After a 13 hour flight (San Fran to Hong Kong), a 2 hour flight (Hong Kong to Singapore) a 5 hour layover, then a 3 hour flight with a whole row to myself (Singapore to Chiang Mai) we drove to the Eco Resort Hotel – our home for the next week! There are trees and green bushes everywhere, lotuses, flowers, and lanterns hanging from all of the trees. It’s rainy season here in Thailand, so nearly every day there is a brief torrential downpour.
My 6 new friends and 2 program leaders are some of the nicest, loveliest, and supportive people I have ever met.
Every day I smell a mixture of something burning, Thai soup, and strange body odor all mixed into one. Outside our hotels are tons of taxi drivers wishing to pick us up and rip us off! Just today, I got the best massage of my entire life. In a Thai massage, it’s a mixture of physical therapy stretching and massaging. I could say “sa wa di ka” (hello) “sa bai de mai” (how are you?) and “tow rai ka?” (how much does this cost?) all from the knowledge my sister Sean gave me from the Thai she learned when she studied abroad there.
As a group, we’ve already done a ton of soul searching. Questioning what development is, and who we consider ourselves to be. We’ve visited the Chiang Mai Cultural Center, where we were led by a guide in a museum filled with ancient Thai artifacts. One of the beautifully woven skirts we saw costed at the time 500,000 Baht (the Thai currency) which translates to over $10,000 U.S. dollars!
There’s a 7/11 in town which we obviously visited. 6 girls had to help our program leader carry 10 gallons of water. It was an arm workout! We have to be careful drinking the local water here, so we brush our teeth/wash our faces/ and strictly drink from distilled bottled water. Tonight we are heading to a local Jazz bar in town – and treating ourselves to a legal drink as a group!
I’m missing my friends and family back home, but i simply cant wait to share my pictures and experiences with everyone, so far, too!