Saturday, November 2, 2013

10/26/13 to 10/27/13 My Journey to the Beautiful Countryside of Thailand

     Because my friend had visited me in Muang Thong Thani, cleaned my apartment, AND taken 3 separate very long bus rides (Thai people tend to say they know places, even if they don’t, so the bus ride was very extensive as they headed who knows where. Anywhere but the correct destination, apparently), I decided to visit in return. It’s funny because even though my friend speaks Thai very well and fluently, when they didn’t understand, they would look at me as if for clarification. I, of course, stood there cluelessly, blinking at them. It seems like I do that a lot, but I don’t think that’s a new thing. Even in Chicago, I would stare at ceilings and blink a lot, I think lol. 
      In any case, I took a bus (again, these “buses” are vans) to Mo Chit because the last time I took one, I took it to Victory Monument, and this time, my friend said I could take either or. Wanting to learn more on my own, I went to Mo Chit. Unfortunately, there was no bus station there. I ran downstairs to some station where I assumed I’d be able to ask for directions. The security guard, once he noticed I was speaking English at him, just chose to ignore me, which was fantastic. A guy who had been walking behind me walked past, but when he heard me asking for directions, he turned back and asked me where I wanted to go. 
     Not understanding my terrible attempts at saying Hankha, Chainat, the guy took out his iPad and asked me to type it out. When he saw that I actually meant a place that was about 3 hours away, he said, “Wow!” and proceeded to ask directions for me. He was very sweet, taking me back upstairs even though he had been on his way to a mall. Actually, he told me he thought I was looking for a shopping mall too. Nont (that’s his name) took me to a bus station via city bus, and I offered to pay him back with some baht or a meal, but he refused everything I tried to give him. 
      He helped me so much, that I was able to run to the bathroom even though all the people on the bus were waiting for me. I tried to run out of the bathroom the wrong way, and he even guided me to the gate exit, which made me laugh. Then, he ended up talking with my driver and told him to remind me where to get off, and he stayed for so long that I was able to thank him profusely once again and even wave goodbye to him. Well, maybe his gift was that he now has my Thai number and a picture that he took with me to show his friends. 
     But anyway, in general, he was very sweet, very helpful, 24-years old and sharing my mom’s birthday, and he spoke pretty good English. I guess that’s because he is a finance major and wanted to become a stock broker. I think he changed that plan and wants to work in some firm, but I forget the details. 
      Going back to my journey, the bus driver stopped at a gas station, and usually, people get off for about 10 minutes to use the bathroom (hong nam) and then wait patiently until the bus comes around, full of gas. However, I was so exhausted that I slept through this, randomly waking up to find men standing in front of the bus, staring at me. It was really just so great, you know, to wake up and to be gawked at like I was an animal behind some glass. I pretended to go back to sleep because it was so awkward! 

This is from a completely different day, but these are the
van buses I keep mentioning. They're actually buses. 
It is pretty confusing because there are regular buses
like the ones in Chicago as well as double-decker
buses. It just depends on where you wish to go.

Within seconds, the bus trunk opened. (No point
in this picture. Just thought it was amusing.)

      Falling back asleep, I was awoken by my bus driver a bit later, who helped me transfer onto another bus that took me to the countryside. After sitting for about 20-30 minutes, I arrived in Hankha and my friend picked me up from a market on a motorbike! Yay, I really miss being on one! 
     We went on a mini motorbike tour and saw the rice paddies around town. The sun’s reflection and the colors bouncing off the water in the paddies made it a beautiful place. I just stood there in the breathtaking silence, enjoying the sunset. I love rural areas, although I’ll admit that if I stayed there on my own, I would’ve been a lot more terrified, even more so than being in Muang Thong Thani, where a few people can still help me using English. (Not that I really want them to, but I have almost no tools for learning Thai for the time being, so I need some people to understand just a wee bit of my conversation.) 

By a river in Hankha, Chainat.

One of the rice paddies

A more flooded rice paddy

The sun beginning to set

So pretty!

As time passed, the sun sometimes
would seemingly hide behind the cloudy
haze, but you can still see it turning a bit red.

Tried to be artistic by taking a shot from 
a lower viewpoint. I am not a good
photographer at all lol

Every single time the birds came out, I had already
put away my camera. This is one shot where the birds
had already flown a bit far from the sun, but it's okay.

Rabbit-eared cows with horns! My friend insists
that they're buffalo. To me, buffalo have always
been extinct though. So shhhhhhhhhhhhh :D

      Heading back to my friend’s place, we ate some roti, which was sooo sweet that I was almost too full for dinner. The place my friend was staying at had fast wi-fi though, so we sat around, watching part of SNL before we headed out to dinner. 
      During dinner, I was so picky! Bugs were dropping into my rice, the meat, and the veggies like no tomorrow, so I kept picking them out. My friend said I should just ignore them, so eventually, I ate around them and would just shove them off the grains onto the empty parts of my plate. It got to the point where if I saw one, I wanted to just put it into my mouth because it was so time-consuming to push them off. They’d just return anyway. I didn’t eat them though--I saved their lives by continuing to put them onto my fork, and blowing them away, even with all their tempting, delectable fiber-filled insides. :D
      The next morning, I woke up pretty late and we ended up having an incredibly large lunch. A fried, unhealthy omelet, som tam (papaya salad), chicken, and fried pork were all still swirling around in my stomach for the entire 3-hour van ride to Rangsit, not in a bad way. I was so full from that meal that I skipped dinner. My friend went back for dinner to the same place that night after I left, and the ladies there served a fresh, hot, heaping plate of fried rice in exchange for an English lesson. I want to go back there just for the som tam; it’s the best I’ve had since coming to Thailand!
      I came back to Muang Thong Thani and walked around a night market which comes the first and last Sundays of each month. I bought a few little toys for my students as bribery. Just kidding; I don’t wish to train them to be extrinsic-ly motivated, but since they are having issues listening to me, I may need to rely on that until they are classically trained to be well-behaved.
     These are pictures of all the activity from my view in my apartment:

Look at those stands set up! They were everywhere,
selling clothes, gadgets, housewares, food, almost

Bustling "nightlife" haha

Good night, my little semi-city! :)

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