... is rather relaxed. Here's my day so far:
5:30 AM - Gave up trying to sleep in the heat and picked up Kindle to read instead.
7:00 AM - Got up, showered (Oh! Glorious shower! Pure cold water, and it felt awesome!), pulled on clothes (much more of a feat here, when they stick to your sweaty skin), and headed out to the canteen.
8:00 AM - Breakfast of pineapple and two slices of white bread. Then lots of waiting.
9:00 AM - Tour of village supposed to begin.
9:30 AM - "Coordinator" finally shows up. She runs us through what the week will hold, then says we'll leave at 10:00 for the tour.
10:00 AM - We walk down the street, across a bridge, and are introduced to the "big store" and the bank. I buy soap for our bathroom.
11:00 AM - We board one of those bench-seat trucks and drive to a restaurant for lunch. They serve us, I kid you not, french fries and chicken nuggets.
11:45 - Back on the truck to go to a "coconut shell factory," which is really someone's garage. They have us each make a bracelet out of coconut shell beads and have other jewelery for sale. I buy a necklace made of green sea glass beads and a bracelet with orange beads and little bells for 180 baht (about $5.50).
1:30 - We head back to the Eco House.
It's about 2:40 PM now. Dinner's at 5:00, and there's a welcome party tonight that includes a show put on by local children. Other than that, we've got nothing scheduled.
It's kind of strange, actually, having so much free time. On one hand, it's good because I can dedicate serious time to trying to get over the constipation I've had since arriving, to drinking a lot of water, and to updating y'all with entirely too personal details like the ones above.
Sadly, my Kindle broke a little this morning. I don't know if it's the humidity or the roughness of travel, but the upper two lines stopped displaying anything. I can still read, but I miss a sentence or two per page. This is a cause of great distress to me, and I am coming to terms with the idea of having to buy a new Kindle when I get back to the States. Alas! I am now afraid that my laptop will suffer a similar fate.
Let's see... other news. There's a giant dead centipede outside our door, slowly being devoured by ants at the moment. Another centipede was parading back and forth in front of the bar this morning during breakfast. I think it was playing Centipede, actually. I have also heard tales of scorpions here. I need to remember to carry a flashlight with me at night.
There are repeated bangs coming from across the street. I don't know if it's fireworks or gunshots.
The "we" in my narrative above refer to the group of volunteers who are doing the week of Thai Culture Orientation with Jenna and me. They consist of four Dutch girls and a German girl. Between their relative youth and their lack of clothing, I feel like the most matronly and modest chaperone of the 19th century.
There are other volunteers here, too, who have been here for a while. I haven't talked to them much - I mostly see them in passing as they head off to or come back from their various placements. Everyone seems nice, but there's not a whole lot that I have in common with the group, especially age-wise. I don't think I'm going to luck out with a good friend on this trip, as I did with Meg, Jennifer, and Craig at Camp Shakespeare, with Rose in Russia, and with Laura in Spain. Still, I'm not feeling lonely at all. Just... separate.
Suncreen + Insect Repellent + Sweat + Leather Sandals = Orange Feet
Tomorrow? We're going to an elephant village. An ELEPHANT VILLAGE! I have high expectations for what that entails.