June 10, 2001

I want to stay

It is my last day in Burma. I reach the airport at 6 AM. My flight is at 8. There is this pretty but serious girl at the customs. She checks my bag. She finds a sealed packet. She asks me to open it. It contains three Burmese puppets. She giggles. For two seconds she plays with a puppet. I am standing there, amused. She politely keeps the puppet back and returns to her seriousness for the next passenger.

Burmese Puppet

I clear immigration and head for the waiting room. Not many people there. There are some kids, - some play, some cry. One kid is asking for an ice cream early in the morning. The kids gaze at the tiny planes with awe. The small planes are getting ready for their trips to tiny cities in the north. I wish I were in one of those small planes. Alas, I have to wait for a big plane. The big plane arrives. A bus drops us to the plane; we could have just walked. Most of the other passengers turn back and wave to the people who have come to send them off. The customs girl is standing there by the stairway. I wave goodbye to her, surprising her. The customs girl recovers fast, smiles a magic smile and returns the goodbye. I want to stay.

Plane at a Burmese airport


Myanmar


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I want to stay It is my last day in Burma. I reach the airport at 6 AM. My flight is at 8. There is this pretty but serious girl at the customs. She checks my bag.