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Journals from Jan Term 2014 - NURS 398 Traditional and Modern Healthcare in SE Asia

2013-01-09 First day in paradise

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Tea time with friends at ethnic origins class

After an extremely long  plane ride we finally arrived in Thailand. As we stepped off the plane in the dark, Bangkok looked like any other city in the northwest (aside from the language) but in the light of the morning you could see striking differences.

 
Poking out from the top of the greenery rose skyscrapers and the peaked roofs of the Thai temples. Small spirit houses sit out in front of businesses adorned with vibrant flowers and food offerings.
 
On our way to our ethnic origins class on Thai etiquette we learned how terrifying the traffic is here. With no apparent traffic rules cars, bikes, people and motorcycles share lanes. Motorcycle taxis carry locals sitting sidesaddle through stopped traffic, passing mere inches from our vehicle.
 
At our origins class we were greeted by some of the most beautiful and welcoming Thai people we have met yet. Sitting in the shade of a traditional  Thai home built on stilts, we drank tea and coffee decorated with orchids talking about Thai culture. We  learned how to sit, walk and wai (bow) properly. Then we were taught Lai Tha,i a form of painting with glue brushed with gold leaf.
 
Saying goodbye to our friends we left for the weekend market. We were immediately shocked by the number of people and shops in one place. Food vendors covered the streets selling fruit and strange meats.
 
With sore feet and excited hearts we ventured out to our first authentic Thai restaurant. But first....to cross traffic. Safely across to the other side, we enjoyed a vegetarian buffet of curries, rice, fried vegetables, tofu and much more.
 
Returning back to the Bangkok Christian Guest House we fell into our rock hard beds, living every second of it.
 
Kaitlyn Frazier

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