Week Two in Thailand – Markets, Beaches, Stray Dogs and Songkran

Week Two in Thailand – Markets, Beaches, Stray Dogs and Songkran
Week two of the course came with a lot heavier workload.  We started making lesson plans and presenting them to our class.  Though class become more demanding, I found time to continue exploring Hua Hin.  On Sunday, we went to a meditation session.  On Tuesday, I went to the Tuesday Market.  On Wednesday, I went to the movies, and saw an adorable Thai movie.  On Thursday, I volunteered for Rescue Paws and fed stray dogs.  On Friday, I went to the Cicada Market.  On Saturday, I went to the beach, and that night, we went out to the bars and celebrated Songkran.
All the Thai-teachers-to-be at the guided meditation
This was at the front of the room at the meditation center – Buddha next to a framed photo of the king as a young man
The view from the meditation center.
Later that day, I picked up my laundry.  It was all packaged up in little bags – shirts and shorts in one, bras in another, socks in another, underwear in another.  It was so funny I had to share!
Lunch.  Chicken tom kah.  One of my favorite meals yet.  There are so many different Thai dishes to try!
Tuesday Market.  Anyone want to buy some used shoes?
Tuesday Market.  How about a Tim McGraw shirt?
Tuesday Market.  How about any printed random shirts?  There were band shirts, 5k shirts, high school sports teams shirts, etc.  It was such a random collection, and made us wonder where they got them from…
Tuesday Market.  You can find a lot of things at a market in Thailand.  Including baby chipmunks.
Tuesday Market.  Food.
Tuesday Market.  Crickets.
Tuesday Market.  Other bugs.
Tuesday Market.  The aisles were so crowded.  It was the most claustrophobic place I’ve been in Thailand yet.
Tuesday Market.  Horseshoe crabs.
Tuesday Market.  A cooked duck on display.
Another delicious meal at the Corner Restaurant.
On Wednesday, we went to a movie at the mall.  I wanted to add this picture to show that there are very western areas in Thailand.
Kelsey, Emily and I shared the monster bucket of popcorn.  People were impressed.
We went to the supermarket after the movie, and I was struck by the combination of things found on aisle 2.
In case you don’t know what a monk basket is, it’s a big plastic tub stocked with everything a monk might need – food, drinks, shaving kits, soap, etc.  Apparently people buy these and donate them to monks, and in exchange, the monks will give them a blessing.
My first ride in a tuk-tuk!  This is my roommate, Emily, enjoying the ride.
Karla had a great activity in class – turned four guys into a human bicycle!
Vincent teaching Kathryn some of his skills in class.
This is the schoolyard where we are taking classes.
These little foam figures at on the door of the classroom.
On Thursday, I volunteered for Rescue Paws and helped feed stray dogs.  They live in packs and have crazy pack dynamics.  There is a pecking order so each dog knows when it’s his or her time to eat.
There are a zillion breeds of dogs all mixed together, and one of the Rescue Paws team members pointed out to me that at some point, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed into the pack, as seen by the specific markings on the dogs back.
Karla spreading food for the dogs.
Some of the strays were super friendly, and this was marked by an orange ribbon around their necks.  Some dogs still had collars on them from previous owners who had dumped them.
Feeding the dogs.
Karla was bonding with some of the dogs.  The funny thing is that even though they are strays and somewhat wild, they still just want to be fed and loved on.
Spot wanted in on the action.
Two dogs in the pack had a little standoff…
… but as soon as the inferior dog laid dog, the confrontation was over.
Me making a friend.
While we fed the dogs, a man walked by on an elephant.
Then some wild pigs came out to eat the dog food.
On Thursday night, we went to a sandwich shop called The Baguette.  Naturally, I got a cheeseburger.
A bunch of classmates getting lunch on Friday at the Corner Restaurant.
My choice for the day – a banana smoothie, Massaman curry, and steamed rice.
Friday night, we went to the Cicada Market, which is more of a show of local artisans than the other markets.  Kathryn, me, and Emily.
Cicada Market
Cicada Market
Cicada Market – musicians putting on a show
Cicada Market
Cicada Market – this was baked bread with milk flavored syrup on top.  I was in heaven!
Cicada Market – Ukulele shop.
Cicada Market –  a man making animal shapes out of glass
Cicada Market – Little teeny tiny figures made by a local artisan.
Cicada Market – all sorts of little vinyl bags
Cicada Market – This is someone’s pet…
… We just couldn’t handle how hilarious his outfit was.
Cicada Market – A cicada!
Taking a taxi to the beach on Saturday.
I rented a folding chair for 50 baht for the day.  50 baht = about $1.55.
In typical Thai fashion, a man pulled up on a scooter with a food cart attached, and sold stir fry meals to people on the beach.
Kathryn, Emily and I decided to get Thai massages on the beach.  They were 300 baht for an hour-long, full-body massage.  300 baht = $9.28 USD.
A dog chillin on a banana boat at the beach.
Stray dog.
On our walk back from the beach, we saw a taxi service that had this little guy on a leash.  I felt really bad for the little monkey.
Sunday was Songkran, which is the Thai New Year and is essentially a massive water fight in all of Thailand.  I was equipped with a water-gun, two buckets, and some adult beverages.
Songkran is a crazy and amazing Thai holiday.  It started on Saturday night.  We went out to the bars on Saturday at about 11 PM and it was in full swing.  Luckily we’d equipped ourselves with little plastic purses to cover our phones and money.  As soon as we stepped off the songteaw, we were in a sea of people, and EVERYONE was throwing water on everyone else.  Within minutes we were soaked to the bone, and had handfuls of white clay spread on our faces.  I’m not sure what the significance of the clay is, but people smear it on your cheeks and wish you a happy near year, either in Thai or in English.  I wish I could explain the insanity of the water fight.  It’s one of those things you have to experience to believe.  I hope to collect some pictures soon from my classmates who have waterproof cameras.  On Sunday, we experience Songkran again, this time with all our Xplore Asia family.  They rented out a restaurant near the main road, and we camped out near the road, dumping buckets of water on people in the back of pickups, on motorcycles, or in buses.  People in the backs of pickups were almost always equipped with their own buckets of water; sometimes they were even iced down.  Sometimes a vehicle would pass by, all the windows rolled up, then one of the windows would crack open just wide enough for the end of a squirt gun to stick out, and they would squirt us from the open window, which we would attack right back.  It was an incredibly memorable day.

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