Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Message From Myanmar #09

Messages From Myanmar #09
20 January 2016

Photo Update Alert:
  Yangon Zoo

Hello there… Rodger French here.

The Happy Holidaze having finally passed, I thought I’d check in and update you on the happenings in Yangon, where everything happens a half-day earlier.

Wedding Bells - As noted in the previous posting, Anne received an invitation, expensive and quite elaborate, to the wedding of a very well off Burmese couple. The nuptials took place in the grand ballroom of a fancy hotel, spilling out into the lobby, where tables and large video monitors were set up to accommodate the overflow of guests. Now, I haven’t been to a wedding in years, but this seemed to me to be quite the spectacle. (I apologize for the lack of photoz; the light was impossible for my camera.)

[Cultural Sidebar - A traditional Burmese wedding conducted in a Buddhist temple is another matter entirely. We hope to have an opportunity to attend one of those before we leave Myanmar.]

Presumably due to our status as members of the diplomatic community, we were seated in the ballroom at a table with several other couples from Myanmar and Singapore. There was a video crew covering the whole affair and everyone was dressed to impress, especially the ladies. Most of them sported some truly impressive bling, with rubies and diamonds predominant. There was also a pretty decent band, featuring an eclectic assortment of traditional Burmese and Western instruments and seemingly a different singer for each song.

The ceremony itself was quiet, lovely, and very Buddhist.

It’s All Happening at the Zoo - The Yangon Zoo is a very popular local attraction and a short walk from The Shang (home), so we took advantage of the MLK holiday this past Monday to go visit, thus avoiding the weekend crush. The grounds are very pleasant and the animals appear well tended to, although the habitats seem achingly small for the larger beasties. Like the tigers. Which are awesome.

But it just breaks my heart to see large, beautiful birds confined in cages too small to fly about in. I think the local pigeons and crows are better off, even if they do have to scrounge for food. That said, it is what it is, and the groups of school children in attendance were clearly having a fine, fun experience.

Music News - “Che, AcordeĆ³n - Tangos from Buenos Aires” CDs have arrived. Oh, boy. That means the whole world - including you - can now (a) listen for free on SoundCloud, (b) download the album or individual tracks at cdBaby, and/or (c) order an actual CD from me. (You have my email.) The reviews are trickling in and so far, so good:

“Beautifully performed.”

 “… like being in a Wes Anderson Movie… or Paris.”

Incidentally, if you find yourself near The Shang on 28 February, plan on stopping by for the Album Release Concert. No need to RSVP.