first research day

In the morning I see that the hotel is in a nice neighborhood with big gardens and low houses, Swedagon pagoda visible through the trees. The neighbors probably were not very happy when the hotel was built.

It is possible only to call reception from my room. For calling outside the house you have to go to the reception. Talking there is arduous due to a generator working right next to it. By chance Thiri calls and we agree something. She explains the address to the receptionist who writes a whole paper full. Don’t they really use house numbers? Then I call one of the contacts from Triinu and someone silently talks somewhere. We agree a meeting in the evening.
This doesn’t work. I take a taxi to Inya Institute. After a few circles around the house and a survey among passers-by the driver decides that this is the house. I go out and am a bit confused. A big apartment house, not good-looking, on stilts. After a while I spot a staircase in the middle. It’s possible to enter this thing. The house contains a dog and some locked grids. I’m sure it’s the wrong house but then on the fourth floor there is a sign for the institute. A shy young man opens the door and says that I can feel like home. Well, I go through the small library. Internet is fast. After finding out which booth next to the house sells sim-cards I promise to come back when Francois is home.
In the booth I put a new card into my phone. The girl sends some messages and among other things probably a fair amount of government spy-ware will be installed. Anyway, now I’m a proud owner of a Myanmar phone number.
I walk to Pansodan gallery because it is only two kilometers on a big street. Although I go slow I sense a drop of sweat climbing down my back when I get there. Outside is unreasonably 31 degrees. The pictures are nice. I can look around peacefully and get all dusty. Maybe I’ll come back later.
Back to the hotel. One phone number that arrived yesterday is switched off, the other is busy. Third one answers, she is very busy and asks to send my questions on e-mail. Maybe we’ll meet on 22nd. University’s number does not answer. Probably it is evening already.
Meanwhile the former political prisoner has arrived in Yangon and co-operated with the other contact with whom I have agreed to meet in the evening. Reasonable to gather into a group like this.
C.L’s workday finishes sooner and so we meet three hours earlier. M.Z arrives later with his fiancée and proposes that we talk business before we get drunk. Drinking beer with a Muslim and a Buddhist. I lose count of the beer. Luckily the glasses are very slim. This looks already more like an academic vacation. I don’t get to pay for anything although the stipend probably included such events.
A very right-side country. They drive on the right side, wheel is on the right side and citizenship is an ethnic category.
finally arrived
second research day

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