Friday, July 24, 2015

Plays, weather and life

In Vientiane we have been sweltering as the rains have been very, very late this year.  When the rains come the temperature drops significantly.  For most of July it was 30 degrees when we went out for our morning walk and the day only gets hotter.  This last week there has been rain and as I write at 8am it is a cool and comfortable 25 degrees.  Sadly, most of South East Asia is now in a severe drought – the period from April to July (when the rains are supposed to come) is vitally important for the annual rice harvest.  So the food security for many subsistence farmers may be very dire in six months time.  A very good summary of the situation: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/drought-07172015170207.html

On a more positive note we had the privilege of attending a performance of Hamlet, by the London globe theater touring troupe.  Andrew told a few people he was going to Shakespeare play...ho-hum...kind of not understanding they were a world-class act.  And they were 100% superb! Even though many of the locals and non-English speaking expats couldn't quite understand all of the language, they were in no doubt about the energy from the performers and had a reasonable idea what was happening.  It was a free show, supported by the British Embassy here.  In Yangon the tickets are $50 USD.

We snaffled seats near the front when the reserved seating blocks weren't occupied.  This was lucky as the acoustics are not wonderful in the large auditorium and maybe Andrew did start to nod off twice in the middle of the first half, but the second half had sword fights, singing, dancing and he didn't take his eyes from the stage until the end – when of course, as expected, everyone lay dead on stage.  It was also interesting to see Rawiri Paratene as part of the cast (far right in the picture below)

globe2
        globe1  globe 4  globe 3

Travelling around town we see some sights – like the mother with her two boys on the motorbike.  It was a moderately sunny day and the boys are not wearing helmets – rather they flip their sweatshirts over their head.  She then proceeded to ride through the red light, traffic lights are sometimes considered optional here.  Road tolls are also high.

traffic

Building site safety standards are also a bit looser here.  Out our apartment window we could see a 5 storey building under construction.  Builders clamber up and down from the roof to the bamboo scaffolding in a casual fashion.  The large cranes in the background are a professional construction site – building a Chinese Casino…anyone need any money-laundering done?

houses

And today we head to Bangkok and then Europe for 5 weeks of babies, weddings and hopefully lots of good food, wine and fun.