Life in Bangkok: A Week Under our Belts

Trip Start Jul 18, 2009
1
6
52
Trip End Jun 08, 2011


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Where I stayed
Kantary

Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, July 27, 2009

123 So here we are, a week of living in Bangkok behind us. We have tried to keep everyone as updated as possible with what we have had going on. The biggest event for us recently of course was the finding of a place to live. That really has occupied most of our time over the past few days. Lauren started work today at Fun Language but really doesnt have much to report since today was mostly orientation meetings. Tomorrow she gets to observe some Kindergarten classes and she is really excited for that as that is the age that she hopes to teach. I start my orientation on Thursday and am really looking forward to it as well.

Life in Bangkok has been really great to us so far. Of course we have had our share of issues with the new culture as well as a few lovers quarells but in the end we are still here and are enjoying things. One of the biggest losses that we are trying to get used to is that of our friends and family. I really miss being able to hang out with my best friend and really miss my family. I know that Lauren misses her family like crazy. I think primarily what it is, is that there is so much cool stuff here that we want to share our experiances in-person with our friends and family. It is good that we are both starting working soon because I know that we will make many friends there. Lauren has already befriended two girls that she works with that are from Missouri. Go Midwest!

There are a couple culture changes that I would like to share with you  all that we have had to make adjustments to, but most are humorous and we have easily adjusted to them after a hearty chuckle:

- There is no such thing as milk from an animal here (cow, goat, chicken, etc) It is all soy milk. It takes a bit to get used to. It tastes like milk that came from a bowl of cereal.

- There is no such thing as a clothes dryer here. Everybody washes there clothes and then puts them on a rack outside to dry. I guess this makes sense in the dry season, but in the current rainy season, where the humidity is like 120%, it is quite pointless. Takes like 3 days for clothes to dry. Oh, and these people are nuts about their starching clothes!?! There is more fabric starch brands in the grocery store than there is tea! We couldnt even find a laundy detergent that doesnt have starch in it. I basically put on pieces of cardboard in the morning.

- Our cable channels consist of 3 Indian Channels, 4 Dubai channels, BBC World News, and 6 Japanese channels. I have become addicted to Indian music videos, and am thoroughly convinced that every Japanese commercial director is on mushrooms 24/7.

- Lane markers on the streets are just there for their asethetic beauty and are never EVER followed. And motorbike taxis are the way to go! I finally understand why all the redneck students in SC were crazy about these things.

- Streetside food stalls are the greatest thing known to man. Until you weigh yourself and realize that after eating the food for a week straight you gained 6 pounds.....not like that happened to us or anything.....

- They have malls here as big as the empire state building. And there is one on every corner. It is insane. And it is always a guess what the mall will have in it. We went into one mall that had Gucci and Armani and Versace, and went into a mall on another street that looked exactly the same and it was jammed pack with people peddiling their own cheaply made goods- basically like an indoor flee market. But most malls have everything you can imagine in them from Electronics stores to supermarkets, to movie theaters, to plastic surgeons (in case you are shopping and have a desire to become a lady-boy).

- RAINy season means that it is going to RAIN a lot. It is not just a cutesy name that someone made up. Took us a few soaken wet trips to realize this.

- There is literally a 7-Eleven on every corner. Seriously. I bet you can pick one out in almost every picture that I post. And the slurpees in Bangkok are just as good as the slurpees in America.

-There are McDonalds, and KFCs and Starbucks, and Subways all over the place. They have some jacked up menu items but they still serve the basic stuff. And the Jonnie Walker whiskey here is huge! Literally a sign on every corner. Dont understand it. Just upset there is no Southern Comfort. :-(   Send me some please.

How other stereotypes that we read about have fared:
-The traffic really is bad here but if you plan it and dont take a taxi during rush hour, it is not a big deal.
- Granted we really havent traveled to this district (to my dismay..J/K) but we really havent encountered a lot of Thai prostitutes or really seen the infamous Thai sex industry. Every now and then we will see some 17 year old Thai girl holding hands with a 63 year old 300 lbs. white guy, but it really not very prevalent. At least where we have traveled in the city.
- Same thing really as far as the Thai "Lady Boys" are concerned. Again, we have seen some georgeous 6'3" ladies with adams apples bigger than mine, but they really are not as frequent as all the books say.
- It is insane cheap here but you need to know where to go to buy things. You will pay same as in the states if you go to the major tourists areas but in other areas things really are about a 1/3 of what you would pay in America.
- The people are tremendously friendly. Quite a change from the U.S. Lauren and I always are waiting for the person to ask us for money or something but they really are just being nice. Its wierd at first but then pretty cool.
- They are crazy about their Monarchy here and their Buddhism. I mean nobody has a tattoo of the king on their forehead, but there is a picture of the king and queen almost everywhere and there is a buddhist shrine of some sort in front of every building.

Ok, I could probably go on but that is the most apparent cultural differences, plus I dont want to ruin all the fun if and when any of you come to visit. I have included a bunch of pictures that I have not posted yet that we have taken this week. Since we are working now I will probably only post once a week now, but thank you so much for reading and for all your prayers and best wishes!

Lauren & Jason :D:D
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