Courtney's View #6: Rock the Lonely Planet Book Often
One thing that is enhancing my travel experience is research. I noticed that ignorance can sometimes breed pessimism and confusion. For me, my longterm travel experience has become more fun once I turn an observant and curious eye upon my surroundings. The Lonely Planet book that CIEE gave us all is great place to start! Reading it while you're in the thick of Thailand sheds so much light and gives to-the-point commentary. Re-visiting the information as you're surrounded by it makes everything hop off the page as it dovetails with your own experience. It explains so much of the country's inner-workings. Researching has allowed me to simply observe and identify and understand. Often, things I thought were very strange suddenly make a lot of sense! My people watching game is on fire because of it. I highly recommend the "Understand Thailand" section in the back of Lonely Planet Thailand guide.
Among the fun things you will find:
- No, you're students aren't being mean when they laugh every single class as you butcher their name, they're helping you save face.
- Yes, that kid is named "Phone" after an actual phone.
- No, the students aren't showing zilch initiative because they suck, it's because they're specifically taught to not be assertive in the presence of a Poo Yai (an elder).
- That dump truck is painted crazy awesome to ward of bad luck!
- Thai men can enter a temple (take up robe and bowl) for as short as a week to gain the high respect afforded monks.