Friday, September 10, 2010

highlights of the weeks

So as I had said before, my parents and I have been here for a few weeks now,  and through the weeks have experienced many different aspects of the Thai culture. From my excursion to get my haircut under great motivation from Apple because "Thai girls like clean shave", to stoping by the motorcycle taxi drivers to watch them play a chess-like game called something like "mock luke" I have been able to catch small nuances of the Thai culture. Even in the fact that they will spend around a half an hour making sure every hair is cut right at the barbers, or the taxi drivers inviting my dad to sit on the curb with them and challenge him at a gam of mock luke show volumes about the people. 

One weekend we were able to go to the weekend market which is a 45 minute ride away, but when you get there you could probably spend the next 45 minutes walking from one end of this massive array of shops to the end. Going into malls and shops looking at bikes that fold up, swords, pretty much anything you could immagine somewhere in this bazaar. the trick is finding it if you want it.

Also that weekend on sunday we were able to visit a little girl Usna who had lost one of her legs bellow the knee after the drunk motorcycle taxi driver they were riding with fell with her and her brother on the tracks. She was able to push her brother out of the way of the train, but lost her leg in the process. It was a joy to spend the evening with her as she is still so full of life and very bright as she practiced reading english with Dwight one of the guys from church who has been tutoring her as she has been out of school and as he was one of her teachers from before hand. 

Later that day we went to a street vender who sells fruit smoothies. they are filled to the brim with fresh fruits and vegetables to the point you are drinking pure goodness through a straw.

last week has flown by for the most part with few adventures here and there as I try to get out on my own in the city a little bit more. from bartering with shop keepers to trying new foods, the times has gone well. a bit of the time has also been at House By The Pond, the new apartment area that we are staying at. it is hard to describe because it is almost a mix between a resort, a rainforest oasis, and an apartment complex. Some of the days are simply spent on the roof of one of the buildings by the pool reading a good book, with  the many areas to sit and relax in the shade of giant palms and bamboo and whatever other exotic trees they are. 

One of the many blessings of staying here is having a place where we can get together with friends and chill. a good amount of days we have had people over and it is nice just to sit either by the pool, or in the living room and talk. 

Of course I do still go to other places like the New Song Cafe which is a sort of hangout spot for people where you will meet some of the most amazing and interesting people in Bangkok. One of the days I walked in and one of the Thai girls asks me in Thai if I speak Thai.. following is a brief silence that means "I have no idea what you just said and if you asked me in Thai if I speak Thai, this is me telling you that I don't speak Thai" after finding out that I don't speak Thai there comes the follow up Questions. "Are you a Christian?"... "Do you Love Jesus?".. "as Christians we are supposed to love your neighbor"... "I am your neighbor.. Do you Love me?"... "will you help me with something?" 

I then proceed to help her with her masters Thesis paper. Although I do not normally take editing Masters Thesis papers as fun, her dynamic personality made any discomfort disappear. I spent the rest of the day there for the night of worship they were having at church.. it was packed like a can of sardines.

The next day sunday was much more laid back because everyone had been preparing for the night of worship, so there wasn't really a teaching perse, but more of a time of sharing God's insights and experiences. Following church I spent the rest of the day with Mae, the Masters student with the Thesis paper needing revisions. Alas that was a full day although it sounds slightly dull checking her english to make sure it was correct, it was one of the best days I have spent in Thailand. I finally finished all 50 some odd pages at the end of the two days.. victory.

It shows you.. God can send a random foreign guy that you have never met to help you revise the grammer your paper a few days before it is due in the hands of your professer. He works in mysterious ways.

Last weekend we were able to visit one of the slums that a few volunteers, Lexi and Michelle, have been living and helping with. it was an amazing opportunity to get to know some of the locals living there although most of the getting to know them was nonverbal as learning the language is still hard in the process. 

To get to this specific slum though we had to take the river taxi which is basically a rather large boat that reminded me of the Jaws ride in one of Florida's theme parks which gave me no end of enjoyment. It is slightly different from the ride though in that you have a much shorter amount of time to get on or get off and they will stop very quickly at the water stop, and then they are off at breakneck speed. Usually they aren't very flush with the dock either, so you kindof have to jump. to tell how risky it is, we saw one of the locals being pulled from the river after trying to get aboard the taxi.

However I feel like all Bangkok transportation is just a little bit crazy. Not to say that I don't enjoy it, but when I get into a taxi on the roads one of the things that crosses my mind is always.. GO SPEED RACER GO!!!.. as we weave in and out of traffic at speeds that would challenge some New England drivers. Then there are the busses which are too fun with their doors wide open trying to beat the taxi drivers. 

We had a nice trip yesterday venturing to one of the larger parks in Bangkok walking around and looking at the giant lizards and palm trees. I was able to take a good amount of photos there too, so now just to get down and actually put them on the computer.

As in all cities there is another side to Bangkok that contrasts the river taxi and slum community as we go to eat at little restaurants that seem to have food that was intended for the palace enjoying some creme brulee and tea.  Last night even was quite exotic as Dwight hosted a desert bar to raise money for charity. the deserts were what you would picture in magazines that would have insane prices on them. ice-creams, mango custard, little pastries, sweet grass jelly juice,cakes , tapioca, all very exotic and many wrapped in banana leafs for decoration. and for the ride back to the sky train(BTS) we get to ride in the hotel's beautiful old mercedes.

this morning some guys from church are coming over to hang out, so I should probably get ready, but I will hopefully be back within the week with new tales to tell of the adventures here in Bangkok.

here are a few new pictures that I have taken

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