It’s blistering hot. I’ve never felt such intense sun, so I’m now back on the corner by Canada bar. Opposite by the police station is the road with the Chinese humanitarian centre. Today is a special day. They a giving out sacks of food, and the street is awash with scruffy kids, mothers with new horns in their arms, men with broken teeth and betel nut stains, kids smoking cheroots, people now squatting wherever there is shade, including under the stage where the pink capped humanitarian workers are sitting on top of and guarding the sacks of food. They have a system for distribution, and it is guarded by guys in military uniforms. It involves a yellow laminated card with a red symbol on it. I gather it is gained by revolving around the stage and passing two checkpoints at which your hand is daubed with a different colour food dye, indigo then green. An overjoyed burman hugs me and shakes my hand, making me green too.
Opposite this stage is a Chinese temple and prayer hall a square with a gazebo in the middle and a stage on the other side. In the prayer hall a group of elderly Chinese monks, dressed in white sing prayers and carry out a ceremony. Inside the hall is a mountain of food bags which a shouldered out in line the crowd held back by an avenue of blue barrels, to the stage. The mountain there is growing, ready to be handed out. On the stage. Is a. Traditional Chinese play. Two large made up men, hooting and screeching. Sounds of Chinese percussion. The Burmese are hot, bemused, but. Patient.
On the other side of town the Thais are at school. In the street across the way the Muslims a being called to prayer. The Burmese temple is closed and full of sleepy dogs.
It’s 2 pm, and I can’t believe how much life I have seen already today.
Video to follow….