Monthly Archives: May 2014

What time is it?

I’ve been asked a lot about the time difference.

Bangkok is:
11 hours ahead of Eastern Time.
12 hours ahead of Central Time.
13 hours ahead of Mountain Time.
14 hours ahead of Pacific Time.

So if it is 12 Noon in the Midwest it is 12 Midnight in Thailand.

If it is 12 Noon on the West Coast it is 2am the next day in Thailand.

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Chai yen!

Thai Tea!

This is the most divine drink ever created and is the main reason I go to Thai restaurants in the States (the place by my house in the US even sold it bottled for carry out customers).

In Thailand, chai yen is on every corner (kind of like Starbucks in the states). There are food carts and actual stores that sell chai yen. It is also readily available in all markets. A coffee shop by my school sells it for 30 baht (90 cents) and also offers it’s own version of a Starbucks card to keep customers coming back for more. A few places down the street sell it for 25 baht. But the BEST deal is right in front of my apartment where the lady sells chai yen for 15 baht (45 cents)!!!!!

From a coffee shop, the chai yen will come in a normal plastic cup with a straw. However, from a cart or the market, the tea will come in a bag of ice in a paper bag with another plastic bag around it. A straw will be stuck in the bag. It is quite fascinating!

For those who have not been exposed to the magnificence that is chai yen – what are you waiting for?!? Chai yen is made from a black tea and typically spiced with some other special ingredients. Then sugar, and sweet and condensed milk is added to give it a creamy flavor. It is wonderful! Especially on a typical 90 degree day 🙂

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To coup, or not to coup…

That is the question the Thai military was asking themselves for about 48 hours after they declares martial law. They even specifically said it was not a coup… But then they changed their minds!

Thursday night they declared a coup and the announcements began:
– Public transportation would stop at 9pm
– Malls would close at 8pm
– There would be a nation-wide curfew from 10pm-5pm (it took me 27+ years but I finally have a curfew!)
– Schools would be closed on Friday (hold on what did you say?! I don’t have to work tomorrow? Oh no, you still have to work but there won’t be students there to bother you)
– The Thai military shut down international news stations
– There was a rumor they were going to shut down the internet at 9pm but that didn’t happen

How the Coup affects me:
– It doesn’t!

I just have to be in my apartment by 10pm, no late night galavanting. My fellow teacher and I decided against going into Bangkok this past weekend and were happy with our choice as protests shut down two BTS Skytrain stations.

Also if you didn’t know, coups are not a new thing in Thailand. They’ve had a few since they left the monarchy format in the 1930s. The last one was in 2006 and before that there was one in 1991.

Here is a fun political cartoon for your enjoyment!

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Shoes, shoes, shoes!

In Thailand, the feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body and the head the cleanest. One is not supposed to use their feet to pick things up or to expose the bottoms of the feet to another person. This is considered quite rude.

It is also customary in Thailand to take ones shoes off when entering a house, temple, school, etc. For instance, in my apartment building it is quite reasonable to leave your shoes outside in the hallway. Most Thais seem to have slippers that they wear in the house or even at school (we have some Hello Kitty and Minion slippers worn by teachers at my school). Outside of each class and by the downstairs staircase, large piles of shoes are there to greet you 🙂

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Dinner for under $3.50 (for two!)

My fellow teacher and I tend to share dinners. First off it is common in Thai culture to share dishes. And secondly, we get to try more yummy food that way 🙂

Last night we made the rounds and for a chicken dish, a beef dish, a bunch of rice hockey pucks (it’s the best description for them), dates, two tapioca and coconut desserts, and a watermelon (not pictured) for under 3.50! Each meat dish (bag) usually costs around 30 baht (about 90 cents) and the desserts are usually 10 baht. We did get some bubble tea on our evening outing as well for 25 baht. All of the food was delicious and left is quite satisfied!

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Pick a noun, any noun, and make it a nickname….?

The joy of Thai names is that they are long, really long (see earlier post about Bangkok’s name).  So Thai people choose a nickname and that is what they go by, even teachers.

Here is a random sampling of the names I will have in my classes:

Pin, Cartoon, First, Ray, Tee, Benz, Got, Guitar, Gift, Boy, Winnie, Mai-Q, Atom, Maxim, Wave, Ultra, Zen, and June.

In total, I will have about 100 kids over 6 classes.  Compared to the typical Thai classroom size of 40-50 students, I am lucky!  Some of the previous teachers said that they would just teach to the few that would listen as it was a waste of time and energy to try to get everybody’s attention.  My largest class is 20 and my smallest class is 12.  I’m sure I will have their names down soon!