Saturday, 16 April 2016

Another Soaking

Events of Saturday, 16th April 2016

The Doctor invited me to join him and his wife on an early morning constitutional. We left, by car, just before 6.00 a.m. and drove to a nearby lake where we found lots of people, many middle-aged couples, walking or otherwise exercising along the path bordering the water. After an out-and-back walk of about 30 minutes, we drove to the market. This was not fully open but the stalls that were trading seemed to be doing excellent business. At one stall, in the short time it took for the Doctor to complete his purchase, two assistants clashed three times trying to simultaneously use the single, rather battered scales to check the weight! I did notice that the scales used proper cast weights presumably in the traditional Burmese units of ‘Vliss’, rather than (as I have seen in many places) dry batteries.

After breakfast at the Doctor’s home, the Doctor drove to his wife to Yangon International Airport, where they have a shop. The development of the airport terminal since my first visit in 2008 is remarkable. New Domestic and International Terminals are currently under construction.

The traffic was very heavy and the lines of pick-up trucks trying to get to the major Water Stations seemed completely jammed so the Doctor returned via a different route, stopping for dairy products at the ‘Milk Bar’ we’d visited the year before (described in the post Yangon (Part 4)).

The Doctor had decided to show me one final, very special and popular Water Station. The road in front of City Hall had been blocked by an elaborate stage comprising the usual row of hose-wielding water-throwers set below a large performance area flanked by two large colour screens. There was room for a single line of vehicles to pass in front of the hoses with crowds of onlookers opposite forming an audience for the performers. Two ‘Sky’ Electronic News Gathering vehicles with satellite dishes were nearby, suggesting that at least part of the event was being broadcast. Certainly, the two large screens were showing a ‘mixed’ output from a number of cameras.

To ensure that the onlookers entered into the spirit of the festivity, a series of hoses on tall posts were watering the crowds. In addition, two manually-operated high-capacity ‘monitors’ set on either side of the crowd were continuously ‘raking’ the onlookers with water. A number of onlookers had taken the precaution of equipping themselves with umbrellas but I’m not sure that this was terribly effective. Certainly, I became quite wet.

We returned to the Doctor’s home along part of Strand Road, where I had my first sight of the modern overhead catenary installed for the recently-introduced trams. I didn’t see a tram, though.

Related posts

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