The first of many entries to come! I never thought I would visit Thailand. I've traveled a lot, but had never been too interested in going that far and exploring eastern culture. I am so grateful that I had this amazing opportunity to learn so much about a culture that is so different from our own. I enjoy sharing it with everyone and I hope that you will enjoy learning about it too! Matt's Parents, Bob and Carol, have been spending the last year and a half living in Thailand and teaching English to children in a small village. Their term with the Peace Corps will be finished next March (2008) and they will probably do some traveling after that before returning home. If you haven't checked out their blog yet, please take a look at it - they've done an excellent job!! (click here)
When we arrived, Carol told us quite a bit about the Thai people and their way of life. There are pictures of the King posted everywhere and they are completely devoted to him. The Thai people take their king and their religion very seriously and you will never hear anyone mutter a negative word about either one. They also spend every day living "in the moment" - which I think is a great quality to have - but unfortunately for them it is almost to a fault because it prevents any forward thinking or future planning.
Our first day in Thailand was spent at the "Floating Market" just outside of Bangkok. It was fun to take a little boat ride and shop directly from the boat. We did a lot of bartering in Thailand - you could usually talk them down to about half of what they originally ask for. There were a lot of teak wood sculptures, purses, vases, etc. We ate lunch by a river/swamp and then had one other stop where they sold several things that are all handmade by different Thai villages.