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Mandalay in August

I've only been home in Mandalay for 2 1/2 weeks but it feels as if I never left.  School has started again, I'm back in my normal routine and life is good.

Last week, I took one of the new teachers with me to Mingalar for some produce shopping.  It was raining when we walked in to the covered market.  When we walked out, water was knee deep in the street.

This is just typical rain during the rainy season.  It is NOTHING compared to the devastating flooding in most other parts of the country.  Within hours, this water had, for the most part, gone away. 
On 35th street, one of the main streets in Mandalay.  Streets went from dry to flooded in about 30 minutes.

Another view from my taxi.
I love being back to the Myanmar prices.  The dollar is currently strong against the Kyat.  Yesterday I exchanged $200 and got 250,000 K.  Before I left for summer vacation the exchange was around $200 = 198,000 K.

Prices in shops, markets and restaurants have gone up a bit to compensate but at places like Style Star (my favorite hair/nail salon), the prices remain the same.  Yesterday I got a manicure/pedicure; leg and foot scrub/massage; shampoo and massage - all for 8,500K.  Less than $8.

There are a lot of new restaurants.  Mostly, more of the same.  Lots of local/Chinese barbecue, which I love.  There's a new Japanese barbecue place which I was excited about but heard they charge in dollars, have already increased prices and food averages $15 for a mediocre dinner.  The molten chocolate cake at Gossip restaurant for less than $3 remains a tasty bargain.

At Citimart grocery store I spent 50,000 K, which is a lot, but that included cheese, butter, mustard, canned peaches, 7-Up, pepperoni and more - all imported.

Last weekend I arranged for the school bus to take a group of new teachers furniture shopping.  It was fun.  Five new teachers bought cabinets like the one I have in my apartment.  It may have been the best day ever for those furniture sellers.  They were high fiving each other as we left.
Rustic, decorative and functional.  About $22, delivered.

Today I'm enjoying a cloudy day at home.  Prepping all the fruits and veg I bought at the market yesterday for the week.  I'll be enjoying banana ice cream, pineapple and mango smoothies and homemade chicken vegetable soup.   Life is good in Mandalay!


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