From bustling cities to thriving rain-forests, I’ve learned to see the beauty in every single thing. I told myself before coming on this adventure, that the one thing I want to take from this experience is the ability to see the world in a whole new perspective. Being in Thailand has not only opened my eyes, but it has also opened my heart. Back home I can work for a total of four hours a day, and make enough money to pay for my car and have a little to go out with as well. Here in Thailand these people hustle for endless hours a day and barely make enough money to buy their family dinner, all the while they still retain their happiness. Seeing the way these people live really puts my life in to perspective. It makes me realize all of the wonderful things I have back home, and how I take them for granted.
(APERCU DE NOTRE QUARTIER)
We live a few minutes away by foot from Ben Thanh Market, a tourist trap where you’ll find almost anything: flower arrangements, fish market, spices, jewelry, watches, clothes, souvenirs.
Nous habitons à quelques minutes à pied du marché Ben Thanh, un piège à touriste où l’on trouve quasiment tout: compositions florales, marché de poissons, épices, bijoux, montres, vêtements, souvenirs.
In short, I have to get up very early to be at work from 7.15am until 1.00pm. Need to be always on the watch to prevent children from running away. I’m liking this job. I think the kids like me. I’m happy! (At least for now.)
BONHEUR CHEZ LES TOUT-PETITS
En résumé, je dois me lever très tôt le matin pour être au travail de 7h15 à 13h. Il faut être tout le temps vigilant pour éviter que les enfants s’échappent de l’école. J’aime mon job. Et je pense que les enfants m’aiment bien. Le bonheur! (Du moins pour l’instant!)
I definitely feel like I’m settling into my life here. It’s really amazing how quickly things can become routine even when you’re in an exotic location. I am working 24 hours a week and have classes every day at two different campuses. At the close campus, I have my favourite route that I walk – about 20-25 minutes one way – and at the northern campus I have my usual motor-taxi guy who I find on the main drag. I pass the same people on the street every day and instead of trying to sell their wares to me (sunglasses, a cyclo ride, marijuana, etc.), they now smile as they recognize me as someone who is not simply breezing through town as a tourist. I have my list of the yummiest local food stalls that I frequent depending on the day’s cravings. I actually run into people I know when we go out. It’s a strange feeling for me to feel at home in a foreign place.
So what does an average day look like for me? We do get out and do exciting stuff, but not every day. The majority of the group sleeps in, so I gladly join in and usually awake at around 9 or 10am. I read or spend time on the computer, shower, and munch on fruit until it’s lunch time. Then Jen, Serene and I ponder what to eat (Laurene is still at work at this point) and then pick a restaurant. The afternoon is spent hanging out and chatting, or going to the market, and I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the naps that sometimes find their way into the day. I have a 5:30pm class every day, so then it’s off to school I go. I’m home by 8pm and then we go to a restaurant for dinner. If anything’s happening that night, we’ll be there but that’s not every night. The evening is often finished off by checking out what awesomeness is on HBO or Star Movies before falling asleep around 1-2am (last night’s movie was Army of Darkness).
Of course, the routine varies. Sometimes I have morning classes and on the weekends I have afternoon classes, so that changes things up but the activities essentially stay the same. I’d love to be able to say that we work a little bit and then spend the rest of our time doing glamourous, crazy stuff, but the truth is that most people, when travelling, end up doing a lot of what they would normally do at home in their down time. We’re pretty mellow most of the time, but we’re hanging out in Saigon which makes the whole thing so much better. You never know what lies outside your door!
I found this on Facebook and found it was a pretty fun way to capture our lives for the past year. Here’s the generator.
Of all the words you could use to describe our lives, ordinary never seems to make the list. Nevertheless, the fact is that this project is essentially a continuous search for just that. By taking each country 90 days at a time, finding work and housing and local friends, we’re always trying to learn what ordinary life means around the world. In just a couple of short weeks, we will be joined by two new team members, and this is my admonishment to them– don’t be surprised when life isn’t constantly surprising.
Warning: If you’re in Turkey, like me, the government has banned YouTube, so you might need kTunnel to watch the following videos.
“North Korea said Wednesday it was abandoning the truce that ended the Korean war and warned it could launch a military attack on the South, two days after testing an atomic bomb for the second time.” via Sydney Morning Herald.
On Thursday I woke up to my phone ringing. It was our old high school friend Will letting me know that just as he had said earlier (I had forgotten), he had arrived in Seoul. He had an eight hour layover and I was going to show him around the city for an afternoon. I scrambled around to try and find some half clean clothes, and ran to the subway to meet him. We then grabbed some lunch and a beer as I told him about our life in Seoul. Somehow that lunch turned into a two day series of new friends, ridiculous adventure, and wandering through half the city. I don’t think I made it back to my room for a solid two days. And Will’s 8 hour layover somehow turned in to a 48 hour layover. This is more or less what it looked like for us:
In episode 206 we saw what life was like on when you’re about as broke as is possible in Tokyo. The experience of day to day life inside the cafe was just so surreal we had to go a bit deeper into it – and with that we present Internet Cafe Living. A firsthand account of just what its like to try and make it in one of these places.
We hope you enjoy it. We know Matt sure did.
This past weekend we saw and recorded a staggering amount of information on the May Day protests in Seoul. We’ve condensed a basic timeline and media overview until we can get a proper episode up about it.
Friday May 1st, 2009
3 PM – Gathering at Yeouido
Friday saw a large gathering of protesters at Yeouido park in Seoul. May Day is a classic day of protest and saw people gather under a variety of banners and causes, with the issues of the Yongsun Tragedy and criticism of the current president at the forefront. Over 16,000 protesters gathered to listen to speeches, songs, and performances.
5 PM – March
The gathering ended with the protesters march en mass through the main street adjoining the park, over the bridge, into down town and onto subways to meet for the next set of protests. At this point we had yet to see more than a dozen police officers, but were told that in years past violence had flared when the protesters reached central gathering points.
6:30 PM – Clash at Jongno
As we emerged from the subway to rejoin the protesters we found a group of them shutting down traffic on Jongno, a major Seoul artery. This act was quickly interrupted as police caught everyone off guard with an initial charge into the crowd.
Over the next hour repeated scuffles broke out between police and protesters. The protesters would gather, chant, and march into the street blocking traffic. The police would gather opposite them, and then charge full force into the demonstrators, scattering them. After the third major break there were few protesters left.
10 PM – Myong Dong Riot
We heard that the protesters were gathering again at Myong Dong and we headed over to see what was happening. By the time we arrived the police had been forced back to the main station entrance. They were being battered by a group of masked protesters who had broken up the pavement and were rushing forward in lines to assault the police. Crowds of supporters, protesters and ordinary people out shopping on a Friday night lined the streets as police threw tear gas into the crowds.
The police continued to move in at this point, entering the remaining intersections as additional media showed up and ended up pinned between the police and rock throwing protesters. At one point a journalist nearby us was hit by a rock thrown not by the protesters, but by police, and went down.
11:30 PM – Dispersion
The police blockaded the subway entrances and then eventually suppressed the last of the protesters around 11:30 pm. The crowds left to take the last trains home and the streets cleared out.
Saturday May 2nd, 2009
Saturday was the one year anniversary of the vigil and protests that had consumed Seoul over the president’s decision to reopen Korea to US beef imports. We had been told these would be much bigger than the previous day’s protests.
4 PM – Seoul Station Rally
The initial rally was at Seoul Station, a large shopping and transit complex near the government centers in Seoul. This gathering saw a number of speeches, but not in the same numbers as the previous day’s gathering in Yeouido. In addition the police deployed in staggering numbers. For the majority of the rally the police outnumbered the gathered protestors.
s was a fairly peaceful section of the protest with only a couple of arrests a single seemingly unrelated brawl.
7:30 PM – Hi Seoul Incident
We watched as Buddhist performers mingled with protesters in a march down the central street. At the end they arrived at a massive outdoor area where a techno remix of the Smurf’s theme song blared. At this point the waiting police moved in and pushed everyone, protester, performer, civilian or otherwise off the street and into the main festival area. Here the crowds mixed, danced, and waved flags until a group of front running protesters charged the stage. The music stopped and the crowd went wild.
At this point the police swept in and started rounding up everyone they could see. It was just shocking to see hundreds of police in black armor running into a crowd that had been dancing to a song from a children’s cartoon moments before.
Of the two days this is where we started to see a lot of police actions that seemed less and less justified. One of the most poignant examples of this was a gathering of old people who were simply sitting around a candle vigil of protesters killed in previous events. The police slowly moved in as people played music and sang until they could start grabbing people and start moving them out.
The sweeps continued with the police grabbing more and more people who appeared to be simply young students or just regular civilians passing by or there for the festival. Our translator told us again and again, “look, the police are grabbing normal people. they’re saying ‘why are you arresting me, I have done nothing but stand here.’”
10 PM – Myong Dong Riots II
A number of the media recognized us from the previous day and came over to tell us that they had heard the protesters would be making a move to Myong Dong again. Following their advice we headed over to arrive, once again, in the thick of a confrontation between police and protesters.
Again the protesters lobbed rocks, bottles, umbrellas, and anything that wasn’t nailed down at police. Tensions seemed to be running especially high and we would see the police yell or throw objects back into the crowd. Twice we caught caught in the middle as police charged a shopping mall filled with bystanders that had been shopping moments before. It was horrific to see the wall of riot shields crash into the crowd and hear screaming. Time and time again we saw the police round up what seemed to us to simply be normal people out shopping.
After hours of a back and forth with police chasing down protesters the intersections finally began to clear. We started interviewing people involved to get a better grasp of what was going on. Little of what we had seen made sense, but people were eager to share their stories.
We’re working to translate them now and will have them up as soon as we can.