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where in the world is steph.... Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? -- Mary Oliver

the streets

THAILAND | Wednesday, 14 February 2007 | Views [728] | Comments [1]

săwngthăew at night

săwngthăew at night

Ah. A week has gone by since I finished my course. I wish that I had tales of elephants, villages, jungle or even rafting to share; but alas I don’t.  Last Wednesday I finished my TESOL certification course. It was such a relief to finish the course, but a bit scary too, with thoughts of finding a job and a place to live all of a sudden thrust into the fore front of my priorities. One of those stresses was quickly resolved as I was offered a potential position at AUA in Chiang Mai for the summer session.  I was extremely flattered by the proposition, I know that I was the only one in the class who received it. This is a great opportunity to get some teaching experience and my foot in the door at AUA. AUA has campuses all over Thailand, so there are plenty of teaching opportunities with them. The great thing about having some time between the course I finished and teaching is that I will be able to sit in on other classes starting next week. It was a really great way to end the course.

            For our graduation dinner, we went out to an Italian restaurant. There was one or two who were disappointed that we didn’t go to a Thai restaurant; however, I think most of us were thrilled to have something different. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Thai food, and there are plenty of dishes I love, but a little variety is always nice. I just thought it was funny because the same time last year I was thinking, anything but Italian!!! I would have killed for good Thai food after the Olympics were over.  The best part of the meal was feta, olives, and red wine! I forgot how much I really enjoy those three things.

Since the dinner, I have run into various classmates here and there, have gone to dinner, and had a few drinks, talking about future plans. The day after we finished, three of us went to a Thai massage school to be guinea pigs for some students there. What that meant was a free two hour Thai massage. The timing could not have been more perfect.  Thai massage is very different than oil massages; they are done on top of the clothes and really focus on energy lines and stretching. I had my body contorted into positions I never imagined possible before. It was quite relaxing, and I really enjoyed it.

Afterwards, I was crossing the street near my guest house during rush hour. A task that when I first arrived I found quite daunting, but now something I do without much thought. The traffic was completely stopped going one direction, so I crossed in between the cars and motorcycles and stood on the center line. Looking both directions (first right, not that anyone should be coming from that direction, and then left) I stepped out into the other lane taking several steps. Out of the blue I felt my right arm thrust to one side and heard a loud crunch before I realized that I was being hit by a motorbike with two girls on it, going the wrong way down this major road a rush hour. The girls both screamed and continued on. Silently I stood in the middle of the lane, looking at my right arm, my left wrist, my right foot, and then the small bag of groceries that I had been carrying. The shock quickly wore off, and I watched the girls speed away, merging into the correct lane of traffic and turning the corner. I suddenly realized that I was still standing in the middle of the street and that soon a wall of traffic would be headed my way, it was really time to get out of the middle of the road. I briskly walked to the side of the road (of course there was not a sidewalk), and looked again at my yogurt which I believed got the brunt of the assault. Dented, but intact the yogurt and myself appeared to have survived the incident. I continued on to the corner and just as I approached, the traffic cop stationed on the corner peered around to see what the commotion was all about. As his effort was extremely belated, he stared at an empty lane in one direction, and a lane full of vehicles still at a complete standstill in the other. A perplexed look crossed his face, as he threw a quick glance my direction before going back to his post, placing his whistle in his mouth. I was grateful for the outcome of such an experienced, but found it hard not to be slightly outraged as well.  I couldn’t believe that the girls just continued on, and that all of those good feelings I had from the massage had so quickly been undone. At first I chastised myself for putting myself in a position for something like that to happen. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really couldn’t have avoided it. There are no crosswalks in the area (and my experience cars speed up at crosswalk lights not slow down), and I did look both ways before I stepped out of the street. 

I have seen more traffic accidents since I have arrived in Chiang Mai. Fortunately they have all been minor, although I hear of people who aren’t quite so lucky every day. Usually incidents don’t involve pedestrians, maybe that is due to the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks- discourages people from walking. I think riding a motorbike would be more dangerous though; so in spite of my encounter, I trudge on. Just ever so slightly on edge every time I have to step out into traffic.

Tags: On the Road



Your mom finally sent this to me. She was asking if I kept up with your messages and I told her I didn't have the link. She read her message and saw that I wasn't on your list.

Since we still talk every day when she's away, you must have figured I'd get this information anyway. Actually, hearing it second hand doesn't give me a chance to see your pictures. You are now bookmarked on my computer so I can check your site occasionally.

Glad things are looking up for you for getting into a teaching job. Keep watching out for crazy drivers!


  Bill Tremblay Feb 22, 2007 4:29 PM

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