Saturday, December 8, 12

Welcome to Thailand!!!  I arrived on Dec. 7th to a 34 degrees Celsius.  Whats the conversion??  92 degrees F.  And heavy humidity.  It’s going to be a fun one!!

Take a look at the pic at the bottom of here (couldn’t get it to stay at the top).  I think it sums up this part of Bangkok quite well.  The area we are  staying at is on Khao San Road.  Google it and it will tell you a lot!  There are street vendors of every kind — including fake ID’s, fake college diplomas from the University of Singapore, tattoo shops, food and on and on.  I think the best was the cart selling delicacies — cooked bugs.  We just laughed!  Not much more than that that you could do!

This area of Bangkok is the travelers paradise, or the backpackers heaven.  EVERYTHING is cheap!  I bought a big bottle of water, 1.5 liter, for a mere 50 cents.  For ~28 ThaiBats you spend 1 US dollar.  I bought a 24 hour pass for the internet for 100 bats/~$3.50.  But with all of this comes a great deal of people, noise, and smells.  Mouth breathing is a definite must!  I will be happy to leave to head to Surin tomorrow!

There ends up being 7 of us here heading out to 4 different sites.  There is one other girl going to work with the elephants besides me and supposedly we will be meeting up with 10 more volunteers.  As with any other ‘volunteer’ project, very unorganized!  But at this point in my trip, I am not surprised.  We were told we were going to go on a tour of Bangkok today.  Well, we did.  Walking.  And we paid for everything.  It didn’t take long for us to say NO.  We did not want to see another temple, we did not want to walk another 1/2 hour to wherever.  We had our chaperone get us back to the hotel so we could all relax before our meeting tonight.  This will be where we get to start really questioning what we have gotten ourselves into!

I will leave with Olivia tomorrow morning for what we have been told will be a 10-hour train trip to Surin.  Olivia and I both agree that the train is better than the bus, so rock-on!  We have to go tonight to get our stash of food for the ride.  And I believe somewhere in there, we have to buy food.  Hmmmmmmm . . . . . . .

I am looking forward to working with elephants.  I think I have kind of given up on the people part of all of this.  I am sure I have referenced it before, so allow me to be redundant.  I have seen many different cultures, but many similar people.  It is your educational level that will determine who you are, where you are going.  How open you are to life.  And in areas like the Road, you barter with these people, which turns into taking advantage.  I don’t see the joy.  I just don’t get it.  We bought some things last night and we just laughed, we did not feel like doing the barter.  It was cheap enough to start with, just give it to me!

People here are little!  As we walked around last night, I thought, I could take just about anyone of these guys if I had to!  Not that many speak too much English, but they know the numbers in order to sell and deal.  So I guess it works.  It is very crowded, no matter where we went, good and rougher parts of the city.  I was stunned when I saw Christmas decorations & trees — Thailand is a Buddhist country.  There’s nothing Christian about this place, but I guess it benefits them to play the Christmas card.  I’m confused.

I am going to sign-off and get a nap.  It was a 5-hour jump forward from Greece to here.  I believe I am exactly 12 hours ahead of Ohio.  And the noise last night — I’m tired!!  My next big jump (time) will be when I leave on Dec. 27th at 1:30 am and arrive in Salt Lake City at 7:30 pm on Dec. 27th.  They say its a 28-hour flight, but thats with the time changes.  I think it must be more like a 20-hour flight.  I have yet to figure that one out!  I just know I am grateful to have a few days in Salt Lake City to regroup before the next leg of the journey!!  Signing off . . . . . .

Sums it all up . . . . .

Sums it all up . . . . .

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