Month: March 2015

This is where I eat breakfast most days

There is a woman down the street who cooks me breakfast about every morning now. At the beginning of my time here I would go to her maybe three times a week, but now my day simply doesn’t seem right if it doesn’t begin sitting in her yard on her little plastic stools at a card table, greeted by her smile. I immediately resolved to make this woman my friend. The first time I walked into her stand, my third day in Thailand, she had a large banner with four pictures of food in a vertical arrangement hanging near her oven. I pointed at the image on top, and she laughed, smiled, and cooked it for me. The next time I went to her, two days later, I pointed to the next one down, and she did the exact same thing. It was so delicious that despite my best intentions of trying everything on the menu, I’ve had that every single time I have been there since. It’s a plate of white rice, with a …

#TBT to that day that I visited the Bridge over the River Kwai

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday and also of my procrastination, here is a picture of me at the storied Bridge over the River Kwai. It may sound familiar because there is a famous WWII film about it. The film was actually filmed in Sri Lanka, but maybe that’s just because the one in Thailand is actually rather beautiful, which is aesthetically counter to it’s violent past. During WWII, the Japanese who controlled the area used the railway to bring in prisoners of many different ethnic groups and nationalities all to work together on construction of this bridge. There were British prisoners working alongside Burmese and other laborers from all over Asia. The construction is notorious because while it took only a year, the difficult terrain and disease-laden swampy landscape led it to claim thousands of worker lives. I found that, like many things in Thailand, it is today surrounded by food carts, restaurants, and several small resorts and hotels. The bridge itself has rail tracks that are maintained, but when I was there the bridge was full of …

Autthaya, ho!

Last weekend brought me on several cool adventures, and I thought I would share the most photogenic here. On Sunday I took a trip up to the old capitol, Ayutthaya. The city lies just north of Bangkok, about two hours by the slow third class train. The trip costs 20 baht (about $0.70) each way, and is oftentimes filled to standing capacity with Thai people commuting to the city for work and tourists headed to and from the historic destination. Here is a picture of the inside of the train the day that I went: Autthaya has grown and remains relevant and is today a moderately-sized city with many modern buildings and permanent residents. The remnants of the old city, which you can see in my pictures below, are scattered throughout the new city. To give you a good idea of the distance, the best way to get around would definitely have been by bicycle. Due to my exceptional planning discipline, I did a lot of walking that day. The city was founded circa 1350, …

Overnight with a Thai family

This week is mid terms week, when all the normal classes are cancelled and students work on the assorted papers and tests assigned by their professors. My classes aren’t too terribly challenging over in the Thai studies department, so in lieu of some of the studying I ought to be doing I thought I would recount some of my experiences. Last weekend I was shown yet another extraordinary act of kindness and generosity by one my Thai friends (her name is Aum, pronounced “oom”) when they invited me to stay at their parents house overnight. It was an opportunity I was excited to have. As with many things over here I learned a whole lot, but not exactly the things that I expected to learn. Her and her father picked my friend Tyler (another American student) and I up around 4:00 p.m. Friday evening just a short walk away from our apartment. We drove out of town right in the midst of rush hour to their home, which was in what was kind of a …