The Bangkok airport is only about 5 years old and very modern. We were greeted by the PC staff and given beautiful leis. I checked my emotions as I did not want to be overly emotional which is about how I was feeling. Thai’s do not show their emotions. My adrenalin was pumping, I think from excitement and anxiety. I was surprised as we stepped outside to a pleasant breeze. It was about 70 degrees and felt wonderful – it is winter. The province we are in has a big city with lots of traffic. I am glad PCTs do not drive! The air quality is pretty poor with a smoggy haze. I imagine the rainy season will help in about 8 weeks. The rural areas have very diverse housing from older more traditional to new and very modern and many beautiful Wats, Thai temples. Wats are an active part of the community. Bike riding is fun but challenging, giving the opportunity to explore off the highways. People are friendly and mostly laugh at my Thai. They are very curious where we are from.
PC training is very intense and the Thai and American teachers excellent. The pace is a killer with no time to incorporate new learning before the next topic starts or study on our own. I think too much is expected too quickly. I am impressed with the trainees also. There is no stereotypical Peace Corps Trainee (PCT). The commonality seems to be a sense of adventure, commitment to international service and the feeling that something was missing in their life back home. Many have already traveled extensively. Other than that, there is a wide variety of ages, races, personalities and abilities. It is a great group I am happy to be a part.