography

I look over the shoulder : who is really coming , now that someone leaps up to open the door? No one appears. Surely this must be a joke though. So : at the last moment I caved in and booked a hotel room the first night in Yangon. The taxi takes me past a long row of shipping containers and turns down a dry dusty lane before locked gates . One guard , and one door leaper. It would be easy to write about this in a ironic way .. actually I´m not above that. There are uniforms. On the bed the tols are folded in a for me unseen way , making me feel apologetic about mucking them up with a shower. A minibar. A friendly reminder from the hotel management. And a view to match a back alley in Pahar Ganj or a seedy section of Havanna. In the dining room tea is easily managed , even green tea. Then I carried away and order a juice : blank disbelief. Ju... fruit names in english and hindi , pantomines of plucking and pressing in to a glass .... at last all three waiters reach a Manuel-like state and exclaim : aaah ! ...juice ! The second layer though : retrack the shipping containers to their end , and there is a school (?) building - and next to that the pagoda of the second hair , one of the most important religious sites in Yangon. On the other side of the road : first the Strand Hotel - really , no irony - and immediately after that a man rolls in a big mirror under a car : the British Embassy. All within a few blocks.

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