Hello and happy Halloween! Most people don’t celebrate Halloween in Thailand, but today was plenty spooky as we had a Thai reading fluency test. Anyways, here is what I’ve been up to during my ninth week in Thailand!
I had a pretty mellow weekend. On Friday we didn’t have an outing because we had to go to Thai immigration as part of the process with our student visas. I had a relaxing morning sleeping in and hanging out at a cafe before we went to immigration. The immigration office didn’t take as long as expected so before dinner I went to the gym. In the evening we explored a few bars in the old city and by the end of the night ended up at an open-mic. On Saturday, I got to sleep in yet again- I hardly get to do that here! Then I went to a pool at a hotel and hung out in Old City again with a few friends. It was great! I ate some vegan pizza and went to the Saturday night market for the first time. We went to bed pretty early because we had plans to go zip-lining the next day!
We went zippling with a company based in Chiang Mai called Flight of the Gibbon. To be honest, we chose this place because they had a great student discount, but it ended up being a great place for us to go! They picked us up from our dorm around 9 am, and then it was about an hour drive to their location. Once there, we signed forms, got into our helmets and harnesses, and had a few lessons. Then we went on a short hike to the first platform. The first zip line was described as “one of the longest ziplines in Southeast Asia” – it was really cool. Along with being super long, the zipline was really high and gave a great view of the jungle. Over all, we did 12 ziplines that morning. Some of them were designed to be fast and there were a few ziplines we could go on with a partner. The surroundings were incredibly beautiful – I only brought my cheap little digital camera and the photos definitely don’t do it justice. When we finished all the lines, we repelled down from the platform and onto the ground. Once back at their headquarters, they provided us a lunch – rice with a bunch of small side dishes we got to share. Before heading back to the dorms, they stopped at a popular waterfall nearby, Maekamnong Waterfall. This was a beautiful waterfall and a fun bonus as we didn’t realize the waterfall stop was included in our student discount. Once back at the dorms, I spent the rest of the day working on school work. It was a good weekend!
The rest of the week was pretty routine. Thai class has been going well. The range of things I’m able to speak about just keeps getting wider and wider. As I mentioned earlier, we had a Thai reading test on Thursday, so I spent a lot of time practicing reading outside of class. Thai has a lot of symbols to memorize (around 44) and a lot of the words are very similar. Luckily, I think I did okay! Aside from Thai class, my other classes are fine. This is the last week in the block before our next village stay so we were wrapping up our units. After classes, I haven’t been up to much, just went to the gym a few times and have been studying lots. Thursday was Halloween – on a whim, we decided to meet up with other American students in ISDSI programs for games and candy as a little Halloween party. It was fun! Some of my friends whipped together some costumes – three of us went as Alvin and the Chipmunks (I was Simon).
Ziplining was a big highlight this week. I had been ziplining before in a place nearby where I live in Oregon, but this was totally different. I loved seeing the jungle up close – there so many huge, beautiful trees, colorful flowers, and cool fungi. We’ve done some hiking in the jungle by now but this gave me a whole other perspective. Also, it was just a fun change in pace in what I normally do.
This weekend we are going to visit Chiang Rai, another well known city in Northern Thailand, and then for week 10, I will be at my next homestay in a village! Due to lack of service, my post for this week won’t be on Thursday, but sometime early the following week. Thank you for reading! As always, be sure to check out my photos page here!