Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas in Thailand

Midterm exams are over! Though making frequent trips to the library was fun while it lasted, I can't say I miss it.  


Four out of five of my midterms went quite well. The only one I was concerned about was Hydraulic Engineering, namely because I made a few small mistakes that significantly altered the final answer (the dam I designed was about four meters short of what it should have been!). There were only three problems on the exam but it took the full three hour limit to complete. I talked to my professor afterward about it and he said not to worry.

Other than that life has been great. After my midterm on Christmas, I went to Bangkok to see the Christmas lights at a place called Central World with my friend Goi (the same place that was largely destroyed by a fire from the protests in May). It has since been refurbished, and only one department store still bares the charred walls and ceilings from the fire. I filmed a video for my family there too.

Also, I helped with a Christmas party for children living in a slum in Bangkok (where I used to teach English on Sundays). We had a lot of fun, and here is a video I made afterward to share with you (push ctrl while you click the link if you do not want to leave this page)

For some reason my blog won't let me upload the video directly, so this is a link to the video on my facebook page. If you are not friends with me on facebook, feel free to friend request me. And just in case something goes catastrophically wrong and you cannot view the video, or if you do not have a facebook page, or if you are altogether computer illiterate, here are some pictures from the video you can see without following a link.

I think I forgot to make a post on my trip to Kanchanaburi, either that or I was too busy studying for midterms! About a month ago I decided to take a day trip to Western Thailand to Kanchanaburi province near the (don't look mom!) Myanmar (Burma) border. 

I went by myself and was gone from 7am until 11pm. I only got to spend two hours at my destination - Erawan National Park - where there is a spectacular display of waterfalls in the middle of the jungle. 

I have to say, it was quite difficult finding my way there, but luckily I knew enough Thai to find my way around. I took a passenger van to a hub in Bangkok (Victory Monument), then took a bus to the Southern Bus Terminal. There I took another bus to Kanchanaburi province, then a song theaow to the National Park. The whole day I was wishing I had done some research on how to get there so I did not have to keep asking for directions. I think my Thai improved a lot that day.

Anyhow, once I arrived at the Park, it was totally worth it. The scenery was amazing and the water was surprisingly turquoise blue. I will likely be heading back sometime in January with my friend Buck and maybe a few other friends. Here are the pictures I took that day:

Gorilla the hedgehog had fun chilling out with his cat food in his little yogurt cup.

It was much easier getting back to Bangkok after leaving the park since I simply took all the transportation in reverse. Even when I was a little hesitant on which bus to board, it was easy to just say bpai groong taap, literally 'go City of Angels' (aka Bangkok) and they pointed me in the right direction.

I had planned to go to Laos for New Year's but ALL the transportation going North was booked. This is the most traveled weekend in Thailand, and since most people do not have cars they rely on the already well-used public transportation system, meaning unless I had booked a train ticket two months ago I had no chance of leaving Rangsit (the city I live in). So I'm stuck here on a perfect five-day weekend for traveling with nobody to hang out with. I think I will practice my Thai and make good use of facebook :)

A couple more things worth mentioning:

My University finally installed clocks in the classrooms!

I just went swimming. On January 1st. In an outdoor pool. (I know, I know, you hear this every month. But it's possibly my favorite part of Thailand LOL)

Santa Clause is pronounced exactly the same in Thai. So is Christmas. And Halloween. But Valentine's day sounds more like "Wahl-lane-tai day" because the 'V' sound is so hard for Thais to pronounce. And they do not like putting 'S' on the end of words so they removed it.

I'm going more for quality on these posts rather than quantity - as you can probably tell from the lack of posts lately. Either that or I'm lazy, you can decide for yourself :P

There is some type of animal living  just on the other side of my ceiling. I think its a mouse or a snake or something. But it makes me cringe when it moves...

Did I mention last time that my shower exploded?

Have a great holiday!