Rain clouds are now a daily feature over Yangon. A brisk wind precedes the deluge, where the rain lashes down so fiercely that visibility recedes and the whole city holds its breath. The monsoon has very much arrived.
But the downpours do little to stop the average Yangonite going about his or her daily business or to dampen spirits. The tea shops, beer stations and stalls continue to spill out onto the pavements; all that’s changed are the many parasols and make-shift gazebos that have popped up to give shelter.
I regularly go out with my colleagues for lunch at a street-side barbecue, then on to a tea shop. No one is in a hurry. Some Friday evenings I play five-a-side football with a few of them, after which we sit in a beer station and the conversation usually turns to politics and civil society action.
Recently I returned from the UK with a litre of Laphroaig. We had a bottle opening ceremony at a local beer station accompanied by fried duck feet and pickled tea leaves. For those interested, the fried duck feet had a similar texture and taste to squid.
Just daily life in Yangon.