Sorry I've been so lazy about posting here. Bangkok has a lot of distractions! Everything has been fine since the coup. You would never even know that there was a coup; they moved out the tanks and selected a new interim prime minister. Oh and they also suspended the legislature, made politcal parties illegal and are censoring the media...soooo, well even if there was some unrest I would never know. The Thai people generally seemed to welcome the coup. The old Primie Minister was very unpopular and there were many assassination attempts against him before the coup so I get the feeling that Thailand is a safer and more stable place without him. Then again, Thai people are very shy about saying anything negative about their government. It's actually illegal to say anything bad about the King and the Thai mentality towards authority is totally different than the Western mentality. If an elder or someone with authority says they have to do something they will do it without asking questions, at least from what I have noticed. I'm sure there are a lot of ambiguities I don't see but my general impression is that Thai people value harmony and unity more than freedom of speech or democracy. We thought about going to take pictures with the tanks before they left but I always forgot my camera. I should really invest in a camera phone while I'm here! The worst thing that happened during the coup was that we got the day off of work and had to go to the movies instead of school. Terrible, huh? I started thinking they should have coups more often.
It has been raining here a lot lately. I love it when it rains because that means that its not that hot (80 degrees is chilly). Its not just normal rain though; its super monsoon rain. The sky opens up and buckets of water come pouring down and there is lightning and thunder that shakes you right to your bones. When it rains really hard the streets begin to look like canals and if you get stuck out in it you have to pull your pants up to your knees and practically swim to dry land, if you can find any. Luckily though the drainage system works really well here. One night it rained so hard that they had to close my street because there was about 3 or 4 feet of water. A couple of hours the water was completely gone and you would never even know that it had rained.
The students just had their midterm exams and we're on vacation now. Exams are a big deal here, way different in the states. I don't remember taking any sort of hardcore test until maybe I was in middle school. These students have 3 days of exams...keep in mind that some of them are as young as 7 years old. I almost lost my mind because people expected me to be psychic about a lot of things. My Thai partner teacher (who I just want to kill) would ask me "Have you turned in your exams yet?" Ummm....no? No one told me I had to turn in any sort of exam. I figured I would give them an exam if I wanted to. And they have this crazy grading system that I am supposed to magically know. Apparently during the first midterm, 20 points go to the accumulated marks (homework, seatwork and behavior) and 30 points go to the final exam. But that is only in the first semester, in the second semester 30 points go to the accumulated marks and 20 to the final exam. And that is only for some subjects. Other subjects are 25 total but are split with another class so its like 12.5 points for the exams and oh I don't know. Haven't these people heard of the 100 point scale? You know...makes things way easier.
I got my first hair cut here not long ago. It was amazing. Well the haircut was just o.k. He cut it shorter than I would have liked, but it was super cheap and they had these awesome chairs you sit in when they shampoo your hair. They reclined all the way back so you were so comfortable while they were doing their stuff. They probably washed and massaged my hair for about 30 minutes before they cut my hair. Thats the thing about Bangkok. It can be so much nicer than the U.S. in so many ways and in some ways the U.S. is way nicer than Thailand. For instance, the movie theaters have these huge cushy chairs that recline when you sit in them and you get movie magnets everytime you see a movie. I don't know why I get so excited about the magnets but I really fricken love it. But at the same time the air is so polluted and I seem to always have a hard time finding a nice restaurant with good food. Oh well, you can't have it all I suppose.
Promise I'll try to be less lazy about posting here. Especially after I write about military coups and all that stuff. Oops. :) Sorry.