More Updates from Katie!

7:08 AM at 7:08 AM

Hi all!

Here's another for your reading (if you desire) pleasure! It was great to hear all your updates too.

Where we left off...Friday

Again, Friday was a very interesting day at lecture. We spent the morning discussing the efforts to develop an HIV vaccine in Thailand, and then Thailand's experience with the Avian Flu. They served us lunch, as always and it was a delicious Tom Yum Gai (soup.) As a side note, we're being served at least lunch and two snacks daily. Our hosts at every site are incredibly hospitable, and lunch is usually something Thai, and then coffee (instant! which I'm getting used to) and a snack. Some of the snacks are a little foreign, but the effort is appreciated. However,lunch's deliciousness was slightly dampened by the parasite lecture that followed...which was GROSS. You do NOT want intestinal parasites.
Let's just say it made everyone a little paranoid abut some of the street foods we've been sampling. I know some people have been interesting in hearing about the food, and it's all been fabulous.One of the PA students here with us, from the University of Colorado, was actually raised in Thailand and speaks Thai, so has been helping navigate food choices. It's very helpful. Serving sizes are actually a reasonable size here, and I've had things ranging from the VERY VERY spicy to pretty tame.

After lecture, we headed to Hua Hin, a beach town about 200 km away from Bangkok for the weekend. This was a nice hotel, much improved from the Bangkok hotel, and was a nice change of pace. After arrival, we did a quick change and had dinner-which seemed expensive but still was very reasonable :) I had Paenang curry, which I know many of you know I'm obsessed with-and it was better than I could've hoped for.

We hit the town, but it's pretty mellow, with many many many many older German tourists, so we were some of the only people dancing at the bar we went to. We strolled around town, again, with many many German tourists, and then took a walk on the beach and crashed, pretty late

Saturday, or "The day Katie learns just how close we are to the equator"

Saturday was just what I had been needing...a free beach day! After a breakfast at our hotel, I and several of the other girls took the 20 foot stroll to the beach, paid for some chairs, and immediately began just chilling.

Or, baking, as it turned out. Let's just say the sun is intense here and my back can prove that to you.
I had a pedicure on the beach that maybe wasn't the most sterile thing ever, and I have beautiful toes and hope I don't live to regret it. I refused scraping, don't worry :)
Mango and a beer in the sun for lunch...a great day all around.

Then, as a large group, our Thai hostess, Noi, arranged for dinner at a beach restaurant. I wasn't prepared for just how beautiful it would be, but it was phenomenal, and the food was VERY fresh and delicious seafood and Thai specialities.

We headed back to the hotel for a swim in the ocean to see phosphorescence, algae that glows when you disrupt the water and make it seem as if you were swimming in fairy dust.


Sunday we spent a couple of hours on the beach (erm...mostly in the shade this time for me) and then headed to Brandon, the aforementioned PA student's grandmother's house, which is in the same town. It was absolutely beautiful, she was a wonderful hostess, and we had a great day just swimming around in their pool before heading back to Bangkok for the week. The ride was quite uneventful in our lovely vans we're carted around in-they have surround sound and DVD players, so it made the 4ish hour drive pass quickly.!

We visited a Chinese traditional medicine hospital and learned about the theories before traditional eastern medicine practices, and saw some people getting acupuncture and cupping, which was very cool to see.

In the afternoon, we visited the biggest slum in Bangkok, called the Khlong Toei Slum, that's home to almost 200,000 people. We visited the foundation that works as advocates for the impoverished of Bangkok, and also is involved in efforts to help those effected by the 2004 tsunami. We walked through the streets of the slum, which was somewhat shocking in ways-although not necessarily as bad as you might think. However, it did make us feel bad about complaining about our hotel.

Then, about half of us took a very speedy elevator to the 83rd floor of the tallest building in Thailand, a hotel called Baiyoke Sky Tower. We had a cocktail (included with elevator price) and took in the view

You could see the whole city from the top, and it was a neat experience.

This is our last real week in Bangkok; we head to the north on Saturday.

Hope all is well! Photos to come soon I swear-for those of you on facebook, there may be some tagged of me you can check out that others have put up.

Love you