There is something unassuming and friendly about Myanmar people. Relatively few visitors from the rest of the world come here, and so there is a yet-to-be-satisfied curiousity that every encounter inevitably begins with. For most people, there is no hostility at all, but simply a desire to find out about life in the outside world. Many people are keen to practice their English, and they perceive it as their ticket to a better life, and most people have a decent grasp of the intricacies of the language. An Australian accent on my part doesn't help things, though.
Most conversations that I have with people include a few vital pieces of information. After establishing that I am an Australian (ah, Australia... Melbourne or Sydney?....ah Melbourne... kangaroo...Harry Kewell) they then ask if I'm alone (you are one?). This is meant purely out of curiousity, with no hint that they might be taking advantage of the fact. Then things turn a little strange, when they tell me that I am fat (You are fat man!), always said with a smile and with admiration. If only things were the same at home. After a long conversation with a middle aged school teacher from Yangon - a conversation which, incidentally, included a offer for me to meet her daughters, a common experience in Myanmar - she ended the conversation with "Goodbye, and you know Ari, you are very fat!" How kind.