Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last day in Thailand

We’ll be headed to China tomorrow and thanks to their special government, it may be that blogger and Facebook are blocked. We’ll try to use a proxy, but if we’re only reachable by email…that’s why.

I’m really excited for China.

When Jacob and I were dating, and were already talking about marriage, I dropped a bombshell on him.

“I’m going to go teach English in China,” I told him one evening at my apartment. I showed him the literature on teaching English from the library and the maps of China. I’m pretty sure I rendered him speechless.

“You see,” I hurried on, “Once I’m married I’ll never get a chance to travel again. So I figure, I’d better do it now, you know, because once I’m settled down I may Never get to Visit China!”

I’m not sure what the allure of China above other places was—I suppose it was my idea of the epitome of East versus West, exotic and foreign, as well as easy to find a teacher position without a degree.

Jacob said, “I’ve always planned to travel too. That’s one reason I want to pursue internet business.”

I’m ashamed to admit I said this: “Well, everyone says they want to travel, but it never really happens.”

I continued to research different areas of the country and applied at many schools and daydreamed of going there. I only stopped when Jacob PROMISED that when we got married he would take me to China.

Since then he has asked if he has fulfilled this promise yet. I told him that the travels we have already completed can constitute fulfillment; but, tomorrow it will really happen!

Below are more pics of Thailand.

How to describe Thailand…

1. It’s beautiful

2. It’s cheap

3. It’s easy

4. It’s comfortable (feels like you could be in America while retaining exotic elements)

As the most popular country in Southeast Asia, it’s full of tourists. And this is the “low” season. It’s a great place to relax and have a great time. It’s so easy to do tours, go to the beach, get around the country, and just have fun for relatively for cheap prices. But we found it difficult to be a “traveler” here as opposed to a “tourist.” We usually travel—live like the locals and keep things low-key while experiencing a new culture, not tour or live the way Americans would live in America while happening to be in Thailand. But Thailand is set up to cater to tourists! It feels, in fact, MADE for tourism.

We haven’t met any Thais except those that have been ruined by tourism. Thailand is known as the land of the smiles. There’s “Smile Book” bookstore and “Smile Drug” drugstore and they smile no matter what. Two instances of this:

Bus attendant smiling tells me to get off the bus. She is clearly frustrated at how long I am taking. Smiling she orders me off in two minutes. Then the bus starts driving away with me still in it. She never stops smiling as she grows increasingly frustrated.

Second time a guy wants to be my tour guide. Another lady comes up acting as his competition. He approaches her and, smiling, pops her in the face. They start a physical fight. He’s smiling. I walk away.

Thailand is also terribly seedy, at least where we were. Buddhism seems to be an extremely tolerant religion, which may be why, when you walk down the street, you have no way of knowing if you are looking at a beautiful man or an ugly woman. “Ladyboys” are men who dress up like women, act as prostitutes, and go after heterosexual men. Very twisted. And they were on every street corner. Then mix that with skanky ladies yelling “Massa!” (Thais always leave off the last letter) and offering “boom boom massages” and old white men holding hands with young Thai girls and the sex tourism industry is staring you in the face.

Tonal languages can be quite harsh on the ear to the point of being whiny, and combining that with the Thai love of kareoke and awkward dancing and overdramatic television playing on the bus ride to Bangkok and I had to come to the conclusion that a lot of Thai culture is just downright cheesy.

You’d think I’d eat Thai food to my last meal here, but—sadly—we’ve learned even Thai food can get old. Besides I found a place where I can eat salads and not get sick. Heaven!

To give Thailand a break, I was missing India and am still missing India. I think of the little boy I tutored every day, and it’s painful. I miss the people of India. I think a part of me is now Indian, and a part of me is Muslim, and when I’m not around those people, I’m missing a part of me.

In short, I’d definitely recommend Thailand for a short vacation with friends—which is all most people do anyway— but not as a place I’d choose to live for an extended period of time.

P1060280 P1060290 P1060292 P1060307 P1060306 P1060323 P1060334 P1060297P1060368 P1060351 P1060326



P1060480 P1060502

P1060503 P1060546 P1060533

P1060548 P1060558 P1060556 P1060589

Buddhism is apparently okay with ambiguity. For example, they don’t believe in God, they respect Buddha; yet, there are Hindu Gods all over the complex whom they “respect” and they believe there are 7 levels of heaven where you go based on your deeds. They also believe their king is a reincarnation of a Hindu god.

 P1060618 P1060599 P1060593 P1060573 P1060572


P1060624 P1060626

P1060632 P1060371 P1060383 P1060375

P1060389 P1060395 P1060399 P1060397 P1060404P1060392

Monday, June 14, 2010

And…I’m a redhead again

P1060445 I used to think that natural was always your best color.

But I am so over my natural color. I love being a redhead!

Grandma Campbell, you’ll be proud! :)


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Phuket to Phi Phi

Thai names take some getting used to.

Because of political problems, we flew direct from Bangkok to Phuket.

P1040549 P1040578

This is a common fruit that’s hard and whitish and with a seed.



CIMG7618 CIMG7640 CIMG7625


We took a break from Phuket, which is Thailan'd’s most touristy island, to go to its least touristy: Koh Yao Yai. We were the only white people there on the Muslim island, which is the way we like it.

P1040789 P1040762 P1040625

P1040826 P1040807

We had a bungalow and a beach all to ourselvesP1040889
P1040890 P1040929 P1040912

P1040919 P1040944 P1040961 P1040967 P1040964 P1040952


P1040992 P1040999

P1060011 P1060009 P1060012


Fish spas are fun, but unbelievably ticklish!

P1060073 P1060058



  At Big Buddha

P1060120 P1060150 P1060152 P1060147

Regretfully, we haven’t met that many Buddhists-or that many Thais for that matter. We did get to see some ceremonies at the temple.


P1060169 Buddha’s tooth



P1060188 P1060214


Mushrooms in three stages

These Thai incense stations which I believe are to pay reverence to Buddha are everywhere
 P1060241 P1060240

Typical gas station for the moped (just bottles)

P1060245 P1060262  P1060251

My horse was real feisty and stubborn. She kept shaking, stopping abruptly, nudging the guy leading her, and avoiding stepping in water. She made me nervous.


We are now on Phi Phi Island after doing some gorgeous snorkeling, preparing to take a bus to Bangkok where we’ll hang out til we get our visa to …


Powered by Blogger