The Burmese maids at our guest house do an amazing amount of work. We have watched them clean rooms, wash all the guests laundry by hand, maintain bicycles, concrete some steps and set tiles into them, dig huge holes to put log seats into, chase snakes out of the garden. They love Abacus to bits, they stop work and rush over to her when we arrive back, or leave our room. One has 6 or 7 children, we met the youngest who is about 10, the eldest is in their late 20's. I don't know what they are paid. One of our friends went to to leave after three months of staying here and the owner charged her a full nights rent to store her bags for half a day. She comes off friendly, but I imagine she doesn't hire Burmese to help their cause.
There's a lot of whitening products here, even under arm deodorant.
They bought a fish tank for the guest house, but to save on electricity they kept unplugging the pump, the first two died within a day, one of the next two suffered the same fate at which point I kept plugging the pump back in everytime I saw it out, this maintained the fourth ones life for almost a week, before we saw the fish tank sitting empty of water. It was too cold for them, the owner said.
Oneday I bought some chicken from the chicken lady, danielle laughed first of all because I'd been ripped me off for what I got, then we weren't quite sure what part of the chicken it was, (after I'd taken a bite), Danielle thought it was knuckles, "no it's not, it's worse" I said, just before spitting it out, it was a skewer of chicken butts.
There's another woman who sits crosslegged in front of a giant wok full of oil, cooking over a drum, she deep fries what looks like shredded potato or taro, they're like deep fried hashbrowns, but while she's cooking it, she's wearing a medical facemask, and I'm like, that's not really the sort of place I'm going to eat, where the chef has to wear a facemask to cook the stuff.
There's a thing called a taro basket. Its an awesome example of edible packaging and comes full of delicious chicken, cashew and vegetable curry, it's one of my favourite dishes - but if you order it to take away, your ecofriendly tarobasket comes inside a non-recyclable styrofoam package.
Burma still has music and movie industries, movie stars and pop stars. Burmese teens still aspire to be like them. They have hiphop and the Burmese rappers look not disimilar to their American gangsta counterparts, with girls dancing in the background of their videos.