Burma, Bugs, Bee Mine, and Blood

What a week – has it just been one week?! On Monday we drove up to Burma (Myanmar) with a couple from Ireland to renew our Thai tourist visas. It’s a 4-hour drive from here through some beautiful mountain scenery and past gazillions of rice paddies. We stopped at some hot springs on the way up and saw something I’ve never seen or even imagined at hot springs in the US: enterprising Thais selling eggs hard boiled in the hot springs! At Mae Sai we walked across the border, and I don’t mind telling you it made me feel a bit edgy when we crossed over to have to leave my passport on the Burma side with officials of your friendly neighborhood military junta. they give you a photo copy of your passport, then you reclaim your passport when you exit the country. The differences between Burma and Thailand remind me of the differences between El Paso and Juarez – that obvious – so I spent most of the 15 minutes or so we were there p-ing for the people and country.

The bugs in this week’s title refer to the one Ev caught last week and the one Er is down with. Kids in particular have passed around something not as bad as the flu, but it produces fever, vomiting and coughing. Several have ear infections. Er has a cough, runny nose and laryngitis – an opportunistic bug that took advantage of the food poisoning Er picked up last Sunday night from what we suspect was an undercooked hamburger. We ate in a good restaurant, so it surprised us all. something you also never see in the States: a parrot and a Shitzu (belonging to customers) in a restaurant! We’d appreciate your thoughts for good health for everyone before the next conference begins on Monday.

El has a runny nose and slight fever, we think from the tooth she’s cutting. Her poor little face looks like she’s played pro football with no helmet – kind of matches the knees of most every child here – because she fell twice this week: once off steps and once just falling on the sidewalk. This week also saw the arrival of a new baby, who made her public debut yesterday at dinner. The ex-pat community at this guest house is a bit like an extended family. It’s quite common to see people babysitting or caring for other people’s children, and the kids kind of regard the other adults here as “aunties” and “uncles.”

Not in the title – Em and I attended a Thai cooking class this week, an early part of her birthday presents. It was great fun, not only the spunky, funny woman who teaches the class, and not only the easy and tasty food we learned to cook, but also the fun people who took the class with us: two guys from the UK, a young German couple, a woman from Japan, and a colleague (and her mother) of Er and Em’s. I’ll have to make a trip to LiLi’s when I get home to pick up ingredients for pad Thai and sticky rice with coconut cream and mango!

Bee Mine was the message on the bee valentines Ev made during our “Bug Week” four weeks ago. He, Em and I made v-alien-tines for his friends here, too. Get it – alien ?!? Ev certainly shares his daddy’s interest in things space and NASA. We also launched, er, sent aloft, paper lanterns lifted by what amounts to a sterno ring for Chinese New Year – something else we’d NEVER do in Arizona!

Blood figured in today (Saturday). I was at the pool waiting for Em, Er, Ev and El to arrive when the assistant manager here came to the gate to ask if anyone knew anyone here with B- blood. A tourist who’d been here just one day was evidently in an accident and needed blood for his surgery. Rh- is nonexistent among Asians. Well, “as it happens” (though we know it was no coincidence) Em’s friend Monica ws at the pool and knew Em is B-, so I went with Em via ambulance to the hospital. Bless her heart (and both her arms) it took two tries to get a good vein, but Em donated a pint of blood(plus the half pint they couldn’t use after her first vein collapsed), enabling the man’s surgery. We don’t know his or his wife’s name, but DAD does, so please lift them both up. How much had to work together to make this amazing connection: the assistant manager being a nurse and knowing the nurse overseeing foreigners at the hospital, Em being here, Monica being at the pool at the right time and knowing Em’s blood type . . . ! Just in case you think ABBA doesn’t know and care about each one of YOU!

And on that note – tomorrow we move over to the next conference and hotel, where we’ll be for the next two weeks. I’ll be helping in the nursery, so the little ones AND I could use your thoughts, too – particularly because both El and her slightly younger buddy Chloe LOVE to walk, but Chloe can’t yet and needs an adult to do laps, and I do mean LAPS, around the room with her! Much love and many thoughts your way –

One thought on “Burma, Bugs, Bee Mine, and Blood

  1. Thanks for keeping up this blog so we know how your trip is going — it’s great to follow along with you! We’ll be remembering the things you suggested. How wonderful that you can be there now — it sounds like they needed you more than you could have imagined! Ethan had another difficult day at the dentist, but at least not as bad as the last time.


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