In no particular order, here are some things we learned on our travels through Thailand...
|My papaya fruit shake waits while I play the piano at a breakfast place.|
2. Prices are cheap. There is no need to pay over $50 per night for a hotel (even $20 gets you something decent), and you can get an awesome meal for under $5.
3. You are expected to bargain for almost everything you buy. We heard to start at about 30% of the original asking price. Walking away sometimes gets them to lower their prices even when it seems they won't budge. I also learned to play vendors against one another ("that guy said he'd give it to me for 150 Baht").
4. The currency is Baht, and it's about $3 for every 100 Baht. It's cheaper to change your money over there rather than here.
5. In some areas of Thailand, stray dogs run around everywhere. In other areas (Koh Phi Phi), there are stray cats. Go figure.
|Pad thai with a Chang beer-Zack's perfect Thai meal!|
7. It is hot in July, and you sweat constantly. The water is nice and warm. Rain might come through for a bit, but it doesn't last long, and it usually feels good.
|Just a small sampling of the scooters near Patong Beach.|
8. Lane lines on the street mean nothing. Everyone seems to own a scooter or motorcycle, and I don't know how more people don't get killed on the roads every day.
|Oh, how I wish I hadn't lost my other market pictures!|
10. Because tourism is a huge industry, learning English seems to be the biggest asset to Thai people looking to earn higher paying jobs. Most Thais know a few key phrases, but the ones who are more fluent seem to work in fancy hotels and resorts.
11. We learned to say "thank you," which is "kob kun krab" for men and "kob kun kaa" for women and "hello/goodbye" which is "sa wat dee khrap" (men) and "sa wat dee kha" (women).
|Fire dancers outside a bar in Chiang Mai.|
13. The drinks of choice are a Chang beer or a bucket of mixed alcohol. These are best accompanied with watching fire dancers along the beach at night.
|See the sand crab?|
15. There are little clear/white sand crabs on the beach if you look closely. They tend to scurry away from you quickly though, so they aren't a bother.
|Durians for sale along the streets of Phuket.|
17. Thailand is a land that has been devastated by tsunamis. While lots of rebuilding has occurred, you find evacuation route signs posted everywhere.
|A nice greeting in Railay Beach, Krabi!|
|Zack looks so big in this picture!|
20. Thailand is a photographer's dream, as long as your camera's memory card doesn't get destroyed. (No, I will never get over losing some of my pictures, but I promise to finally stop talking about it now!)
Goodbye Thailand; we hope to be back some day!