Friday, June 18, 2010

In Which I Notice Things

Tonight marks the two-week anniversary of my arrival in Thailand. The heat and humidity are still awful, but a little more bearable. I have learned some basic phrases and how to count to ten. I have also made a number of observances about things that are just... different that I will now recount for you here:

1. There are pictures of the king everywhere - on banners outside of buildings, on the signs over the road to each province and town, on all of the calendars I've seen - everywhere.
2. They're never the same picture of him. In fact, some seem to be completely candid and not all are flattering.
3. The major intersections have lights that count down the times - red numbers count the seconds from 60 or 90 or 125 or whatever, then they go green and count down, then yellow to count down. I kind of like this idea.
4. Not having a roommate means I can sleep with less modesty. This has helped my heat rash.
5. So has the "cooling powder" I bought at Tesco. They have an entire wall dedicated to the different brands. I got curious and bought three kinds.
6. I also bought a bucket to make doing sink laundry easier.
7. I am ridiculously excited about my laundry bucket.
8. The bug bites appear in a variety of sizes, from smaller than an Altoid to bigger than a quarter. They can also be red or white with red surrounding it. If I get a blue one, I'll assume it's out of patriotism.
9. The bugts like my calves and ankles best.
10. All of the volunteers are identifiable by the numerous red welts on the backs of our legs.
11. The natives don't seem to have nearly as many bites, if any at all.
12. They are, however, just as bugged by the heat and complain about it, too.
13. Which surprises me, since they've never known any other type of weather. Is the human body innately tuned to 75-degrees?
14. The women carry around washcloths and rags in their purses to mop off the sweat.
15. Many of them also have long sleeves they pull on over their arms when they're in the sun to keep from getting darker.
16. There is a definite perception that white skin is beautiful here.
17. I've never been told so many times "You beautiful!" as this week. I have also never felt more awkward about it.
18. I kind of like the idea of teacher uniforms - it's nice sometimes to have at least one decision made for you.
19. Boys don't seem at all resistant to the color pink here.
20. The buses here are totally decked out in bright colors. Like, crazy professional-graffiti murals all over them with LED lights on the grills.
21. A lot of the trucks have lights on the front, too, purely for decoration.
22. Almost everyone gets around on motorcycles.
23. Sometimes the entire family is posed on the motorcycles, and it looks like the kid's driving, since she/he stands in front of the seat and holds the handbars, too.
24. You take your shoes off before entering any home, museum, wat, or classroom.
25. There are dogs everywhere. Not quite strays, not quite pets.
26. I feel safer at night because of the two dogs that sleep at the gate of the EcoHouse.
27. I have grown quite fond of the geckos in my room.
28. They are still absolutely terrified of me.

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