Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Land of Smiles

My journey began when I left my house in PA at about 3:45 am. It was a long 45 hours of travel. I didn’t sleep much and I had a dreadful 14-hour layover in Doha, Qatar. The airport was nice sure, but being trapped anywhere for that long can really wear a man down.

My Apartment
My apartment is very nice. It is about the size of a dorm room, but I have my own bathroom and a balcony. The landlord, Ms. On, is very nice and speaks English well. The building is about a five-minute walk to the university and a main street that has countless shops and street food vendors. My apartment also has food to order from the kitchen and it is very cheap.
The People
The Thai people are very friendly. I have learned how to say hello and thank you, but I’ve learned that a nice smile can do a lot of talking. They call Thailand the “Land of Smiles” and that is most definitely true. However, most of the people don’t speak English, and if they do it’s usually difficult to understand.

First, I have to wear a uniform and I am not fond of it. I have to wear long black pants, black dress shoes, and a white button down shirt with a school tie. Any time one goes to campus, they are required to wear the uniform. For example, when I go to get my school ID on Monday, I have to wear my uniform although I don’t have class. It may not sound too bad, but walking in 85-degree weather with 90% humidity in pants and a long shirt is unpleasant. Once you get into the school buildings, the air conditioner is set at maybe 60 degrees.

The food is absolutely phenomenal. I have had quite a few Thai dishes so far and I have liked them. ALL Thai food is spicy but still very enjoyable. My favorite dish so far has been a coconut curry fried chicken with rice. The chicken wings are also unbelievably good. If I am ever feeling less adventurous, the fried rice is usually a safe order.

On day two I went the mall with the Finnish girls that live in my apartment. There were five of us and we took a taxi. It cost about $1.50 to go maybe six miles? The mall was called Future Park and it was the largest mall I have ever seen. We were there for three hours and saw only a quarter of it. On day three (Saturday) 10 Dutch girls who have been here for three months and are nearing the end of their stay showed me how to get to Bangkok’s largest market. It is called Chatuchak and it was unfathomably large. I bought two pairs of really nice shorts and a linen shirt for less than $20. After the market, a group of us went to a place called Red Corner and got pizza. It was really good pizza. After pizza we went to a club. The music was good but no Thai people were dancing! What a strange culture.
Issues Thus Far

The first issue regards my classes. Before leaving CC I chose some classes and had them approved by evaluations. However, at orientation here we had to register for courses and none of the classes I had previously chosen were available. But it doesn’t matter now. I am here and I am taking what I can. Hopefully it all buffs out in the end. The second issue is adjusting to the jet lag, I am 12 hours ahead and it has been difficult but I can already feel my internal clock getting closer to normal.

Desk in Apartment
Bathroom in Apartment
Bed in Apartment
Fried Rice with Vegetables 
The girls and me on our way to the market

Boy Scout uniforms for sale at market (Ha!)

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