Thursday, July 9, 2009

Last post

It's been a hectic few days in Bangkok. So hectic, in fact, that I don't have the energy right now to describe it or post any photos. In fact, this will be the last post, so thanks to all of you who followed along. It's perhaps appropriate that I arranged to have my last dinner in Thailand with a bunch of my future classmates at Kellogg. (There were 5 attractive Thai women at the table, and me. I think I'm going to like B-school.)

It's been a great trip in SE Asia. Am I quite ready to go home? Not really -- but I am looking forward to it a whole lot. I get to see my family, some of my friends probably, and in a week, my new niece! It'll be good. :)


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kayaking in Laem Phra Nang

Kayaking in southern Thailand: an amazing, unforgettable experience, despite the touristy packaging and the tour guide who had just a tad too much vivacious bonhomie.

Lagoons that reminded me of cathedrals, haunting mangrove forests, impressive karst mountains...this was a seriously cool place. Here's a short video I took (very shaky, since I had to paddle while holding the camera):

Here's a cave:

And and big rock wall:

And a mangrove forest:

Ok, enough of the badly-taken pictures. You get the point -- I had a good time. :)

EXCEPT, I paddled thru a cloud of mosquitoes at one point, nearing panicking when I saw them flying slowly towards me. I had on some ultra-strong insect repellent (the stuff where the DEET % is so high, it starts making your skin burn and eating thru your synthetic clothes), but the mosquitoes didn't care. I think I got about 20 bites on my arms and legs in about 5 minutes before getting the hell out of dodge.

(Tip: the easiest way to escape a cloud of mosquitoes in a slow-moving kayak is to be a douchebag and paddle close to a group of your companions in the hope that their warm, delicious bodies will draw off some of the swarm.)


Leaving Home & Life

Yesterday was my last day at Home & Life. The kids all came along when Root dropped me off at the bus station. They gave me pictures they had drawn, little poems they wrote, and some stuffed animals from Home & Life. I exchanged email addresses with some of the older ones, and gave huge hugs to all the younger ones. We were all in tears as I watched them drive away.

Life is cruel sometimes.

As it turned out, I was so distracted that I forgot to get off the bus at Krabi, and overshot it by about 50km. Cost me 100 baht to get back. Yeesh.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Horsing around

It's amazing that these kids have been through what they've been through, and still have the capacity to be happy, responsible, and eager to help out.

Needless to say, we play a lot after all of us have finished our work, chores, etc.

And here's a flower one of the kids gave me after I spent all day grouting the new kitchen. (Awwww!)

It's going to be hard to leave.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Young ruffians

A few days ago, I went with some of Home & Life's staff members to go pick up the kids from school.

When we arrived, they piled into the back of truck, and we drove off. Alnog the way, we passed some of Kop's friends (Kop is 13). One friend immediately stuck his middle finger in the air and gestured repeatedly in Kop's direction. Kop returned the favor.

This delightful little exchange wasn't what surprised me. What surprised me was that Sun (age 8), who was sitting across from me and Kop at the time, then stuck his head out the back of the truck and yelled "Hiieeeiii! Fuck you!" (in English, needless to say) at the friend.

I burst out laughing, because to my knowledge, the ONLY English phrases this 8 year old kid knows are "My name is Sun," "How are you?", "I'm fine," and "Hey, fuck you!"

Not a bad selection, really.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Cute. Not Cute.

This is Kwang. At 16, she's one of the oldest kids at Home & Life. We're friends, and probably because we're friends, Kwang feels comfortable telling me that I am not cute.

I know because I showed Kwang my passport picture, in which I have short hair and no beard. She went "Oh! A little cute!" Then, she pointed at my face, waved her hand dismissively, and said "Not cute" and walked away.

Sigh. Women.