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Work sucks a little less today. I’m still not really sure exactly what I’m supposed be doing, but someone dropped by my office today to ask for my help with the Canadian Food and Wine Promotion next week. A bunch of Canadian “celebs” that are known in Thailand are going to be sampling Canadian wine and food, and I have to give them all place cards and stand at the Welcome table. All morning I’ve been working on making little maps of Canada to use as place cards. At least I have a project to do.

It’s funny, when I was in Victoria a few weeks ago, I came across my report card from grade one or something. One of the comments from the teacher talked about how I worked really hard, but that I’m a perfectionist, and sometimes my work takes too long because I’m focused on the details. Some things never change.

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First day at work = so boring. SO boring! I had nothing to be worried about.

Gave my iPhone to the security guards, put my purse through a scanner, walked through a metal detector. Sat on a very nice stripey couch. Waited. Shook hands with my new boss (Azra). Was introduced to like 15 people who work in the office (I think I remember 3 names).

I have my own office. It’s also the storage space, so there are a bunch of cardboard boxes beside my desk. I have a name tag on my desk though! Very professional.

I was given a stack of documents to read, and was told to look through the files on the hard drive to see what previous interns have done.

Learned some neat stuff:

1. BUFFALO are like, the number 4 most exported meat from Thailand. Which means that somewhere in this country, buffalo are roaming around. Wtf, right? I thought they only existed in North America.

2. During the Khmer Rouge regime* in Cambodia, money was abolished. Cambodia essentially had no currency for 5 years. In 1979, when the regime came to an end, money (riel) was re-printed and literally GIVEN away to what remained of the population of Cambodia. The riel never really became popular though, and to this day, Cambodian people still prefer to use US dollars. (When I was in Cambodia, I thought people wanted me to use US dollars because I was a tourist, but nope. It’s literally just the normal currency.)

3. Cassettes are still hip in Thailand, and only 11.3% of the population has CD players

Spent the entire day in my office reading. Mostly documents about how to do business in Thailand, finances, the economy, blah blah. I don’t understand half of it. Luckily I brought Economics for Dummies with me.

Was given a Blackberry to use “for work”. It’s so ancient that it’s held together with scotch tape and the scroll button hardly works. Plus I have absolutely no idea how to use it.

Also got a swipe card to get in and out of the building. Went to the bathroom down the hall thinking that the swipe card would open the door to let me back in. It doesn’t. Got locked in the hallway and had to knock until a little Thai girl (who only ever speaks French to me) came to my rescue. Went to someone’s office to get the hallway code. He laughed at me, “I hear you got lost in the black hole. Be careful! We’ve lost a lot of interns in there.” Oopsie.

I get to speak French at work every now and then, which is cool. I can take my lunch break whenever I want (I ate deep fries bananas and a guava), and I finish work at 1 on Fridays. There are positives to this job, but I definitely don’t think it’s something I would ever want to do for a living.

*At some point, I’ll write a post about the Khmer Rouge regime, but essentially, Cambodian Hitler came into power (his name was Pol Pot), and his regime tortured and killed ONE QUARTER of the population of Cambodia. That’s MILLIONS of people, and he especially targeted the well-educated. If you go to Cambodia now, it’s very very rare to see anyone over the age of 40 (unless they’re a farmer), because so, so, so many people were murdered.

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If you’re at all interested in what’s going on in Thailand (or yenno, if you’re like me, and you just arrived in Bangkok and have no fucking clue who Yingluck Shinawatra is, or why the military is in control of the government right now), I found a pretty good article that explains everything in simple terms:

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2014/03/17/thailands-rice-subsidy-scheme-rotting-away/

and this one is alright for explaining the aftermath:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304479704579578713738586326

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Side note, ladyboys are EVERYWHERE. And it is completely acceptable and normal. I love it.

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Yesterday after a massive nap, I sent a message to one of the interns at the Belgian Embassy in Thailand, and asked where he had found an apartment. He said “Amana Sathorn”, which is in the business district, and only a short subway ride away from my work.

After attempting to barter with a couple of tuktuk drivers (and failing spectacularly), I found a pink taxi driver who was willing to take me across town to the apartment building for 200 baht (about $7).

Finding this place was quite an ordeal. After driving around in circles for a while, the driver asked me if I had a phone number for the place. I did, but since my iPhone doesn’t work here and I don’t speak Thai, he had to call. His phone was out of credit, so we had to pull over while he added some more. We drove around in more circles, and then finally he said, “I’m so sorry, I can’t find it. Not far, but you need motorbike.”

He then called out something in Thai to a guy on a scooter, and apologized again. I got on the back of this random dude’s scooter (no helmet of course), and found myself flying through the streets of Bangkok, holding onto this complete stranger’s shoulders.

After going the wrong way a couple of times, and asking several people for directions, we finally arrived at Amana Sathorn apartment.

I checked it out, it looked clean and safe, and it was very very cheap. I took it without even looking at another place.

I’m there right now, pretty much done unpacking (gotta buy some coat hangers and organize the overcrowded bathroom sink area, but I’m getting there).

There are two Belgians living in the building who I’m very excited to make friends with, and my roommate will be arriving on the 16th. The neighbourhood seems cool, kind of a cross between downtown Vancouver and the backstreets of Siem Reap. Can’t wait to explore.

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Whoa, what. I’m so tired I can’t even. I just can’t. So jetlag.

Plane ride(s) here were great. With a little help from my friend Lorazepam, I slept right through Vancouver-Tokyo and Tokyo-Bangkok.

Arrived in Bangkok at 5am and taxied to Khao San Road (backpacker central). My sister told me NOT to book a hostel beforehand because it would be super easy and way cheaper to show up in person. Wandered the street for a bit, checked out a couple hostels (too smokey, too expensive). Tired of lugging my suitcase, I walked up to the only white guy I could see on the street:

Me: “Hey! Where are YOU staying?”
Guy (name turns out to be Kyle): “Well actually, I was supposed to go to Cambodia at 1am this morning, but my driver never showed up. I tried to check back into my hostel, but they said they were fully booked. So I’ve been sitting outside in this chair for five hours.”
Me: “Oh. Do you know of anywhere around here I can stay?”
Kyle: “I’ve got nothing to do, I’ll help you look.”

A couple minutes later, we found a place, and he offered to pay (500 baht, or about $20), if I would let him use the shower and take a nap. Why not.

He carried my heavy suitcase up the stairs, and hopped in the shower before I had even finished paying the key deposit. Two minutes later, I had a shirtless British construction worker, who had been living in Dubai, napping on my enormous queen size bed.

Welcome to Bangkok.

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According to an iClicker poll in my PSYC 350 Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality course, 88% of the dudes in my class have measured their penis.

Which means that 12% are either a) lying, or b) were sitting near a girl, and they were afraid she could see their thumb on the clicker button. A dude sitting in front of me used his gargantuan thumb to stealthily cover both the “A” and the “B” buttons on his clicker when selecting his response. (I know you picked “A: yes I have measured my penis,” you sneaky bastard.)

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So I don’t clog everyone’s newsfeeds with a hundred “shared” statuses, I’ll just list the ones that made me pee a little bit when I read them:

WHY did those glow sticks come visit me

I’d take care of hot potatoes

Now I am good at making Belgians feel so grown up

Et oui, mais c’est tout que je suis la reine de Cimitière d’Ixelles, l’ULB 15 minutes à bientôt!! Lemme know what I’m talking about!

Near Kits, possibly allergic to what books are available in Vancouver too, I usually just pretend you’re gorgeous too

red wine, ice cream truck with me

Je t’aime aussi, mes amies belges, 23 year for getting blackout drunk

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I like that when I google things, my top search results are always in French. I wonder if I can set my computer to do that in Canada too. (?)

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I can’t sleep. So here are some things I notice on a daily basis in Bruxelles.

1. Everyone uses sponges to wipe the chalkboards, which are cleaned in a bucket of murky, filmy, chalky water that sits on the floor. (What’s so wrong with chalk brushes, ULB??)
2. Chalk boards still exist! And are used! Every day!
3. Women do not use shaving cream to shave their legs, and it’s nearly impossible to find at the grocery store. (The ONLY shaving cream I ever found here came in a six pack, and was covered in a layer of dust at Carrefour, in the section of he grocery store reserved for steering wheel covers, batteries, computer accessories, alcohol and vibrators.)
4. They sell one kind of peanut butter at the grocery store, but a dozen varieties of Speculoos.
5. Green pants seem to be on trend right now.
6. Deodorant in bar form is impossible to find too. Everything is either spray or roll-on.