June 10, 2001

I want to stay

It is my last day in Myanmar. I reach the Rangoon 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 and 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 it back and returns to her seriousness for the next passenger. I don’t know her name, I call her orange girl, she is in the orange Air Myanmar uniform.

I clear immigration and head for the waiting room. Not many people there. There are some kids though, 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 tiny planes are getting ready for their trips to tiny cities in Myanmar. I wish I was in one of those tiny planes. Alas, I have to wait for a big plane. The big plane arrives. A bus drops us to the plane. Most of the other passengers turn back and wave to the people who have come to send them off. The orange girl is there by the stairway. I wave a goodbye to her. She is stunned. She recovers fast, smiles a magic smile and returns the goodbye. I want to stay.


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