And then the assault happened—four puppies came out of nowhere, viciously jumping up and licking our knees.
It didn’t take long for Krissy to dote on the dogs.
I tried to find someone who could tell me where the conversation class was, but other than a few wide-eyed monk children who spoke zero English, and apparently didn’t understand my hand gestures, there was no one to be found.
After looking a bit like a lost parking lot surveyor, I finally spotted a senior monk. It wasn’t the monk from Schwedagon, but at least it was someone.
Feeling a glimmer of hope, I tried my best to communicate with him.
Fairly certain he didn’t understand anything other than hello, the monk replied.
“3 o’ clock.”
Then he waved goodbye and shut the door of the small building he was standing in.
Are you kidding me?—was just one of the frustrated phrases that came into my mind at that moment.
I headed towards the gate feeling confused, and cheated.
“Any luck?” Krissy asks, stroking a couple of pups.
Just as I’m about to say, No, I’m a failed adventurer, let’s get the hell out of here and drown our sorrows in a bowl of curry, a group of young men and a monk approach us.
I show the monk the business card, and we chat for a minute in a language of grunts and gestures. I’m beginning to think the monk at Schwedagon was nothing more than some ancient Nat my jetlagged mind had created.
Then this new monk in front of me smiled, and led us to a huge flatbed truck. He motioned to the back.
This is it, I smiled at Krissy. I can hear my grandpa’s overprotective advice flashing like a red alarm in my head—you’re heading straight towards Isis headquarters!
We jumped in the back of the truck, and the vehicle peeled out of the road. It wasn’t long before we were on a major roadway, sliding around the back of the truck-bed like penguins in greased high heels.
Are monk affiliates even allowed to drive this fast? I think, clutching the metal handles.
We flew under large buildings, over bridges, and through dusty streets with vendors walking and hawing every which way. Then I felt the truck come to a screeching halt. We sat parked in front of an unmarked three story building sandwiched in the middle of a packed downtown street.
And what do you know, there was the monk from Schwedagon! He led us into building, and up an elevator that looked like it could have been the set for a horror movie.
Krissy and I walked into the classroom, a long room with a decayed whiteboard at the front, and long wooden benches and tables layering the space. Like a lot of Myanmar, everything had this dusty antique feel to it.
Krissy and I each sat at a separate bench, and it wasn’t long until droves of local Myanmar people sat around us. Even though they were from all different ages and professions, one thing was very clear—these people were desperate to learn English. There must have been over 50 people in the room.