สวัสดี = S̄wạs̄dī + 'kaaaaa' = hello (for females)
Any time you are a female and you are Thai and you are speaking, you end whatever it is you are saying with a semi-high pitched 'kaaaa'.]
So... Thailand. I'm in love.
The people are unbelievably friendly (with the exception of a few taxi drivers who try to seriously rip you off), the food is delicious (mango sticky rice is scrumptious), the weather is lovely (it's hot and humid but there's always the pool of beach to cool you down), the beaches are beautiful (pictures to come), the exchange rate is beautiful ($1 US = 30 THB) (THB = Thai Baht), and I could keep going but I'll throw in some pictures and explanations instead of dragging this list out.
I made it to Thailand after 3 flights and 2 taxi rides by myself. A little scary at first but everything went smoothly. Got into Bangkok around midnight and went straight to bed. We spent 3 full days in Bangkok I think. We did a lot of random stuff. Nothing too touristy actually. Went to a mall that looks similar to the one in SF but on a much larger scale. Ate some Krispy Kremes because, really, who can resist those? Swam (A LOT).
I went to the hospital w/ the surrogate fam one day so I could see where I'd go if I had some emergency (which I really don't plan on). You can choose your doctors by looking at their profiles online. You get to see what schools they went to and where they've worked, along with their specialties. The patient rooms look more like hotel rooms than hospital rooms. Some hospitals will pay for you airfare to Thailand and your stay and recovery because the surgeries are so much cheaper there. And faster! If I ever need a major surgery done, I'm going to Thailand. Sometimes they even let you pick where you'd like to recover and they'll send you to some resort to have relaxing time by the beach so you can recover peacefully. WHAT? Crazy stuff.
We also went to see The Bourne Legacy in Bangkok. A movie on vacation? No. Not what you think. This place was insane. The theater reminded me of where I saw Cirque du Soleil in Vegas. HUGE and beautiful. Reclining seats, massive chandelier in the foyer before the main theater, just perfect. They even have a whole section for 4D movies. You know, the 3D thing PLUS moving seats. THEN, in th emiddle of the Thai commercials (rather than previews), the national anthem starts playing and EVERYONE stands up while they show a slideshow of the life of the king.
[Sidenote: Thailand respects their royalty immensely. If you drop a coin w/ the king's face on it, you better pick it up. If you step on it, you might be arrested. If you speak badly of their royalty, even on the internet in another country, they will make sure you don't enter their country. The queen's birthday is August 12 (which is the day they celebrate mother's day because of the queen's birthday) so there were shrines to her ALL OVER the country. 10 ft tall posters of her face with beads and flowers draped all over the golden statues that made up the shrine. You want to see people who respect their leaders? Go to Thailand.]
Ok, so on to my favorite part: Hua Hin.
We spent a beautiful week in Hua Hin. We stayed at the Amari Hua Hin Hotel, which didn't even open to the public until the 15th of this month. Brand new. They greeted us with cold towels and iced tea and lots of excitement. We went straight outside to go check everything out. OH. MY. GOSH. The Hyatt down the street is a 5 star hotel. Ours was a 4 star. I think they got the ratings wrong. Ours was incredible. The general manager was talking to me right before we left and said that the pool is 450 sq meters. This massive infinity pool is perfectly heated and clean (which isn't so common on this side of the world I've been told). It's so warm there that hot tubs are pointless. And about a 2 minute walk (or a golf cart ride) lands you at the Amari's beach restaurant which sits on the white sand beach of course.
|Mango sticky rice|
|This is rotee. It's like a crepe, but they fold it up, chop it up and then drizzle it w/ condensed milk.|
|Here's the finished product|
Oh, I also took a zumba class this morning in Bangkok. A Thai guy taught the class and we did a zumba routine to a Beyonce song. Yeah. That was my morning.
I plan on going back the second I get the chance too. But now I'm back in LC and I can't complain at all. I've been blessed with an incredible life and I can't believe the opportunities I've had, even just in this last month.
Teaching starts in 2 weeks.
Real cooking starts tomorrow.