Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Farang! Farang!

"Farang! Farang!" The Thai people shout when they see white foreigners wandering the streets of the non-tourist parts of Thailand. The first time you recognize the blatant & repeated calls at the fact you are a foreigner, it may seem derogatory. The frequency to which all aged Thai people shout "farang" as you pass seems motivated by more of an interest than harm however. Still, it is unclear exactly why they so excitedly shout the word over & over. Occasionally, we do feel like the butt of their jokes when they laugh at our confused glances and butchered attempt at their language. More often though, the Thais express their genuine intrigue, kindness and willingness to help.

Chanthaburi has been enchanting. While Corinne has been teaching during the day, Connie and I have found time to explore this exciting area that feels like proper Thailand. It's also been nice to have time to relax and use internet that moves faster than it did in the 90's for once. The first day Connie and I started our day by getting our first haircut in Thailand. It was 300 baht (approx. $10) for possibly the best haircut I have had yet. The stylists barely spoke English, but somehow we communicated through hand gestures and pictures. The shampoo was more like a head massage followed by a mysterious hair treatment that potentially looked like they were going to dye our hair, but turned out to be a much needed deep conditioning treatment. They dried our hair before they cut it, and at first we thought they misunderstood that we wanted it cut. While I would have thought cutting hair after drying seems counter-productive, I was pleasantly surprised with the result given the amount I got taken off.
 [Me by the Chathaburi River]
We set off to explore, soon to be picked up by an Indian man called "JK" who offered to guide us around the city. At first we assumed he wanted money, but explained that he loved being a guide, and no one was there to help him when he first moved here 7 years ago. JK's family is in the gem business which is a huge industry here in Chanthaburi. He took us around on his motorbike, stopping at amazing temples and parks around the town. JK was very helpful, but we did have a bit of trouble parting ways from him, as it seem like he'd expected to hang out for ages. We had him drop us off at Corinne's school, where we were able to watch in awe of the adorable Thai children getting out of school, and see Corinne's school & classroom where she teaches. Thai children are absolutely the most adorable human beings on this earth. They get cuter with each one that you see. I wish desperately that I was teaching primary school! We ended the day with an array of random delicious Thai dishes that we shared.
[Connie and I with JK on his motorbike]
[Chinese Thai Temple]
[Adorable Thai children outside Corinne's school]
Today, Connie and I were ventured toward the closest sea (30 minutes away) since she had not yet seen it. After a swim and relaxation on the beach, we went to "Oasis Sea World" to watch a dolphin show. We met Corinne at home and had some more delightful street food for only 30 baht, followed by a 5 baht donut treat. Connie has heard from our boss today that she will be moving to Chachoensgao to teach, where we had just visited our friend Laura. I am envious, as I am still waiting to hear any news about my situation. I've held a positive attitude through the past few weeks, but seeing my friends set up in their new homes and jobs is making me anxious to at least have an estimation of when I can get settled.
[Dolphin show at 'Oasis Sea World' near Chathaburi]

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