Saturday, December 11, 2010

PLEASE PAUSE FOR OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM

I'm not sure I ever posted about this, but one kind of interesting thing about Thailand is that, in public places, you must stop and listen to the national anthem. There are speakers everywhere that play it once at 8am and again at 6pm. I had forgotten all about this until yesterday, when I was at a street fair in Lumphini Park with Jenni and Niki (and the boys) and P'Nui. We were watching this dude perform from 5:40-6:20,

when this MC girl interrupted and asked us all to stand for the national anthem. I think he was in the middle of a flea circus trick. So we stood, listened to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBDKah2nnvw

and then sat down again so he could finish his show.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I'm in Bangkok again for the first time in a year and a half. I realized, on my way over here, that I have been in Thailand every year (for at least a week) since 2006. That's the kind of thing I find cool.

It was quite a traveling endeavor to get here this time. Here's my trip, in a schedule format:

Tuesday, EST
930/10am: I left from Tallahassee for McDonough, GA, where I'd leave my car with my friend Rachel's Aunt Ruth. It was pretty uneventful. I listened to the Winter's Tale and drove by a bunch of plantations.

2:30pm: Arrived in McDonough. It shouldn't take that long, but I got lost in the small town. One of the streets on the directions didn't have a name on the sign, so I passed it 3 times before I knew to turn there. Rachel's aunt's name is Ruth and she is so nice. (Obviously, she helped me out big time for this trip.) We had 45 minutes on the way to the airport but we needed about 3 days to cover all that we wanted to talk about. I hope I'll get to spend more time with her one day. Rachel said she was awesome and she was right.

3:15ish pm: Arrived at the airport, finished up my last assignment for school but had no internet to send it to my professor. Bought some sour Jelly Bellys for the plane. Mmm.


6:10pm: Plane to Frankfurt took off. It had internet! I sent my assignment to my professor. Somewhere around 10pm EST the first break I've had since Fall 2009 started. Whoo hoo.

Wednesday, Frankfurt Germany time (I don't know the right name for it).

9:00ish am: The flight landed in Germany. With a little confusion, I found my way to the center of town where I planned to spend some of my day long layover. I've never been to Europe before. The train dropped me off in a really commercialized area. It had a Tiffany' & Co, if that gives you an idea. I windowshopped for a while while rain poured. It was cold (40 degrees) but not unbearable. I was wet from the rain though and decided to stop here and eat:

It's called Mutters Ernst. Let's say that's German for "Earnest Mutters." I was really missing my friend Bethany the whole time. Not only because she knows German (duh) but because I know she would like being there.

In Mutters Ernst I ate lentil soup with sausage in it and had a beer. I don't know what kind. I said "beer" and the waitress said "beer?" excitedly (I guess I wasn't looking like a beer drinker?) and she set down a glass of beer. It was okay. I'm not much of a beer drinker. (Vine ist betah)

The food was delicious but I was full (eeeem), so I decided to go back to the airport after that. It was not a great day for walking around.

Noonish: I arrived back at the airport and when I got to the customs (back to the international flight terminal) this woman stopped me. I thought she wasn't going to let me in but she said, "It's very early. I'm not sure you want to go in there." I just wanted to sleep and told her so. She let me through. I wish I had listened to her because a) I couldn't sleep and b) our plane was 3 hours late.

10:00pm: They announced our plane was late because of a blizzard.
11:30: They announced that all flights were canceled. We'd have to rebook.
11:35: someone checked and found out that they didn't mean for our flight. The one to Manchester, silly.
11:45: They announced our flight was canceled and we had to rebook.
12am: They said, just kidding! They found a plane for us but we'd have to take a bus there.
12:30: We walked to another terminal, down the steps, and onto a bus.
2am: The plane finally left. I had three seats to myself. I stretched out and went to sleep.

THURSDAY, Thai Time:

5pmish: I woke up. I'd missed one meal (big whoop) but slept a lot. We had 2 hours left on the flight. I was so excited! The monitors on the plane were showing "Golden Girls."

7:30: we landed. I met P'Nui, P'Pui, and P'Jenni. Did I mention that in Thailand, everyone's name's rhyme? My name is Nori here. :D We went back to where I'm staying (The C building this time. It's where I stayed originally) and then went for noodles. Mmm. Noodles. Oh! And at the noodle place, the TV was showing "The Wire" with Thai subtitles. Weird!

Then I went home, talked to my boyfriend and my mother (not at the same time) and went to bed.

2am: my friend Chay called. (I'm using Nui's phone. Email me if you want the number?) I had trouble going back to sleep, which is why I'm blogging to you now!

Other interesting facts:
I don't have a battery for my camera so I didn't take any pictures yet (the restaurant pictures are from a website called Bild Zoom). I left it in my apartment. Boo.




Friday, May 15, 2009

Movies

I don't know why I feel compelled to write about this, but on the plane over, I watched:

1) Fashion Police! The Academy Awards
I was amused that they had this as a choice so I had to watch it. Natalie Portman was the best dressed female and Jessical Biel was the worst. It was a nice way to de-graduate school. It was like watching an hour of People Magazine.

2) Twilight
This is a teenage vampire movie. I know you knew that. Did you know that everyone in the movie has one expression? I mean, the expression is unique to them, but each character has one face they make throughout the whole movie. Other than that, it made the time go by. What else are we looking for on the plane?

3) Snakes on a Plane
Just kidding! I just wanted to say I watched this on the plane.

4) Cadillac Records
I liked this. It's a crash course in blues history. Still my favorite music. Mos Def played Chuck Berry. He was fun and definitely the best part.
Normal

I'm back in Bangkok for a month, after being away for a year. It rained for the first 24 hours and I remembered how much the rain impacted my writing while I was here. I mostly wrote poems, and I think there was some new description of rain in most of them. It's the start of the rainy season, which I enjoy because it's the weather most distinct from the American midwest.

Joel's here with me, and we spent most of the day at the Poll where I used to work. It was, of course, great to see everyone again. P'Nui put me right to work--I joined her in a meeting where we entertained a couple of Malaysian visitors for about three hours, describing 'our' work at the poll to them. It was fun. I assumed my once usual role of clarifying what other people were trying to say. It's a neat exercise for a writer, I suppose. Meanwhile, Joel walked around the campus. I think it was all right for him.

At lunch, we ate at a somtam restaurant I loved for its yam pladuk foo (fish and mango salad) over sticky rice. We ate with my coworkers--P'Nui, P'Noom, P'Jo, P'Otto, P'Pam, and P'Pun (P'George is photographing Prachuap Kiri Kahn this weekend). During the meal, P'Pam said, "We're back to normal." That comment had a strong effect on me. I was pretty moved, I mean. I had spent plenty of meals with them before, getting about 25% of the conversation, always feeling like the farang and the odd one out. I thought that maybe I threw their group off. That I made things not normal for them, I mean. His comment seemed to insinuate that my absense was strange to them. That blew me away.

It also was strange to think of the past year as being "not normal," with all the stress of graduate school, the idea was kind of relief. I do admit that I never really felt like I left, which is really bizarre. What's even more bizarre is that I feel the same way every time I return to Detroit. I have two places I feel really comfortable, and that's what the comment was really about, I think, anyway. P'Pam said it to be welcoming, and it worked--the comment made me feel very welcome and very comfortable. Thai people have a gift for that. Anyway, 'normal,' has never struck me as something to strive for.

Did I mention it's nice to be back? The food is just as good as I remember. Haven't gotten a hold of a pineapple yet, though...

(Please God, Please, Don't Let Me Be Normal--The Fantasticks).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Me

Last night I had a birthday dinner with some of my fellowship friends.

Chay and Tee both play the guitar, though not the same kind. :)

Rupar and Em are really hilarious together.

Maybe Em is just hilarious all the time. May looks amused.

My friend Lee (below) owns a clothing stand near Big C. She came by to give me a gift (a necklace), but she had to leave really quick. I was glad to see her before I left.
We ate at an Issan restaurant on Panasin. It was some of the best Issan food I've had yet. Why May didn't tell me about it before, I have no idea...
Good lord this was good food.
Then we went and got some frozen yogurt.
Unfortunately, that frozen yogurt I'm eating tasted pretty bad...




This is a table decoration.
This is the wallpaper:

The Ivy cafe is also an office for the Secret of Success...
Walking back to the C Building... near the library:
I'm going to miss these creatures:

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Last time to see P'Tao (and Kim)

..for a while

I went over to the Korean part of town and met them at their new Internet shop that I didn't even know they had:


Then we went over to the riverside Korean restaurant:


Korean Pizza:

P'Tao's cousin... sort of.
I'm pretty serious in this picture... Not very giggly.
This salad was so yummy:

Korean bacon:
Arroi.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

My Tropical Backyard

I have a garden behind my building that I like to call my backyard. Here's the photos I took so I'll never forget it.


This is a Sala--like a Selah, it's a place to rest. :) I've come to know these in Thailand to be a sign of wealth. I think the university I live at is fond of showing wealth.


Waterlilies! In my backyard.



These parrots speak Thai, which I think is easier for them to speak than English. You don't need your teeth and tongue as much to sing Thai.


I live in the building behind the Sala.

There are a few of these statues all through the garden.


These posts are one of my favorite things about Catholicism.
Meeting in the Sky

A few weeks ago, P'Nui had meeting down in the center of town, on top of a sky scraper. I had to go down there to get my visa to visit India, so I joined up with her. Here are some photos.


These are the view from the window:



P'Nui and P'Nheng


And that's P'Nui, taking the skytrain in the opposite direction that I'm going in :)