And just like that it's June, nearly half the year behind us. April and May brought everything from trips to Sinai, to Society of Publishers of Asia (SOPA) nominations, to Ma Ba Tha, to market vendors and countless other stories in-between.
April 1st marked Burma's by-election, which brought an incredibly low turnout to several polling stations in Yangon. I covered western Yangon, lending to Frontier's coverage of the weekend.
That same weekend I was diagnosed with salmonella, which means there is a week of my life where I don't remember anything besides sweating and thinking back to every morsel of food/liquid I'd ingested in the past three days.
April also marked Thingyan- the Burmese New Year. I took this as an opportunity to run away to Egypt. Upon landing it was announced that the country was declaring a state of emergency, prompted by the bombing of a Coptic church in the north. I spent two weeks criss-crossing the country, visiting loved ones and doing as little work as I possibly could.
Two plane rides and the blink of an eye brought me right back to Burma, walking around the vacant halls of the old Secretariat Building of downtown Yangon.
The building is undergoing renovations, and Frontier was provided an opportunity to get a peek of how construction and planning is going. I'dbeen in the building once before, but this particular trip provided an unparalleled opportunity to explore parts of the building the public hasn't had access to in decades.
I began hanging out with Myanmar's bboy crew as well. Watching them walk through the city, full of talent and rhythem, has to have been one of my favorite parts of Spring. Every sound the city has becomes a beat to move to, and they do it with grace and ease.
But have you ever tried organizing shoots and interviews with 12-24 year old boys? It's like herding cats, and I'll be continuing to try and herd these ones for the next month.
Yangon also held its second TEDx talk. My boss, Sonny Swe, gave a talk about his experience in political prison, as well as his experience with freedom since getting out. I was prowling around backstage and around, doing video and taking some photos.
And then Mandalay, where I wandered into Ma Ba Tha's headquarters, poked around a thanaka factory, and sat with street vendors talking about the new market opening in the city.
And what kind of month in Yangon would be complete without doing something involving animals? I spent the morning with Yangon's Bomb Squad, including their current and trainee bomb-dog members.
It was a good wind-down to the hot season, and is already turning into a break-neck rainy season. Last week was spent reporting in Rakhine, and next week I fly to Hong Kong next month to attend the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) award ceremony, as I was nominated for the Excellence in Photography category.
But in the meantime, this is where you can find me...