January 26, 2013
Today was full of travel as we made our way from chiang Mai to Phuket for our final few days. We had until 10:30 am until we needed to leave to the airport, and spent the morning packing and having a cup of coffee in town. This is a city I will really miss! There is a ton of things to do- everything from being with elephants to shopping and hanging out in the city. Everywhere you go, people are so friendly (even pausing to wave after almost running you over while trying to cross traffic)! It was a bitter-sweet morning as we had to leave Phot, our wonderful guide throughout northern Thailand. He was so good to us, and many of us saw him as a sort of father figure. After saying our goodbyes, we headed off to board our flight for Phuket in southern Thailand.
Our flight was only two hours, it went by in the blink of an eye. Nothing compared to the 24 hours it took to travel to Thailand in the first place! We could see the ocean from the airport window, and it was beautiful! We boarded two vans and headed to Kuri Buri, where we would be staying for the evening before departing for a fishing village where we would be doing a home-stay.
Karen, our wonderful Scottish guide, met us with a smile and helped us check into our little bungalows for the evening. There was a local market within walking distance that some of us visited for a while before dinner. Just like in Northern Thailand, everyone we met was so welcoming and friendly! At dinner, we met a couple employees of Andaman Discoveries, a travel company that works with local villages to promote sustainability and tourism with the goal of helping local communities. Nicole, a former Peace Corps volunteer from the US, and Dewey, a local guide and environmentalist, had dinner with our group to talk about the homestay in a local fishing village.
We are going to stay in locals' homes in a Muslim fishing village called Baan Talay Nok for two days to learn about their culture and everyday lives. Four people would be staying with one family, making four households with nursing students. Two guides/interpreters will also be staying with us. The village is less than a kilometer from the beach, which we hear is largely uninhabited. Some of our plans so far include learning traditional batik (form of artwork), helping the families prepare meals, net fishing from the Andaman Sea, and learning to weave thatched roofing and make traditional Thai desserts. Sounds like we have a full couple days ahead of us. I can't wait to see what we will learn about their culture, because it sounds like a blast!