Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shwedagon Pagoda

Ah, yes, the rainy season is now here.  If you watched the clouds video in my previous blog, you got to see one of the spectacular and beautiful parts of this time of the year.  Although I can still look out the window and watch the lightning and hear the thunder, once it actually starts raining, it's not so fun being outside.

Yesterday, around dinner, as the monsoon rains drenched the city, I did actually go out walking in the rain.  It had let up a bit, and I was hungry.  I do have a few things I can cook at home, but all of those required me to boil water, and my one pot was being used to catch drops from my (I've discovered) very leaky roof.

It wasn't so bad getting to the restaurant.  In fact, a lot of the Burmese seemed to be having a very good time.  Although it has rained, they were showers or quickly passing storms.  This was the first time it had rained continuously for a few hours.  People were smiling; it's been a long, hot summer.

Me, I gotta deal with the landlord and get something done about these leaks.

The white noise you hear in the background is the rain hitting the corrugated metal roof over my head.

 * * *
The day before, another new teacher and I visited the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda located right in the heart of Yangon.  The story goes that there's been a shrine at it's location on the only hill for miles around going back to the days of the Buddha himself (600 BC). Somewhere deep in the pagoda are Buddha relics.  Eight strands of his hair were given to two Burmese merchants who met Gautama Buddha when he traveled the world after his enlightenment. 

It's the tallest Buddhist stupa in the world and it is surrounded by a substantial complex of temples, other pagodas and places to make offerings and perform rituals. It was said during the colonial period that there's more gold plating Shwedagon than there was in the Royal Bank of England.

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