April 15, 2015

Thingyan - the Water Festival

the burmese new year called Thingyan falls in April.  it's a four day holiday that somehow gets stretched out to two weeks.  it's the hotest month before the rainy season begins and so not much gets done in April in Myanmar.  kind of like August in Europe or the US.  during the holiday, the tradition of sprinkling of water to cleanse the sins of the last year has transitioned into buckets and hoses of water drenching anyone in the street.

this of course is fun for the first five minutes but carrying around your mobile phone in a ziplock to make sure it doesn't get drenched gets old really quickly. 

so, everything shuts down.  in anticipation of the profits to be made during the festival they pull all the western products off the shelves so whie the warehouses are full the shelves remain empty.  Because of the sanctions and internal laws about foreign ownership there are not a lot of western brands in Myanmar anyway.  the expats further contribute to the problem by hoarding product [there just was a tonic shortage] when it's available.  every shopping trip is different because there you absolutely don't know what will be on the shelves.

during the there's a lot of drinking by the locals, roads are closed and some of the expats have been moved closer to housing closer to their offices.  i've decided it would be a good time to combine a visa run with a few weeks in Bali.

some things seem so crazy it's hard to explain well, here's an article from the paper that explain how the police intend to decrease sexual violence during the holiday.


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