After nearly three months travelling solo two of my bestest girlfriends arrived to join me in Yangon, Myanmar.
As you can imagine there were high levels of excitement, and we wanted to celebrate our reunion in a bar drinking beer and playing cards (not a particularly demanding request …. or so it would seem).
The kind of bars that have lounge-style seating and draft beer are few and far between in Yangon. However, after much searching online, we pick a place and head out.
It's a good 45 minute walk but we are enjoying ourselves, nattering away, taking in the new sites, reflecting on the area's ambience of colonial decay, dodging traffic on the busy roads, glancing at the various dishes, knick-knacks, fabrics and pretty dresses on the street-side stalls.
About half way it begins to pour with rain. A real deluge.
We are getting a weary of the walk, ready for a cold drink, when my friend excitedly exclaims, pointing, 'There! I think that's it, that sign -'
But before she could finish her sentence: Whumpf! She was gone. Disappeared entirely, swallowed by the pavement.
Then suddenly, as if from nowhere, her head popped up, and as she hauled herself towards us, she was simultaneously reprimanding us 'Help me up then!'.
Bemusedly we grabbed her, only then realising what had happened. She had fallen into a five foot deep drain, that had been completely hidden by the lack of street lamps.
Three incredible ladies from a nearby stall rushed to our aid.
I told my unfallen friend to look after our friend, whilst I (gallantly) said I'd get her handbag from the drain. They both stared at me, 'It's fine I'll sort it', I delegated. I was shocked and needed us to have a game plan.
As they sat whilst these women washed her legs, cleaned her wounds and bandaged her up (they really were saints), I stood at the side of the canyon with my torch in hand thinking why did I offer to do this?
The bottom was filled with sludgy water so I couldn't very well get in and if I did, how on earth would I get out? My friend's rapid escape from its depths was explainable only by adrenaline...
But I was too embarrassed to go back empty handed, I wanted to help. Uselessly I looked for a stick, nothing. Could I use a ladle from the food stall? I thought wildly: no that would never reach .... and who would let me dip a cooking utensil into that?
I was getting desperate when out of nowhere a man (or perhaps some sort of super hero) appears, he does not speak, he gets his torch out and I point out the bag I am feebly attempting to reach. Without a word, I mean it, not a word, he lowers himself down (into the murky waters), gets the bag out and gives it to me, then he turns around and leaves, whilst I am dumb-foundedly thanking him.
People are truly wonderful.
My friend was surprisingly OK in the end, just a few scrapes and bruises, although we never did make it to the bar. We came back to the hostel and had imitation Pringles for dinner and played cards: not quite what we were expecting, but I was grateful for a calm ending to what was undoubtedly the most dramatic day of my trip ... so far (I've only been with these two for a few hours).
One good thing to come out of this experience, dear readers, is that it makes good fodder for my blogging, and I am sure that I will have many posts to follow this one, if our first day together is indicative of the rest of our trip.