08 August 2006

Bangkok - 2nd Training Day

This first day of class went well. Dave and I got to the office around 7:45 to set up and check on things. Students arrived on time and were ready to roll at 8:30. I think it was a pretty grueling day for them but everyone seemed to be getting it. ‘Course all the set up, config, and background stuff doesn’t really mean anything to them yet because they don’t really see how it all fits together.

Dave and I talked a bit on the way to the office about class structure and if there’s a better way to put it together. I hope he’ll have some suggestions after he’s seen the whole thing.
We had lunch at the cafeteria. Pong said it was on floor 2 and an elevator load of us trouped off to floor 2 only to find more offices and no one who could tell us (in English) where the cafeteria was…and no one in our group who could speak Thai. We went down to the lobby and tried to ask at the front desk but they didn’t speak English either. Finally, I just mimed eating at him and he pointed to the building next door.

We got there but it wasn’t obvious if/where there was a cafeteria. About that time, Prasert caught up with us and led us around the other side and up the stairs to the cafĂ©.

We had our choice of many Thai foods. I picked a couple, having no clue what they were. It was all good, but mostly way more hot spicy than I like to eat. Dave, Philip and Yaobang took some stuff that looked kind of like pork fried rice without the rice. Apparently, it was very hot. Yaobang (from China) couldn’t eat it at all. Dave ate it sweating and nose running. Philip, (world traveler and adventurous eater) said it was the hottest thing he’d ever tasted.

Jeab brings snacks into class at regular intervals…plates of cashews, rambutans, guava, oranges or other fruit. Longon…not to be confused with the longans already mentioned…are similar to longans except they’re less round, more pear-shaped and the fruit grows stuck directly to a branch (like Brussels sprouts) instead of in a cluster (like grapes). The flesh is similar in taste and texture to longans but comes in sections, like an orange, instead of one solid fruit like the longans. Sometimes there’s a seed in one or more of the fruit sections; sometimes there’s none. The longons have a little more flavor than the longans…they’re both sweet and juicy but the longon flavor is a little more complex.

After class, everyone pretty much went their own way. Philip and some others went straight to an electronics/IT mall, 2 stops past the hotel. Dave and I dropped off stuff at the hotel, changed clothes and went to the Suan Lum night market.

It was like Chatuchak, only for tourists so the aisles were wider, it was well-lit, clean, airy and smelled a lot better. Quality of goods was generally higher as were prices. Still, bargains could be had if you looked.

I saw stone rubbings like I bought at Wat Pho for 400 Baht going for 100 here. They weren’t the exact same images though…the ones I got, I’ve only seen at Wat Pho.

I didn’t buy anything. Dave got a pashmina shawl for his wife and a wooden vase thing.
There was a huge Ferris wheel there. We’d seen it the previous day from the sky train but didn’t know it was part of the market. It makes a handy marker for finding the subway entrance though. There was also a huge beer garden with a band playing and we found some ATMs and a currency exchange. It definitely caters more to tourists than locals.

A sub ride home (28 Baht if you buy a token, 24 if you use the card), then bed.I slept a little better. I woke up around 1:30 again and repeatedly after that but managed to go right back to sleep pretty easily. I had a nasty sinus headache at one point so I took some decongestants and acetaminophen, which helped.