Friday, October 22, 2010

a bit more...

So here’s a low down of what have experienced since we left the states. Jeff talked a bit about some of the same stuff so bare with me...

On the flight to Bangkok I realized that we had forgotten to write down the name of the hotel we were staying at in Bangkok! Kinda something we were gonna need! Not something I could do while on the plane… when we got to Japan I tried to buy internet to look it up but it did not work. I kinda was having a bit of a melt down in the waiting area. Thankfully this girl took pity on me and said she was in the same program and said she had the name and we could all taxi there together!
So having the name of the hotel was a good thing however it really helps if the taxi driver knows where he is going! We drove around for about an hour in to the center of Bangkok. All the time the driver kept acting like he knew where he was going but kept suddenly changing directions. In the end we found it and it was right next to the airport! We finally got in about 2 in the morning and had to be up for orientation at 8am.
The next day was nice got to meet all the Americans who are teaching here for the year and we got our first lesson about the Thai language. We found out this is going to be a very hard language to learn…
On the second day here we went on a trip to the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. That was awesome. Beautiful. Anything I say cannot capture how beautiful everything was. We took lots of pictures so we will post them either on here later or on facebook. The Emerald Buddha was actually kinda small but up on such a large and impressive shrine he still looked so magnificent. You have to take off your shoes to enter the temple, so we did that and went in and gave the traditional 3 deep bows of respect to the Buddha. Such a uniquely different experience than anything I had ever done before.
When we got back we went out to dinner on the street by our hotel. It was so good! The food is amazing here! Here food=happiness, this is my kind of place!
At dinner the 6 of us each had a meal and we shared a three-liter tower of beer and it only cost us 21 bucks. For ALL of us! The food here is not only really good but really cheap.
Orientation its self has been kinda boring and repetitive, but we have gotten to meat a lot of really cool people and have learned some interesting things about Thailand and Thai culture.
One night we went to Kho San road, which is the backpacking district where all the tourists hang out at night, it has lots of bars and touristy things. Jeff, Susan, Ashley and I went there and got some amazing Pahd Thai from a little old lady cooking it on a cart. We then went and got a beer at a bar named Club Fish Gallery, it's named that because when you order a beer you get 5 minutes of a free fish massage! You get to go stick your feet in a tank and have tiny little fish come up and eat the dead skin off your feet. It feels exactly like you would think it would! The down side to the backpacker district is that there are tons of little kids trying to sell you things, kinda like in Mexico. Jeff pissed of one of the boys trying to sell him a rose. The boy tried to get him for a bout 5 min to buy one then he said “Fuck! You no boy, you lady boy!” for those of you who don’t know, a lady boy is one of the boy prostitutes who dresses like a lady. So it’s the ultimate insult here. We all laughed it was just so ridiculous. The funny thing was the boy who was selling the roses had bright pink nail polish on!
The next day we had all heard about the Thai massage. So we decided to go and get one. The massage parlor was not far from our hotel maybe 5 min walking. When we looked out side it was raining but we thought we would be ok in it, I mean we’re from Oregon what’s a little rain! We had our rain jackets so we went for it. Within a minute we were soaked! This was a tropical down pour it would not let up. By the time we got to the massage parlor the street was a lake. A tiny bit earlier I tried to jump a small puddle up on to a curb. That did not go so well…I slipped and fell and cut up my leg. I caused quite a commotion when I walked in to the store. Dripping wet muddy and bleeding! They were so nice washed my leg and disinfected it too. To get in to the massage parlor we had to wade through 8 inches of water to get to the door, after my earlier miss hap there was no way I was gonna try and jump it! The massage was well worth it though. They not only massaged you, they also pulled and stretched you every which way. It was awesome.

Ok so on to the elephants! They are some of the coolest animals I have ever seen. They are majestic. There is just no other way to describe them. We started out sitting on a bench chair on the back of the elephant while the driver sat on the head of the elephant. He only stayed there for a minute then he jumped down and had jeff sit on his head! Jeff was there for a while and then we switched and I got to sit on his head. It was so cool! We had a pretty small elephant and he was rather hairy but he was very talented, he was on of the elephant in the elephant show we saw. After the ride we got to take pictures with the elephants and watch an elephant show. They dunked a basketball, twirled a hula-hoop on the trunks and shot darts at balloons. As Jeff said he also got a massage from an elephant I have video and will be posting it because you have to see it to appreciate it fully!

So here we are in Chachoengsao, our new home for the year. It is much bigger than Monmouth and bigger still than Corvallis. I think it has a kind of Corvallis feel to it though. It’s big but it has a kinda small town feel to it. Especially coming from Bangkok.  Our apartment is nice, its kinda a large studio apt with two rooms attached with large sliding door. Ill post pictures of it. We live above a Thai bookstore and there is tons of little carts to eat off of up and down the street we are on. There is also a large park down the road where we can hang out. We met with our school coordinators yesterday. They are super nice, but I think they are very worried about us or think we are just not that smart! They drove us all over town to show us where everything is and how to get around. We wanted to go to Big C, which is kinda like a walmart so they said they would take us there. We told them it was ok we would be fine to get there on our own. They insisted. We kept trying to tell them we would be ok on our own (we felt bad they kept paying for everything and driving us around) so we finally got them to leave us there. We made it home safe and sound but forgot to call them and let them know that! So an hour later we get a call wondering where we are and if we are ok! They are so cute and super helpful.

right now we are trying to figure out what to do this weekend. we have a long weekend so we want to travel but a lot of the country is flooded. Thailand is having one of its worst flood years. so we think we found an isalnd to go to but now we just have to see if we have the time to get there and back before school starts. we'll keep you all up dated. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome to Thailand

The last week and a half in short...

Bangkok (Krungthep)

So straight away I have to say, YES, we're okay. And second drivers in Thailand are CRAZY. Now everything else: our first night in Bangkok - which by the way Thai people call "Krungthep", which is short for the real name, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest name of anything in the world, it's long - we got to our hotel at about 1:30 pm after driving around Bangkok for and hour and 15 minutes with a taxi driver that knew about 5 1/2 words in English and didn't know where he was going; he kept stopping and reading our little sheet of paper with the directions written on it, turning around, stopping again, reading, turning around... you get the picture. A little bit sketchy for our first hours in Thailand after traveling for like 36 hours on basically no sleep. But we did finally get to the hotel and everything was okay, but the taxi driver waas trying to ask how long we were going to be there, and gave me his card so that we could call for his services again... oh thank you so much mr. Thai taxi driver, cause that's exactly what I want to do on my next taxi ride through Bangkok; struggle to communicate, get lost and overcharged, and listen to 90's slow-jams for an hour and a half.

After that night most of orientation was fairly uneventful - comparatively, we're still in Thailand - and mostly it just poured while we were there. Mostly it was lectures about teaching and Thai culture and language lessons. The latter was cool, and difficult, we're only getting a few things down. We got to meet our school coordinators one night. But we did get to go see the grand palace in Bangkok, pretty touristy but very cool. It's the kings palace and also has the temple of the Emerald Buddha. I took pictures and will post. We did have a couple fun adventurous nights in Bangkok, but I think I'm going to let Francesca tell you about that.


We spent the last night and day of orientation here. This place was beautiful and we stayed at this amazing resort hotel that was all open-air. At night we saw the "bridge over the river kwai", which isn't as big as I would have thought, and is still in use. The next morning we woke to sun, and Kanchanaburi was beautiful, picture huge green mountains haloed by clouds, perfect tropical green jungle. We woke up early and headed off to ride some elephants. That's right, elephants. This was pretty much indescribable, we were actually riding elephants; huge, amazing, smart animals, it was incredible. I rode on our elephants head (there are pictures I think). We all hung around the elephant place for a while after our rides and fed the elephants, took pictures with them, got kisses from them, watched an elephant show, got an elephant massage (true story, not very fun though, the elephant hit my nut with it's trunk). After the elephants there was a bamboo raft trip that wasn't as cool as the elephants, but the water felt nice. The trip to Kanchanburi was amazing to say the least, we're going to go back for sure. We did the 3 1/2 hour bus trip back to Bangkok and our original hotel where we were picked up by our coordinators and made the hour and half drive to Chachoengsao (pronounced chach-en-sow).


And now we're here, in our home for the next year. Chachoengsao is no where near the size of Bangkok, but still feels pretty big, and busy. You can definitely see that there isn't much tourism in Chachoengsao though, we pretty much get stared at every where we go here. They call white foreigners farung. We got to go see our school, which is also big and overwhelming. We are living with two other english teachers though, that are in the second half of their year, but their on vacation or something right now cause their not around, we're eager to ask them questions, and talk to someone who can explain something to us in english. We start teaching on the 26th, who knows what going to happen or what it will be like.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a trial post

hey! here goes, our adventure teaching English begins. i hope in this blog we can keep everyone updated on our year in Thailand. thanks to my wonderful friend Amanda this blog has a super cool name rather than something generic like "my year in Thailand". if you say it out loud it begins to make sense...
so, its the night before and of course jeff and i are up and packing till all hours of the night. its kinda weird packing your life up in two bags. it really makes you think about what your really gonna need for the next year.
tomorrow we are off to the airport for a day and a half of travel. really not looking forward to that part!
well here's to hoping we can actually keep this up to date.