Some pictures! I went for a wander on Saturday and tried to get a bit lost... it's hard to do that in a city the size of Lansing that's shaped like a big square and walled in by a moat. These are in no particular order because I don't understand the blogger picture scheme yet...
Here is a 7-11... one of many. You can literally stand on the stoop of one and probably see at least one other, if not more.
This is a park in the southwest corner of the city. It's odd, I haven't actually seen many Thai people walking around the city (they stick to motorized transportation) but if you go here it is almost always packed with people walking the footpath or lounging around in the varying bits of shade. It's nice, but you can still see/smell/hear/taste the ceaseless stream of traffic right outside the gate.
On my walking journey Saturday I noticed there is no shortage of SUVs here. The preferred mode of travel is still motorbikes.
I ended up at Airport Plaza, which is a huge new mall just outside the city. It's posher than any mall I've been to (with the exception of Somerset) and very shiny. I went to see Casino Royale while I was there... Daniel Craig is a hottie.
This, is a wat. A what? A temple. It's just a random one I took a picture of to illustrate the point that these are EVERYwhere. They are big like this one or small like the one outside my apartment building between the door and the parking lot. I didn't go in this one because I was wearing a tank top (shoulders must be covered) but it probably would have made a better story if I had, eh?
You may not be able to see it clearly, but this is the edge of a parking lot at my school. It is filled with motorbikes. Pretty much everyone has one, including the majority of my classmates.
I actually had my first experience on a motorbike last week. I went out to lunch with Garrett and Noah and rode on the back of a bike. It was pretty cool, but at first I thought I might die. Garrett has been here for 3 years and is an experienced weaver. The thing about traffic here is that it doesn't actually go that fast because there are so many people on the road. Takes a while to get anywhere though.
I have been gone for 2 weeks now and I'm starting to get used to being here. My appetite is back after being jarred into submission by the heat and humidity. I think I ate maybe one or two actual meals the whole first week I was here and just snacked the rest of the time. I'm starting to sweat a bit less, and the exhaust is definitely getting to my throat.
Besides all that, Thailand just keeps getting better. My course is definitely intensive. Tonight we had our first practicum (this is where the actual teaching takes place) with our group of 4 teachers in training, 1 instructor, and 25 students. Our particular bunch was supposed to be the difficult ones. They are all students in the faculty of education and are studying to become English teachers themselves. This is a voluntary thing for them, they are getting no credit, no grade, and are basically there to practice their English.
As it turns out our group is really great. They're all highly motivated and don't live up to the expectation that they would all sit politely and not talk. They are completely wild and jumped right into all of our activities tonight. This is very reassuring for us as TEFL students because it means we won't have to pull teeth or reiterate instructions over and over again just to get some participation.
In other news, I am going out for a Thanksgiving buffet dinner on Thursday (although I wouldn't have remembered it was a holiday if Garrett hadn't suggested we all go out) that is supposed to be delicious. We'll see. I'm definitely looking forward to pumpkin pie though. Mmmm.
Wednesday is my first teaching day. I am in charge of teaching complaints and apologies in a restaurant setting, which will be fun, especially because at the end we're going to ham it up and complain as much as possible. I feel much more secure in having to teach after meeting the students tonight. Also I have a great TEFL group.
I suppose that's all for now... I have homework, of course. We have our first grammar quiz on Wednesday also and though it doesn't seem too difficult I should study. Thanks for all of the really great comments. I've been really surprised with how many people are actually reading and getting something out of these posts, as infrequent as they are. Now you can stop pestering me for pictures for a while, though I do need to get some of the songthaews and tuk tuks so you know what I'm talking about!
I hope all of you are staying warm. Last night around midnight it was 73 degrees Farenheit. I'm sure that sounds wonderful for all of the North Americans this time of year, but it does get quite ridiculously hot. Not that I mind!
Oh, I haven't seen Steve in a few days... I kind of miss the little guy. Hopefully he'll come back!