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Word from Abroad: Matthew M.

6 Months in Bangkok

Despite what the media would have you believe, Bangkok has somehow managed not to self-destruct over this past month of protests. With the protesters numbering a mere 100,000 at their peak, the only thing that has been drastically affected by the protests are a few intersections in Bangkok's Downtown area. The lead-up to the protest was over-hyped and the reality did not live up to anywhere near what was promised. All that has been left since is empty saber-rattling.

March 4 marked my 6 month anniversary in Thailand. It is hard to believe that 6 months have passed by already, and even harder to believe that it has only been 6 months since I arrived here. This has been one of the most exciting months however, since I had a chance to head down to Ko Larn. Ko Larn is a beautiful but totally dry and hot island, where water is imported from the mainland. The island itself is simply beautiful and the people friendly and laid-back. We spent most of our two days there lying on the beach, and also heading up to the mountain peak and enjoying the amazing views. We stayed in a gorgeous little bungalow owned and operated by a friendly, helpful man. The food was so fresh and we ate very well for the two days!

I also continued expanding my sightseeing catalogue in Bangkok, journeying to Wat Arun and up the Golden Mount, the most sacred place in Thailand. Wat Arun is an amazing Khmer-style ancient temple, while the Golden Mount is a modern day chedi housing Buddha's remains. I was fortunate enough to go there on a holy day and witnessed pilgrims giving alms.

My job is a never-ending source of amazement! I never thought pronunciation was that big a deal in English, until I heard "clock" without the "l" and "clapping" pronounced with an "r" instead of "l'! Now I make sure to focus on it a little more, for the students' sake! The students continue to be a great bunch and I still love the place I work and people I work with. March saw the annual Wall Street conference take place, giving me the chance to mix with staff from the other four Wall Street branches in Bangkok.

Although I get to see a doctor here every few months, I got a bonus experience with the Bangkok Medical system. I eat all the time from the food vendors in the street; it was these vendors that I was copiously warned about when planning my move. However I have not once gotten sick from any of the street vendors and have found their food to be nutritious and tasty. However the first time I went to a restaurant for the "Hi-So" (Bangkok's rich and famous, high-society population) I proceeded to get food poisoning. Thankfully the fabulously efficient Bangkok medical system had me dosed up on curatives in no time and back at work the next day. Best of all, it was inexpensive and I even got to practice my Thai as the nurse didn't speak English (the Doctor did speak English, which I was glad for!).

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