Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sriracha Zoo

Saturday after troy got to sleep in a little bit we were off to the Sriracha Zoo. This was the first time I "got" to use the Thailand map (which is not in English). I have to say I think I did pretty well. We got there without one wrong turn! Mark that down in the record books. Once we got to the Sriracha Tiger Zoo we were on a dead run to see all of the shows. First we saw the Elephant show. The elephants played basketball, walked on tightropes, used a hula hoop, did some dancing, walked like humans, and gave a girl audience member a massage, and a boy audience member a "massage". It was really entertaining. We also feed the elephants. If you wanted to tip the elephant for doing a good job they would take the money with their trunk and hand it to the trainer then bow. The cool thing was that they could actually tell between the bananas and the money so they never ate any cash! We tested this! Next we were off to the Crocodile Show. Here they put their heads into the crocs mouth, which was neat. Otherwise the crocodiles don't do many tricks besides opening and closing their mouth. Next we were off to the Circus show which is like every other tiger circus shows you will ever see. The tigers jumped through hopes, over each other and then the always nail biting jumping at the trainer "oh my he must be scared!" Then for the finally of shows we saw some pigs doing math calculations and then the finally of a pig race. The math part made you think some because the audience got to pick whatever we wanted to the pig to answer in +, -. /. No multiplication though. They always got the correct answer, I never could figure that trick out. Oh yeah there was this scorpion queen there. She just stands there but with hundreds of scorpions on here body, it was a little freaky- didn't take a picture of her because i didn't want to startle the scorpions!

After we saw all the shows we walked around to see all the animals. We got to see some newborn baby cubs, iguanas, camels, snakes (not Troy's favorite part), elephants, while spotted dear, crocodiles, the "happy family" and of course many tigers. They had two educational centers there that taught about how they breed the crocodiles. Here is a useful fact for all you nerds, did you know that you could produce girl or boy crocs merely but the set room temperature! So the egg is neutral until you pick a temperature. So if the temp is less than 20 or greater than 32 degree (Celsius here) it's a boy and if its 21-31 degrees in the room it's a girl. Strange huh! Then there was my favorite part the tiger education center. Here is another random fact for you. They let pigs do the nursing to the tiger cubs because that makes the tigers tamer and it increases the size of the cub faster. They also have the cubs play with pigs and golden retrievers to increase their tameness. You can actually play with the baby tigers. So now I can say I actually have been bitten by a tiger (it was maybe a 40lb one though). They paws were as big as my hand; we obviously took a couple pictures with the little guy. And then there was the orangutans! They were so cute, both could ride tricycles. One even gave me a ride; it probably was a future scam, notice how it's "accidentally chewing" on my ring! LOL

Friday, September 29, 2006

The first week

This week has been very rejuvenating! My life consisted of waking up for my free breakfast, which is wonderful. I have tried more fruits this week than ever in my life. I am still trying to figure out what they all are and how to eat them! I usually got on to the computer by 8:30am so that I could IM on MSN Messenger with anyone wanting to talk. Then I had many options- I could shop, read, explore, lay by the pool, watch movies or go to the spa. Those are some of the things I did this week at least. Troy gets home between 6-10pm. So I have lots of time to myself. David, Greg, Troy and I all went and got foot massages after work. I have learned that there are two types of massages really. There is a regular massage and then there is one with a "happy ending" as they call it. The regular ones are incredible cheap here, I spent $6/hr and that includes a tip. And these women are good at massages!
For lunch the hotel has free lite meals with fruit, sandwiches and deserts. For dinner they have a free "dinners from around the world", which means they pick a country the serve food from there. So meals are pretty easy for me to find! If troy gets home late we all go out to eat. We are about three blocks from "walking street". It's a street made famous by the Vietnam Conflict. All the soldiers would come to Pattaya for their R&R. That's really how this city got started. They have an amazingly high amount of "working girls" here. The go-go bar is where you can pick and choice the one you want. So for all those who want to know how it works here you go...

So you go into one of these Go-Go bars and it has tables that all the girls are standing on. I would like to say they are dancing but its more a swaying or jiggle that they do. Since in Thailand nudity is forbidden (and that is a very unenforced law!) the girls where clothes. Imagine a 6 year old's skirt and shirt on a 100lb Asian person. They do not wear bras or underwear with the clothing, now remember they are up on tables so you can see everything anyway. The shirts are usually a button down shirt with one button actually working. Now that you have a mental picture this is how it works. The girls come up to talk to you and its polite to offer them a drink. Now its never one girl but usually 5-10 girls. A drink is about $1.50 each so it's not really expensive to buy one for each girl. If you find one you are interested in you can take them home (or whereever) for the price of a bar fine (600 baht=$15/per girl). Now that's just the price to get them to leave with you. You and the girl determine a price for the activities you would like preformed. Now since I haven't actually went so far to see what activity costs how much you are free to imagine, but I can tell you it's a lot less that you would ever think (that's what I am told). Now I personally would never partake in these prostitution events but part of me was thinking....for $15/night I could have them clean/laundry/etc. and I guess i could have her do it topless so my husband would pay for it!
They have a variety of bars. This explanation is just the Go-Go bars. I was told about a BJ bar, where the men just sit down at a table with this curtain around the table and they get a BJ while sitting there. This is weirder to me because you don't get to see who did the BJ when its time to pay them, my thought is how do you know if its not an 80 woman without teeth or a woman at all? They also have these "shows" which have a variety of acts that include girls "hiding" objects, or shooting objects, or even catching objects with their nether regions. I haven't seen one yet, but I am sure I will have a more detailed story of one of these shows before I leave.
Everyone here is Khun _____. So if you name is paul. You would be addresses as Khun Paul. This goes for boys and girls.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Driving in Thailand

Driving in Thailand... Besides the steering wheels being on the wrong side of the car, and you should be driving on the left of the road, there are some other tricks to driving in Thailand. For anyone who may be thinking of visiting, here are some simple "rules" of the road.

1.) Roads are for pedestrians/animals, and anything with wheels.

-Expect to find cars, trucks, buses, taxis, dogs, bicycles, wheelchairs, vendors, elephants, and worst of all, motor scooters on the road. These can be in either lane (see rule #2), going in any direction (see rule #3). Pedestrians are allowed to enter traffic at any time as long as they put their arm out and signal that you are supposed to stop. Dogs they just go and hope the other people on the street stop or only lightly graze them.

2.) Lanes, signs, and signals, are only there as mere suggestions not rules.

-Red lights, stop signs, one way signs, yield signs, no U-turn signs, and lane lines are all optional. While some people think that two lanes means two cars sit next to each other in traffic. Here, people feel there is enough room for two cars, a taxi or Baht Bus (See rule #4), 12 motor scooters, 2 bikes, and a lady driving her flaming grill and selling squid. And if traffic is actually stopped then there are also the random dogs that try to make a run for it and the people walking kindly to your car to sell you stuff so you don't have to get out of the car to shop. What a life saver! If you have a car, those side-view mirrors will be pressed against the car, as they take up room that could be used for another motor scooter.

3.) Any vehicle with wheels will go any direction at any time.

-Most common occurrences involve one way streets. There is an unwritten rule that you are allowed to go backwards on a "one way" if you are only going a little ways (less than 10 km), or it would be more convenient than going around the block. Buses can take up four lanes if they need to turn, and vehicles will turn any direction, from either lane, and so will anyone who realizes they may miss their turn.

4.) Baht buses will take the right of way.

- A Baht bus is a nickname for a taxi consisting of a pickup truck with two benches in the back end. The bus will circle the downtown, and it is 10 baht (about 25 cents) to ride on the bench for as long as you need to get where you are going. If you want them to stop you hit their buzzer and they stop no matter where they are at in the street and you jump off the back.

If pedestrians are in sight, the bus will speed up to them, then slow down and travel next to them, honking to make sure the person on foot knows that they could get ride if they desired. If the person shakes the bus off, they will speed up to the next set of pedestrians or, if a rider wants off, they will stop to collect their money. They do not have mirrors, and will run anything over to get to the next pedestrian.

5.) Parking is allowed anywhere, at any time, as long as you turn on your hazards.

-This includes the fast lane, slow lane, sidewalk, other driveways, facing backwards, or behind other cars in the parking lots. In parking garages, triple or quadruple parking is fine, but you must leave your car in neutral so when the trapped car needs to get out, they can push you someplace else. Also, do not expect your car to be where you left it. Since you need to leave your car in neutral, it will be pushed to whichever corner is most convenient. Imagine Tetrus with cars!

With no speed limits enforced, the traffic can go from 150 km/hr to stopped because someone is buying a flower from the vendor in the middle of the road. Apparently flower vendors have little to live for here. In short, I recommend driving in Thailand, as it will make you appreciate that boring commute to work a little more.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And so it begins

My new life...At
least that's what it seems like. Today I officially became a world traveler. Troy
and I left on a flight from Chicago to Bangkok on Friday afternoon. The
ride was very long; we spent 20hrs in the plane. Luckily for us that
UOP puts us in business class for all flights over 12hrs. Business class
was awesome! I felt like I just laid around in bed all day. The seats
were so big I could sit cross-legged in them. It was a big recliner; I
couldn't even kick the seat in front of me. Since the recliner part
included my legs to go up it really was like being in bed all day. I
watched three movies and my first 6 episodes of House (thanks Mandy!).
It really made the time fly by. Plus we got meals every 3-4hrs and all
the snacks and drinks we wanted. They provide all the business class
with these little gift bags that have an eye pillow, booties,
toothbrush, toothpaste, Kleenex, lotion and ear plugs in them. So we
had pretty much everything we could have needed. I also brought my
computer and movies to watch, play station portable, magnetic chess,
and cards. So we just played and watched movies all day. My best bring
was my new iGO which I would recommend to anyone wanting to fly long
distances. An iGO is an adapter for all of your electronic stuff. It
has AC/DC/Empower adapters; our flight was Empower so I was able to run
my computer off of that the entire time. No worries about batteries. We
landed in Bangkok, Thailand at 12am on Sunday morning. Then we met up
with Mike, another UOP person. We all loaded up in a van and drove to
Rayong. Our hotel was very nice. It has some odd things in it. You have
to push a button in the bathroom and then wait 45 minutes for the hot
water. You can't drink water out of the faucets so we have bottled
water. And all of the door entryways are either elevated or dropped,
this prevents you from stepping on the entry way- it's a sacred thing
here. I hope to find out why sometime.