Two in Thailand

After raising three children and watching them graduate from college, Bob and Carol decided to leave the educational field and pursue a dream that had been put on hold for 35 years (since graduationg from the University of Northern Iowa). "Two in Thailand" is the journal dedicated to that dream - to serve in the Peace Corps. This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed within do not necessarily represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lessons Learned in Thailand

1. When the villagers say, "This is the dry season", assume it will rain!

2. If you, see a cloud, assume it will rain.

3. Always carry an umbrella.

4. Rain water is good for the hair, bad for the cell phone.

5. Always have your cell phone in a plastic bag.

6. Make sure you have clean, dry underwear when you arrive home.

7. We will appreciate pizza delivery when we get back to the U.S.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rainy Season Arrives Early

The monsoons normally arrive in August. May has been an atypical month for Thailand. It has rained every day this month! Our village has received over 30 inches (nearly 80 cm) of rain since May 1 and the farmers have been tilling the rice paddies in preparation for rice planting. The rains typically
come in early afternoon and late afternoon with intense lightning and thunder!

Umbrella Factory

While we were in Chiang Mai, we visited an umbrella factory. The designs are hand painted on the umbrellas by a team of artists. One of the artists offered to paint an orchid on Carol's purse --- total cost was 50 baht (about $1.50).

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Little Guide Camp in Chantaburi

We had the pleasure of being invited to an English Camp with a unique twist. Chantaburi is located near the beach and due to its weather is a major supplier of some of the most unique fruit in Thailand (including durian, mangosteens, dragon fruit, and rambuteen). The province selected 100 of the top English students in the province and held a three-day camp to teach them to be tour guides. Five Peace Corps volunteers were invited to help train the students and serve as English speaking "tourists". A lot of team building activities as well as entertainment was provided. The second picture show us encouraging Carol who is in front of the students acting as a chicken. The students also produced plays in English (third picture). Bob taught ecology and "global warming" for the beach trip and Carol taught shopping, including jewelry shopping (last picture). Chantaburi is the processing and distribution center for rubies and sapphires from Southeast Asia.

Carol and her tour guides

Carol got to play the role of the tourist with her tour guides. They escorted her to four sites, explained the sites (in English), and answered her questions. She befriended one of the Thai students, Praew. She is the student in front of Carol in the middle picture. In fact, Praew speaks very good English (and Thai!!!). She is a dedicated student that is working very hard to learn English.


The Tour Guides Take Bob on a Trip

Bob went to 5 different sites with his tour guides. They each took turns and introduced a tourist site as well as answered his questions. They had spent the previous night preparing their speeches in English and took the assignment very seriously.

Time to Say Goodbye to the "Little Tour Guides"

Thai students are very appreciative of our efforts. They come up to us and thank us profusely, saying they will never forget us. They also like to take their pictures with us. This is Natsiri (Nat). Nat sent us several pictures that we used (including this one). She is a very smart student who can speak and write English. She wants to travel when she gets older. Kaw hai chok dee! (We wish her good luck). We know that she will be successful.