This morning we had our final debriefing as a group before leaving Thailand. One topic that really stood out to me today was contrasting the difference between..’wanting what you have vs. having what you want’ along with ‘having enough vs profiting.’ The materialism that has been a part of my life for so long is not as prevalent here. To be satisfied with and understand what enough is, and to be content and want what you have is something I am not sure I will ever fully understand. I want to challenge myself as I go home to learn to be satisfied and content with what I have.
Even though Pattaya was not a planned educational part of our trip, I felt like it was a learning experience. Sure, we were able to relax at the beach, but we were also able to see a different side of Thailand. In my Fodors Thailand travel book it talks about how Pattaya is a “city divvied by sand and sex” and that “commercial sex is not just a reality here: it is the lifeblood of the city.” I definitely got to witness this first hand. I’ve never felt so uncomfortable walking around even during the day. It’s hard for me to understand how a city as beautiful as Pattaya, can be so ugly. And most of this is brought on by the tourists. I wish there was an easy way to get people to understand that lifestyle doesn’t have to be an option. It was a culture shock going from Northern Thailand, where things are lived a little simpler, and then going to Pattaya where it’s the total opposite.
Thailand has a different style of healthy living compared to the United States. In Thailand, there are almost no processed foods. Everything is cooked fresh right in front of you. The food seems to be more natural and fresh compared to the United States. I was told that in Bangkok, people living in apartments do not always have a kitchen. (This is so the smell of food does not leak into another person’s room.) Since people cannot cook their own food, they have to go to markets or street vendors to find food.
In Thailand, there seems to be more fresh fruits available as well as a larger variety. Plus the price is very reasonable. In Thailand, I can walk outside my hotel and buy a bag of fruit for less than two dollars. I feel like this can encourage people to eat healthier since it is more available to them. In the United States, eating healthy is very expensive. It is cheaper to buy McDonald’s for dinner versus preparing a healthy meal.
I have also noticed in Thailand the proportions are smaller compared to the United States. At a restaurant in the United States, you are given a plate filled with more food than you could possibly eat. At restaurants in Thailand, I am given smaller proportions so I do not over eat. I know my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach, so I tend to get more food than I can actually eat. This causes me to then waste food. With smaller proportions in Thailand, I do not feel like I am wasting so much food.
Another thing I noticed is in Thailand sanitation does not seem to be as much as a concern like it is in the United States. People do not seem as concerned with making sure everything is spotless, including hotels and restaurants. Also, it is not completely out of the norm for people to not wash their hands after they use the restroom. With all the outside markets and vendors, I know some bugs are bound to end up in the food. It does not seem to bother the Thai people as much as it would bother me. I think it is just the cultural difference and what you are used to.
January 9, 2014
It’s been a couple of busy days in Thailand. Today we visited the students and campus of Chiang Rai university. We met up with a fellow student from the university to show us around the campus. Many of them didn’t know much English, but we figured things out eventually. Coming in I expected a big difference from culture to culture in student behavior and interaction, but after hanging out with the students of CRRU I found that we weren’t so different.
I met Kat a student from the university and we had the same apps on our phones and we listened to the same types of music. So meeting the students was an eye opener, everyone was very open to learn about each other. Seeing how similar we were and how we could connect on an academic and social level was something that was cool to see.
This is probably one of my favorite things we did on this trip. Riding the elephants and oxen was so much fun although I was scared. It was interesting to see how the people lived with and raised elephants. I was surprised to hear that the owners take the elephants into the jungle to sleep every night and get them every morning. I
|One of the elephants at the park drew this.
All I know is that this is better than anything I could have done.
I remember being so scared while taking these pictures with the ox. The owner of the ox were taking our pictures and these oxen were walking ahead without him.
Another thing we need on this trip was going river rafting. During this, we were able to see Thailand’s beautiful scenery. I was able to see how the people lived with the elephants on the hills, what they did, and how they were able to make use of what they got. It seemed like they used all the resources they had and did not let things go to waste. This is something I should take with me as I head back to the US as I tend not to use everything I have to its fullest.
Welcome to Pattaya, a beautiful tropical tourist city in Thailand. The warm ocean air flows across the land as tourists flooded the busy streets. Among all of the beauty in Pattaya, there is a dark side to paradise. Before coming to Pattaya, we were warned about staying together in a large group and to avoid traveling alone. Unlike all of the other places we have visited, this was the first time I had ever noticed a hint of concern in my professors’ and tour guide’s face. Prostitution and shady tourist are often overshadowed by the beauty of Pattaya but they are everywhere. As I watched older European males with young Thai woman, I think about how people with power exploit vulnerable people. The beauty of Pattaya will stick with me as well as the hidden side of Pattaya, each shaping their own image in my head.
Going up to the highest mountain in Thailand was an interesting experience. I honestly didn’t know what to expect but was looking forward to go into the villages and see how the families lived.
|These were cute little Hmong kids we met and gave us flowers!|