Where am I?
I sort of know where I am, but no one knows how to spell it.
Nay Pyi Taw
Nay Pi Daw
However it's spelled, it's my first night in the capital of Myanmar, Thailand's unusual brother to the west.
No place is the strangeness of this country exemplified more than here in it's created capital. The city is only ten years old. Built for several reasons, none more important than creating a buffer between the regime and the biggest cities.
Naypyidaw is about half-way between Yangon and Mandalay. In other words, it isn't close to either one and their potentially riotous inhabitants.
Here I am, and here I will stay for the next four months. My TESL journey has taken me to a place I never would have imagined I would be before I started this adventure. This is a city like no other. My language institute employer assigned me here, and although I did have a veto right to being sent here, I didn't exercise it.
Naypyitaw is allegedly a very boring city. Nothing is going on here. Everything is very far away from each other. Yangon wasn't like Bangkok, but objectively, Yangon was an exciting city. I've given that up. I've gone into exile in Burmese Siberia because my company asked me to.
It's a government contract. I'll be teaching a minister and his lackeys. 10 hours a week teaching time. On paper, it's a sweet gig...
As I was planning this move, I heard some blowback from trolls on a Thailand teaching forum. They said I was supporting an oppressive regime. They said I was becoming part of the problem here, not the solution. Look. I'll let the Myanmar people figure out their own politics. I have no horse in the race. Same thing in Thailand, right? Who are we, as foreigners, to express any opinion or take any action to influence the politics of our host nations?
Now, I've known some friends who've been in SE Asia 20+ years. They've got Thai or Burmese wives, and even mixed-race children. For these guys, sure, it's like it's your country too.
I'm not there yet.
In the meantime, I'll take the government contract here in Nippledew, enjoy the high speed internet and breakfast buffet. I'll make the government connections via my teaching, and who knows how that will benefit me in the future.
So, Ajarn.com's Senior Myanmar Correspondent has now moved to the strange heartland of the Golden Land and it's created capital... however it is spelled.
I encourage you to check out my new YouTube video and see the journey of which I write.
I also have a YouTube page with lots more stuff about the teaching lifestyle in Myanmar