After arriving at the Bangkok airport, after going through customs and exchanging the dollars we brought for baht, we were met at the luggage claims area by several airport staff members to help us with our luggage. When they saw us go up to our luggage with loading carts, they immediately started loading them on and then even helped us wheel them to meet our party. Then they waited around to make sure we didn't need them anymore. This is compared to the airport in D.C., where, when I went to get a large loading cart for our luggage, a man ran over and asked me in broken English if I wanted help. When I said no, he glared at me and growled, "No, you no use," and took the cart away from me. Yeah.
At the airport, we also met three other new teachers and their families. We're from all over the U.S. - us from the D.C. area, one from Alaska, another from Washington state, and another from Oregon. Our luggage was then loaded onto two big vans and brought to the hotel in Bangkok, where the school has put us for the next five days while we find housing and settle in. The hotel actually consists of apartments rather than rooms. Our apartment has one big bedroom, a living room area, dining room, and a small kitchen that is equipped with cooking and eating utensils, cups, plates, pots and pans, and a water boiling machine (we're not supposed to drink the faucet water here). Some teachers actually just settle in here for the year instead of a condo or a house.
Our apartment also has a balcony, where I went this morning to check out our surroundings. The weather here is already quite warm at 7:30 in the morning, though it doesn't seem like it'll be any worse than the heat and humidity that we have been experiencing in the D.C. area in the last week. I heard motorcycle engines, dogs barking, and roosters crowing, which reminded me fondly of home because one of our neighbors had a rooster and another raised chickens. Below our balcony is a house. Seems like the area is what we would call a "mix-use area."
Today, we will have some time to ourselves to explore and rest. Today is a Buddhist holiday, so we've been told the streets will be especially busy and crowded. I'm looking forward to walking around, soaking up our surroundings, eating some authentic Thai food, and interacting with the locals!
Here are some pics from our time here so far:
|Dining room in our hotel apartment, with a welcome basket of snacks.|
|Living room as seen from the dining room.|
|A bag of potato chips labeled in Thai. A great late-night snack!|
|The view to the right from our balcony.|
|The view directly below our balcony.|