Katie is having technical difficulties

10:16 AM at 10:16 AM

So Katie was going to blog for the first (maybe second) time ever about her trip to Thailand. Unfortunately, given that what she was trying to do was all in Thai, she couldn't get blogger to work and sent her update out as an email instead. I'm not exactly sure if anyone who may read this wasn't on that list...but if so, enjoy!

The Flight
The flight was...long. Thanks to the pharmaceutical powers of Ambien though, I got about 6.5 hours of sleep on the 14 hour flight from San Fransisco to Taipei. It's odd waking up on a flight and being like, wow, I slept forever...8 more hours to go. Thanks to Gary though, I was in business class, so I don't have a ton to complain about. China Air was pretty nice and the flight was totally uneventful. Read, watched movies, ate semi-good food, drank champagne (but of course!!)
We arrived around noon, did a little bit of exploring around our hotel, which in basically a Bangkok suburb called Nonthanburi (about a 40 minute cab ride in traffic to downtown Bangkok.) Speaking of cabs, the experience feels life threatening every time I get in one, but I haven't even seen a single traffic accident. Cabbies (and everyone) just race aroun d here, and we get where we're going. Cabs are SO CHEAP. A 45 minutes ride has been around 150 baht, or 3 dollars, for 5 people.
The hotel is like, maybe 2 stars at best, but it's clean and will do the trick for awhile. It's weird getting used to a twin bed and no fluffy comforter though.
Day 1 aka "It's SO HOT HERE"
Although it's technically between the "cold season" and "hot season" the difference in temperature between here and Utah February was a bit of a shock to the system.
Most of the group had arrived at 2 in the morning, but thanks to the time change, everyone was up and ready to go by about 8. We took a river boat into town-it's basically like a bus system here-and went to two more tourist attractions. We visited two Wats, or Buddhist temples. The first was The temple of the emerald buddha, at the Grand Palace, which is a historical residence of the royal family. Very impressive and beautiful, but also VERY crowed since it was a Sunday. The second was the temple of the reclining buddha, which has a LARGE Buddha, and was also amzing. There will be pictures to substantiate this.
We then poked around, had what seemed like the best popsicle ever, and went back to the hotel for a quick nap before dinner at our Thai host's home, which was the most delicious homemade thai food you can imagine, and was a huge feast. She also had Thai dancers to entertain us.
Day 2-class begins
Monday began with being awoken very early to the sound of loud Thai pop music outside the hotel, which turned out to be a aerobics type class. Not cool. Ghazal, my roommate, has lent me some ear plugs now.
We then had a half day lecture on the structure of the Thai government's health programs, which provide universal care, and focus on health promotion. It's an interesting system.
Then, with all our free time, we headed to downtown Bangkok. We visited some malls, bought some DVDs (lets just say they don't seem entirely legal) and then headed back, so that we could get ready to hit the club.
We went to a fun cocktail bar and then a club in a club district called RCA. All the clubs are in RCA, and we went to one called Slim, which was running a promotion for 2 bottle of johnny walker black label for 2000 baht-and that included full table service. The Thais LOVE whiskey. I think we can thank the Vietnam War for that from what I understand. Very fun-and cheap. I spent 500 baht, about 15 dollars, for the evening-at a very nice club. It's affordable here, to say the least
Day 3-Class for real
We spent all day visiting a women's hospital and then having a lecture at the department of public health on basically women's services. Very interesting, and the public hospitals seem somewhat primitive to me as an American. BU they clearly provide good service.
We had a pretty mellow night since some people, not me (for real!), had consumed a bit too much the night before. Ghazal whacked her head pretty hard in the pool and had a serious goose egg-makes a good story :) So we played some Uno (the longest game ever, in fact) and hit the hay
Day 4
The morning started with a great lecture at the children's hospital on dengue fever, and included a tour. They certainly have no patient privacy laws here. We then had a lecture at the Thai FDA that was nearly impossible to understand. However, their English is clearly better than my thai (I have 2 phrases!)
Most of us went bowling at the alleys in the mall across from our hotel-very nice mall, nice alleys, which was real fun. They played Brittney Spears and Backstreet Boys ALL NIGHT which made me laugh.
Day 5
Can you tell I'm running out of energy on this email? I bet you are too.
We visited a Dengure Fever research lab today, and MAN those mosquitoes they test are HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE. I wore an insect shield shirt and was very glad I did.
And more lectures on malaria and dengue, and now here I am, getting ready for the evening.
I hope all is well with everyone. Please email me or feel free to call me.
I'm having a great time so far and seem adjusted to the time change as of now.

Miss you and love you all!
Katie