Friday, August 15, 2008

Do You Monsoon?

Happy Birthday Sheree!  I love you!

In general I have been told there are three seasons in Thailand: Hot, Hotter, and Hottest.  Inside these three "seasons" exist the rainy season & the dry season.  Bangkok has been anything but dry lately.  

The rainy season lasts from approximately June to September- we are right in the thick of it.  Leaving for work early in the morning, it is a sunny day, birds tweeting in the background... and then fifteen minutes later the monsoon has arrived!  It is amazing how fast the clouds move over such a vast city (a LARGE city of 10 million bustling people is anything but small)!  

Tonight my friends and I went out to dinner. Afterwards we needed a few groceries so we shopped in the store for maybe twenty minutes.  As we came out of the store we saw the rain pelting the road.  You know you are in a monsoon when:

a. you walk from one awning to another and are drenched
b. you stand 15 feet away from the edge of an overhead covering and the wind generously carries the rain to you.
c. the rain is so loud that you can't hear the person next to you squeal, scream, or speak as you are running for cover.
d. after the monsoon has "let up" you try crossing the street and realize it has turned into a miniature river... only after 15 minutes of rainfall. 
e. you experience this almost every day.

I monsoon, do you?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Special Special Discount?

Yes the stories are infamous, and in all reality, real-life accounts of being ripped off in Thailand are better.  I have only been here just over a week and... how many times has the world been pulled over my eyes?  I'm sure more than I know.  Tonight my friends and I went to the local "Health Land" to get massages.  The brochure had listed many different styles of massage and two friends agreed they wanted to select the Thai massage.  However it was listed as 2-hours for 450 Baht (roughly 13 dollars).  We were going to dinner after and the Foot massage only last an hour (as what three of us were getting) so on the phone they told us, "no problem; 1-hour Thai massage for 250 Baht."  

When we showed up immediately the price scaled up to 450 Baht no matter how long the massage was.  "That price was never quoted to you" they said.  

This is typical.  Often westerners are associated with oodles of money-- which... sometimes these judgements are based on survival and understood.  This time was different, "Health Land" is a thriving spa.  

Tonight when I got home I saw the new cd I bought at the market last week, it said, "Special Thailand Edition" and it reminded me of all the wonderful "Special Thailand Editions" we have been receiving upon arrival.  One being that dollar cd that had a 50/50 chance of working...

Discounts are famous here, each market we "Wai" the seller and say "special special discount"... and I realized: I should not look at each scenario as something I am loosing, but a special, special Thailand edition... and then "Wai" them and say, but "special special Thai discount?"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bangkok By Moto...

Today was my first day of work--- yay!  However class doesn't begin for a few more days, thanks goodness!  I have a lot of preparation to do before classes; and mainly things I didn't think about before: grading system, syllabus & class outline, quizzes/tests--- themes!? 

But there are a few things I do have:

(x) first time teacher
(x) who can't speak Thai
(x) is continuously afraid of encountering a cockroach in her home 
(x) due to humidity is forced to say goodbye to straight hair
(x) ate strange brown jello mixture and is still alive
(x) rode moto in BKK

Aside from work/teaching confusion, I went to the j.j. market yesterday to buy some things for my apartment.  I went with two Thai teachers and their family.  It was extremely hot and most of the time there was barely room to move.  Of course, I was already expecting this... 
To the right is this jello-madness that I couldn't figure out how to pronounce.  It tastes crazy.  

First they took some kind of solidified jello, put
it in a bowl, added ice, brown sugar, and told me to stir it.  This is the result... it tasted kind of like licorice.  

Today after work the security guard took me to get some photos for my visa: via moto.  It was a blast, however there were a few instances, riding between two powerful hondas, I wondered how sturdy the motorbike was.  Yet not as intense moto-land as Hanoi, strong work S. Schwartz.  Nevertheless I hope to be going on a full city tour of Bangkok on my own someday soon...

Friday, August 1, 2008


After 46 hours I crawled into my new bed...

I made it here to Thailand!  How exciting to start a new job, move into a new apartment, and be surrounded by a language I don't understand.  My trip, including exhausting, really began Monday evening when my parents drove me to the airport in Omaha.  I had been packing and preparing to leave for the last couple days-- and to my surprise the man behind the ticket counter said, "I'm sorry, your ticket has been cancelled."  Not only stunned was I, but disappointed and frustrated.  My dad and I tried to use the pay phones to call Thailand for such a long time.  However it was 6 AM in Thailand, not much open then.  

So we went home, regrouped, and after 2 AM I was assured tickets from Ekamai.  I woke up the next morning, checked my email, and... found no email with tickets.  Calling the Secretary again, I finally got tickets a new email, including tickets.  

The trip was equally as long as the ticket ordeal, just not as confusing.  Leaving on a Tuesday I arrived on a Thursday.  I was immediately taken to my apartment to shower, then to lunch, then to an orientation.  Not allowing myself to sleep before 8 PM, I crashed and was able to sleep quite a bit over night. My apartment is great!  I have internet, A/C, a couch, etc.  
Looking out my apartment:

There have been a lot of surprises so far, the biggest one is that I am in charge of a whole grade!  I thought I was just teaching Spanish and maybe one English class, well.... surprise!  I am the new 7th grade homeroom teacher!  

What is going to happen next?

This is my kitchen: it is small, cute, and right now still a mess. :)