The Land of Smiles

21 04 2010

As I prepared to make my trip to Thailand I was ready for the hot weather and relaxation. In recent weeks the country of Thailand has been overwhelmed with protests by the local people wanting to hold another election so they can have democracy. I honestly don’t know too much about the situation but it was quite a view once I actually made my way down to the main protest area in Siam Square, Bangkok. I was off to locate one of the electronics market near the Siam Square and I quickly realized that everything was closed. As I walked closer to the electronics market I began to see people wearing red shirts. It was like no sight that I have never seen before. The weather was a grueling 96 degrees and these people were camped out on the sidewalk. I know in the evening time is when the full protest begin. I figured since it was only 2pm, I would be ok. It looked like they were there for hours. Everyone was wearing a red shirt and had a hand noisemaker. I figured that I could make the most out of this situation by snapping some quick photos and be on my way. This area was occupied by “Red Shirts.” I didn’t see a foreigner in sight. I decided to take my camera out slowly and stand by the guard rail and started taking photos. The crowd was calm and they were very loud. Everyone was using their noisemaker and was yelling. I was in Bangkok for one full day and you really could see how the protest affected the city. Everything was closed. Many taxis refused to go near the protest zone. Bangkok’s subway system, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), was on and off with service. The day after I visited Siam square, more than 21 people were killed and hundreds were injured. I was lucky. I decided to spend my time in one of Thailand’s most beautiful cities, Chang Mai. It didn’t have white sand with crystal clear water. It was covered with green lush bamboo trees and forest. I was lucky to be in Thailand for the Songkran festival which starts on April 13-15th. Chang Mai is supposed to be one of the most culturally significant cities in Northern Thailand, according to Wikipedia. We were lucky to celebrate New Years in Vietnam (called Tet), Hong Kong (Chinese New Year) and South Korea (Seollal) this year. Every country has their set of tradition and how to bring in the New Year. In my opinion, I feel that the Thais do it the best! I read that they celebrate by throwing water on you, which brings good luck and washes away evil. I spoke to many Thais while I was there and they all said something different. The most common answer was that Thailand is really hot during New Years and this is they best way to keep cool. I bought that answer and joined in on the festivities. I felt like I was 10 years old being in the streets on Chang Mai. I bought a water gun which was selling for 300 Baht and started washing away evil spirits and spreading good luck for the New Year. The thing about New Year’s in Thailand is that everyone is fair game. No one is excluded from being wet. In the streets on Chang Mai traffic is chaos. People drive up and down with their pick up trucks and there are usually five to six people in the back (all ages) and they have a big bucket of water and they spray water on you or even throw a bucket full of water on you. It’s an all out water fight. The celebration starts from 11am to around 8pm or depending when everyone starts to shiver from being so wet. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get from the celebration. If you happen to be in Thailand during April do yourself a favor and head to Chang Mai.





Why did we choose ‘OurKoreanTeapot?’

15 08 2009

We chose our blog name to be ‘OurKoreanTeapot’ because the journey that we are about to embark on is similar to the process of making tea. First, you have to let the water boil. Next, add the tea leaves. Then, you let the tea simmer. Lastly, you sit back and enjoy the cup of tea.

The process of making tea is similar to how our time in Korea will be over the next year. First, we took the time to research the Korean culture and learned as much as we can. Next, we will travel to Korea with not only a glimpse of knowledge, but also with a thirst for learning about the culture. Then, we will immerse ourselves into the Korean culture by learning their customs and language. Lastly, we will learn to appreciate the culture, people and enjoy every moment and experience.