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Letters From Myanmar ~ Sunday at the Zoo 
Sunday, July 23, 2006
I will start off by saying the very first Sunday that we spent here together, I was a little down and out that afternoon. David looked at me and said..."look at it this way, one Sunday closer to going home". I got my calendar out and counted down the Sunday's. It has become tradition for us to have pancakes every Sunday morning and to talk about how many few Sunday's we have left here. Just incase you were wondering...we've got 21 Sunday's left. May sound like a long time to you but to us....It's the sound of hope!
My life has been a roller coaster ride every day since April of 2005. I wake up each morning never knowing what is about to happen. It's hard to be prepared when things are so unstable. I'm a little torn quite frankly. I'm so ready to come home and be normal but sometimes great things happen and I just stand amazed and happy to have had this opportunity.
This brings me to our adventures today. The Weldon's went to the zoo here in Myanmar. David has been to the zoo before but the kids and I got to experience it for the first time. It costs $0.10 to park the car in the zoo parking. Admission to the zoo is 2000 kyats per foreigner (that's a little less than $2.00 US each). This is a small way that americans get discriminated against, we pay more for things that locals do because of our white skin. BUT we got carried in a special enterance for foreigners. We didn't have to go in the same gate as the locals. Whoo Hoo....Our very own gate! It's probably wider because foreigners are enormous compared to the tiny Burmans!! haha A wider door for wider folks!!!
As David paid our admission and got our tickets to get into the zoo, the kids and I began to get surrounded as we often do here. My kids are an attraction and I have decided that I need to find a way to charge the locals to touch, look at and kiss my kids. You have to be here to understand how it is. We are freaks here. People will stop, point their fingers at us, tell the people they are with, and stare as we walk by. It is the most amazing thing. Especially, Zoe. She has the fairest hair and skin and is small so people tend to be drawn to her. People will walk up to her, squat down (people here squat like you wouldn't believe) and will start touching her. She freaks out, of course. If I stand still longer than about 30 seconds people will surround me and her to the point that we cannot move. We get mobbed. At the market, on the street, no matter where we go and the zoo was no
different. David got our tickets to get into the zoo, turned around and had to say excuse me, just to get to us.
We had drawn quite a crowd. By the time we had been into the zoo for about 10 minutes...He was sick and tired of the attention we were getting. I just laughed. I was glad he was holding zoe...generally I'm by myself with the kids. It gets to the point that I buy only a few groceries at a time because I can't be in the market longer than about 10 minutes at a time. Everyone needs to experience this....It's so weird to be white!!!
I will not bore you by sending all the pics as I made around 100 pictures. I will send a few. Keep in mind, I didn't use a zoom lens. We were as close to these animals as the pictures show. We were close enough to touch many of the animals...Made me a little uncomfortable with Zoe Brooke not knowing any better. Kinda have to keep close eyes on her. The zoo smelled so bad but seemed to be clean (according to Myanmar standards). There were trolleys to ride you around the zoo, there
were boat rides, elephant rides, a water park, and little venders set up all along the way selling food, drinks, and items that I felt uncomfortable getting too close too....ha ha! One of the highlights was when we stopped by one of these little stands to buy Zach and David a soda. The sodas came in bottles. We paid the lady for the soda and she took the top off of the bottle and began to poor this bottle of soda into a small baggy. She then put a straw in the baggy and handed it to Zach. Have you ever drank a soda, or any liquid for that matter, out of a baggy??? My mouth just dropped all the way open. I looked at David and his mouth was all the way open. SHOCKED!!
What was she doing?? She was pooring that bottle of soda into a baggy. This was a tiny wal mart sack. Then she
put a straw in the sack. Words cannot express my amazement. Who would have ever thought to pour a soda into a baggy and drink it. Turns out, no glass bottles were allowed in the zoo so in place of what we would use a plastic cup for, they used a baggy. When I was able to gather myself, I laughed way too hard. This was the funniest thing. A soda out of a wal mart sack...I have a picture of course...check it out!!!
David bought some bananas to feed some elephants that were just out walking around on leashes with zoo keepers. He was holding Zoe and needless to say...Zoe isn't much of an elephant kinda person. She freaked out!!! Zach wouldn't go near them either. I was taking pictures so, of course, I couldn't be close...ha ha We like the zoo, we just don't want the zoo to touch us!!!
David paid one of the zoo keepers $0.20 to sit a really big bird on his shoulder so I could take a picture. The bird just sat there...David was holding Zoe and she's not really a bird kinda person either! After wiping the BIRD FLU off of his shoulder we moved on. Of course, we got rained on which was totally expected! It's the rainy season here and if you go anywhere, you get rained on! Rule of Myanmar thumb...always take an umbrella.
We stayed about 3 hours at this zoo. We didn't use the restrooms as it is well known to all Americans here that it's worth going back to your apartment if you gotta go. I havent' gotten up enough nerve to try a public restroom out (for photo purposes) and the zoo was not where I was going to experience one for the first time. We are learning to hold it!!! I think all three of our bladders have grown in size since arriving here. AND thankfully, Zoe still has her diapers. I can't even imagine how things would be here if we were just learning to potty like a big girl. To all of those people who encouraged me to train her before we left....My gut instinct (keeping her in diapers) was right on!!! I shipped a potty chair over here but I plan to make no effort in this department until we get back into the land home!! Sorry didn't mean to get into this subject so deeply,
just wanted you all to know...Never use the public restrooms in Myanmar!!! ha ha
I hope you all had as good of a weekend as we have had!! Monday, July 24 will bring me down to 150 days until I come home!!! I look forward to seeing everyone and look forward to this whole experience being just a memory!!!

I will see you soon....Dannielle

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