Inlet Lake, Burma —-On his last night we shared a beer in the hotel lobby. We talked about politics, travels and the possibilities of nothingness. He confessed to me that he has built a wall around himself; and I confessed to him that I’ve removed my walls but put up fences. You can look in but you can’t come in. He asked me to come to Thailand with him. We checked the dates, nothing would fit in. In the morning, we play fought, and called each other names to avoid the nothingness — his departure, this affair. In the afternoon, I road my bike around town pretending not to miss him. An affair. A traveler’s affair. It happens in cheesy books and movies. When his bus departed, I became sick and spent the rest of my day in bed.
Yangon, Burma — (Departing) crumbling colonial buildings now inhabited by, we the people; their clothes hang outside to dry; the underwear republic; below, the sidewalks are packed to death with vendors selling everything - remote controls, palm readings; pictures of Obama; someone pulls my hand to buy a pair of sunglasses; I nodded and try to cross the street; when I see a local sprint across, I follow, otherwise I might get knock down; the cars only slow down for the traffic lights and Monks; It’s 7:30am, I hear a repeated bell; the monks are passing through the streets on their way to the monastery for lunch; a daily ritual; residents stand outside putting food in their bowls; Is it monks or Monks?; I put my camera back into my bag; A man shouts hello and then smiles; His mouth looks like a horror movie; His teeth are eroded from chewing betel nut; the streets are splattered with red paste from the betel nut; when I first saw it I thought it was blood, somebody being knifed to death in the streets of buddha; it’s 8:00am, the sun is already stinging; I’m on my third bottle of water; I borrow sunblock from the boy; he’s orange, perhaps he can glow in the dark; I take a taxi to the airport; The driver list out every American President since Ford; He talks about Obama; he likes Negro people; His words; They are strong people he says; We talk about politics; Burma’s crumbling landscape and the Chineses building the city back up; In five years it would be a country of malls and clothes people can’t afford; I arrive at the airport; happy to go home; not home home, but a place with my bed and favorite pair of shoes; I no longer have an idea of home; that’s they best part of being a citizen of the world, the boy says; we met three cities ago and redirected our travels; he holds my hands; I wipe the breakfast crumbs from his face, it was there all morning; I now felt the need.