I’ve been in Bangkok now for 2 full days and so far we’ve been doing orientation. We had a general overview of Thai culture, plus a lesson the Thai language (Sawadee ka=hello) and were told a little about where we’ll be volunteering, which we start tomorrow.
My placement was changed, so now I’ll be at a preschool/community center in a shanty town that watches kids aged 2-5 so their parents can work. Different than I was expecting, but we’ll see how it goes.
The house I’m staying at is in a suburb of Bankgok where basically no tourists go, so it’s interesting to see an “authentic” Thai neighborhood. 5 other volunteers started the same day I did, plus 3 will be staying from before. 2 others left today. The volunteers seem to be split evenly between people who are here to volunteer, and people who are here to enjoy the nightlife and maybe do some volunteering on the side. I’ll let you figure out which group I’m in. Everyone is nice, but it’s a lot different from when I was in Africa and everyone had a heart for what they were doing. Plus, there, people were from all over the world, and here everyone is from the US or Canada.
Yesterday part of the orientation was called a “drop off exercise” and basically they sent us off on a sort of scavenger hunt and we had to find our own way around the neighborhood. My partner and I were sent to a Buddhist temple. It was really interesting to see, and I’m glad I got that one, because another group just got sent to the 7-11 and “Big C” which is like a Thai K-Mart.
Today we went to the touristy part of the city and visited “Wat Arun” which is a famous temple, decorated with mosaic tiles. We also went on a “khlong tour”– Bangkok is supposedly the “Venice of the East” because it’s intersected by all kinds of canals, aka khlongs. Well, I’ve been to Venice, and it was no Venice, but it was really interesting to see how people live along the river.
I took pictures of course, but my camera is downstairs and my internet time is almost up, so I’ll post them tomorrow hopefully.