9 June 2014
Recipe: Breakfast rice and morning Joy
It is true that you learn something new everyday and it is equally true that while you are traveling you learn 100 new things everyday. I swear that sometimes this number jumps above one thousand for me because I am just so curious about everything that is going on.
Today during our transit times between markets, monuments, and about the importance of Buddhist temples and Monks in their society. It was so interesting! Every Thai man is expected to become a monk at some point in his life. It can be for 1 day, 1 month, or a lifetime, it is up to the individual, but every man is expected to undergo the status of a Monk.
I think I have been to more Chinatowns outside of China than exist in China itself. Chinatown Malaysia, Chinatown Singapore, Chinatown Thailand, Chinatown NYC, Chinatown San Francisco, Chinatown Seattle, etc… The things is, you can never go wrong with a cheap eat in Chinatown. It has been fun to compare and contrast the different Chinatowns that we have been to and it will be interesting once we finally go to China, to see how that compares with what we have experienced thus far.
An interesting thing about Thailand is that there are so many cheap and convenient places to eat out on the streets, that most people do not have kitchens or cook in their come. It is easier to just buy the supplies that you need on the streets and eat out of the home. At least from my experience this is what I have observed, something that is quite different than anything I have experienced before.
Tonight was another one of the most memorable experiences I have had yet. We experienced our first lesson with Mui Thai. First off, we purchased boxing shorts in one of the markets we visited. I purchased blue and gold ones with a giant dragon on the front…quite authentic I was told! We hopped in a taxi and headed to the outskirts of western Bangkok to go to a Thai boxing center that Keng said was one of the best in town. When we arrived I was instantly afraid. There were at least a dozen thai boxers in the center, some in the boxing ring, actually fighting. I had watched boxing briefly before on TV, but seeing it in person was way different. When boxers punch and kick, they make these loud noises that make you hurt without being involved in the fight. All of the men were completely ripped and drenched with sweat…and in walk two American girls in Boxing shorts from the market, wanting to have a boxing lesson for the first time. I was a little afraid and a little embarrassed. We finally got up the courage to actually enter the area, and from there on everything was incredible. Although our teachers could not speak English, they taught us better than anyone else could have by simply showing us over and over how to do things right.
We each had our own person trainer for two hours, which was incredible and extremely painful. Thai boxing is something I would like to do when I get home to Provo (along with Yoga, and everything else that I love to try haha)…it would be nice to know an art that allows you defend yourself, especially when you love to travel so much. I am sure that when I go to China I will want to learn Karate, and all those other great martial arts, but for now Thai Boxing is one of the things on the top of my list. I do not have my bucket list with me….because my phone was stolen, but up there near the top of the list is to complete a kick boxing course. Kick boxing is very similar to Thai Boxing …so maybe I will substitute a Mui Thai class for kick boxing (provided they have it in little Provo).
Another thing I forgot to mention, because today was such an eventful day, was that I learned about the art of Thai Chi today as well. As we were walking to the train station and Chinatown this morning, we passed through a park to see the damage the protestors had done just weeks before, and we happened to run into a Thai Chi class going on in the park. Thai Chi is a form of martial arts that they practice in Thailand, similar to Karate or Ti Kwon Do. There was a girl there who has been practicing it for over 5 years, coming to the park every day for 2 hours during that 5 year span. She was beautiful and she was tough. We asked if she could give us a quick 30 minute lesson, and she quickly responded that Thai Chi is something that takes years and years to learn. It is an art that you have to develop inside of you rather than outside of you. It seemed to be to the Thai very similar to what Yoga does for Indians. She did agree to teach us the first lesson of Thai Chi, so for 30 minutes we stood with our feet shoulder width apart, our backs completely straight, and our arms out in front of us like we were holding a large ball. By the end of the 30 minutes I wanted to collapse into a little ball on the ground, and I had a lot more respect for what the girl had been doing for the past five years.
I think more for her laughs then for us, she offered to let me try to fight her for a few minutes. I have never felt or looked so ridiculous in my life and quickly realized that I needed to get back into shape. She had me on the ground, in a headlock, or thrown across her body in a matter of seconds after I tried to push her over. She was solid and no one was ever going to mess with her. Traveling is great because it opens up your mind and eyes to so many new things, but the most important second part of the equation is to implement the lessons that you have learned when you go back to your daily routine. I want to look like a poised lady but be strong and trained in an art of self defense, just as the girl in the park was. Upon returning to BYU I will continue this goal in full with a class….