Friday, November 10, 2006

My feet took a beating today.

So, I’m here. Yesterday I left the hostel around 9:30 and walked all over the city. I investigated the University, met my professor, looked for somewhere to live, and got lost. A lot. It was fun though. I ended up coming back at 7 or so and had passed out by 9.
It seems as though finding a place to live won’t be to difficult, although this is the absolute peak of the season, a difficult time for people to part with precious rooms that could make more money renting by the night than by the month. The royal flower and tree festival is going on as well, which doesn’t help with the availability. I am going to check out a place today that is out of the city but close to the university. I don’t require too much, but Internet would be a welcome commodity of course.
The campus is nice. It resembles most campuses I’ve seen, but looks a lot like the one we visited in Tanzania. It sprawls all over with buildings from just outside the city walls to he foot of Doi Suthep (the highest mountain in Thailand) which is just gorgeous. There is a zoo right outside of the university with a pair of famed pandas which were a gift of China.
Yesterday as I wandered I actually ran into 3 people I met elsewhere, which is odd because I’ve only met about 5 westerners in my 42 hours here. It was nice though, It gave me the sense that at least for expats the city is a small one with a few areas where they are concentrated, at least in recreation if not residence.
On my way back from the university I couldn’t find a tuk tuk (small 2 person taxi with rates of $1-2 around the city) because I was outside of the tourist area. I knew I could take a songthaew back into the city but I was reluctant to try it without an understanding of how the whole process worked. At last I realized it would be a mistake to walk along the highway that leads from the university to the city. I hailed one of the red pickup trucks with a covered back and found 2 girls already in it headed to the opposite side of the city. They realized I was unsure of myself and told the driver where to take us (I just wanted to get back to the city… anywhere) and on the way we had a lovely chat. They were both first year chemistry students and were headed to a market to buy jeans. They had pretty good English and asked me questions about where I came from, why I was here, if I liked CM. I asked them about school and where they were from, etc. It was one of those conversations that made me realize why this is called ‘the land of smiles’ and I couldn’t have asked for a more helpful pair in an uncomfortable situation.

I suppose that’s all I have for now. Today’s goals are to find a place to sleep tomorrow night (I get kicked out of my expensive and out of the way hostel tomorrow at noon), hook up my mobile, register with the consulate, and work on my CV. Thanks for reading and for the emails. I will be responding to them soon, but my priorities at the moment are more geared towards finding a place to unpack my ridiculously heavy suitcase.

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