Bangkok has been anything but a disappointment for me & has been one of my favorite parts in our three weeks of traveling in Thailand. For our first day of visits we headed to The Grand Palace, Wat Po Temple, experienced a Thai massage, & explored the weekend market. The Grand Palace was definitely a tourist hot spot, it was very crowded throughout the grounds with people taking pictures, praying, & just admiring the beautiful surroundings. On our tour of the temple we were allowed to see the Emerald Buddha. On the outside the temple looked huge, but walking inside it’s about half the size that you expect it to be, but I believe the beauty of everything in this temple definitely made up for the lack of space inside. Our next stop was to the Wat Po Temple, which is home to the huge Reclining Buddha. This Buddha was amazing & definitely was a site to see. The Wat Po Temple is known as the birthplace of the Thai massage, which leads us to the next visit. We walked a few blocks to the massage school where we were introduced to the fundamentals of this specific type of massage. From my understanding Thai massage puts pressure on specific pressure points & a variety of stretches to release blockages in the muscles & joints. After the lecture we were able to enjoy our own half hour Thai massage. It felt so good & definitely relieved pressure from my shoulders. Our last visit was to the weekend market, which is way bigger than I ever imagined. While here we completed a short scavenger hunt created by the professors & did quite a bit of shopping. Of course when we were on our way out was when we found our most favorite places to shop. We were able to find our way back to the hotel using the sky train system, which I found to be extremely convenient & easy to use.
On Monday the 9th we had two visits arranged; first a lecture at the Ministry of Public Health & the second a lecture & tour at Bumrungrad International Hospital. My favorite visit was to the international hospital, which had an appearance of a five-star hotel more than being an actual hospital. All the departments seemed so simple & straight forward. For example, in one of the clinics there would be– the registration, any pre-testing required for the appointment, the actual appointment with the doctor (which takes place in the doctor’s actual office), the cashier to pay for the appointment, & a pharmacy if a prescription is required– all on one level for the patients. One of the departments that really caught my eye was the pediatrics department. Everything about this department was directed towards children. It included a play set for them, there was a fun colorful design throughout the whole department, & the staff appeared to have a more playful personality compared to other departments. Overall the visit to Bumrungrad International Hospital was quite successful & very eye opening. Visiting this hospital makes me wonder why the United States does have / run a hospital compared to this one. On my return home I plan to research further into this question.
On Tuesday, we also had two visits arranged; Foundation for Slum Child Care & a lecture regarding diabetes at Theptarin Hospital. The part of the day that most impacted me was the visit to the child care center. We began with a lecture giving us a background of the foundation. However, my favorite part of the visit was being able to interact with all the children. By the time we arrived they were just finishing their lunch & were off to take a nap. Our group helped with giving the children baths, drying & applying powder on each of them, dressing them in their uniforms, & helping them fall asleep. I was in the room where I helped them fall asleep. They were all so cute & knew exactly what to do upon entering the room; they would find a pillow & mat then a person would rub their backs until they fell asleep. I have definitely missed working with children so I tried to take every moment I had with them in.