Wednesday, June 15, 2011

some things I've learned

I'm using Wi-Fi on the hammock on the porch of my house, watching someone prepare dinner in her outdoor kitchen, curry smells drifting over. A chicken is walking down the street. She moves for motorcycles.

1) I am going to have a lot of free time. I am teaching 16 different classes of 50 minutes each, so roughly 13 hours a week; all told I'll probably work for about twice that. Hopefully I can put 10 hours a week towards Thai language, and then I'll still have ample time to read and write and hang out. I'm so glad my workweek isn't 50 hours anymore. I am not a workaholic. It would have to be like reading-Harry-Potter-level flow to seem worth it right now. Being relaxed is sweet.

2) I am very glad I'm with an established program. My luggage recently arrived, because a co-teacher had a friend at the airport and was able to get them to deliver it to the school. Being with PiA means adults, both here and in the States, can come to bat if anything goes wrong, which something did. I honestly don't even know my address right now- getting the luggage to Phang Nga and then transporting it to my house would have been a nightmare without intermediaries. I'm very grateful to have support.

3) Possibly because it's a Bhuddist country (Michelle's [the other PiA fellow in town!] educated guess), the stray cats and dogs all look very happy and fat.

4) Rural and in the jungle does not mean paradise. Phang Nga basically straddles one long highway, with all stores and stands directly on the road and all houses on side streets. It gets really pretty when you leave the main road; there are densely forested mountains every way you turn. But the "center" of town is kind of like urban sprawl everywhere. There's one big box store (a "Big C"- it's basically Target) 3 7-11s, and a lot of small, usually dark and empty restaurants and stands. I think rent must cost like nothing. It kind of reminds me of Cairo, except without the overstaffing. Beach resort this town is not. Nonetheless, it takes about two minutes to be in something that feels quaint and authentic, and about 5 to get to something that feels untouched.

5) heavy rain in the morning is very soothing. There are no light showers here. It pours.

6) I very much enjoyed this article on the history of modern Beijing's urban landscape. I was going to start reading Ulysses but ended up reading The Wind and the Willows instead. Both are free on kindle!


  1. Seth,

    I am sad that I missed you before you left, but I can already tell this blog is going to be baller. I subscribed via Google Reader.

    When you come back we should go eat Thai food and then you can tell me how much it sucks. Then we can play frisbee.


  2. Will there be photos eventually?

  3. ask and ye shall receive.

    Roy, I get to pet dogs because they are everywhere and I don't have to take are of them.

    Jimmy, I never want to be that guy who goes abroad and suddenly America just ain't good enough, like "oh I spent three weeks in Austria so now I can't drink Natty Light" GET OVER YOURSELF EACH EXPERIENCE IS UNIQUE

  4. Seth,

    You are a great man and I love you, also very swattie of you.


  5. Seth,
    Looks like you are loving Thailand! Reading your blog is taking me back to my first few weeks here. Enjoy it!
    Also, don't get too friendly with the dogs. I know from experience that many have ringworm...

    Chok dee,