I have been haunted by puppet no shows since Mandalay, the victim of low season. I keep being promised puppet shows that turn out to just never happen. I roused myself from sleep my last night in Mandalay to go to the rooftop bar to see the puppets the tent card by my bed promised, but found the whole floor dark and under renovation. I ended up eating Thai stirfry in a brightly lit restaurant watching BBC news.
I met two Malaysian women in a temple today peering at frescoes. We shared the task of holding up a light like the kind you use for plumbing jobs to see the detail. I appreciated their focus because they made me look.
They raved about many places and I mentally planned a trip to Malaysia involving diving and orangutans. They rhapsodized about a puppet show in a restaurant in Nyaung U, about 3 km from here. One of the women stopped to pray in front of the standing Buddha, then hopped up, opened her iPad and showed photos of the show and the restaurant sign. I used my iPhone to take a photo of her iPad.
Dinner time came with rain, and the inertia borne of a 430 am start and a lot of bike riding in blazing heat over sand. I pestered the desk guy for a closer puppet show that wouldn’t involve a cab, and he claimed there is one every night here. I have not once seen a puppet here, just a plunking man with a harp and a clinking singing lady. I looked skeptical. Layabout unreliable puppets. Puppet hippies.
At 730 I started haunting the staff for the puppet show. Riverside dining was off the table because of more rain, and the hotel manager said I could come into the rarely used dining room and there would be puppets.
And there were. Just for me. Like a queen. Dance, puppets, dance.
The trouble with your own puppet show is you can’t leave when you’ve finished your gin and tonic.