Hello from Thailand! As I’m sitting here writing this post three days into my trip, I’ve already forgotten about the cold weather at home. As I love heat, I’ve adjusted quite easily to the hot climate of Thailand. As expected, Thailand’s environment is much more different than what I am used to back in the United States which is extremely noticeable through the less developed building infrastructure, high concentration of stray dogs that populate seemingly every street, and a high degree of air pollution. Despite these obvious societal differences, it is evident that Thailand is rapidly modernizing which can be seen through the copious construction of modern and western style apartment complexes, restaurants, store fronts, and facilities. It is interesting to see the obvious disconnect between the older population and the young population who seem to embrace more modern technologies, higher education, lifestyle, and even fashion. This disconnect is exemplified by how the the older generation provides a bulk of the agricultural work force while the younger generation seeks out more modern occupations. This is notable as it will be interesting to see how this affects Thailand’s agricultural productivity and preservation of its culture while facing increasing modernization.
Our trip so far has been extremely immersive into traditional Thai culture. On our first day we visited the Thai royal palace which is still used today for various government ceremonies. The palace is, which is over 200 years old is extremely elaborate, and illustrated how rich Thai culture is, which is something the United States does not have. Additionally we have also visited an array of Buddhist temples where we have learned more about that Thai cultural history and even received a sample of a Thai massage. In addition to learning about the culture we have also visited various markets where we have sampled several new varieties of fruits like the savory Kun Yao and fresh lychee, while observing societal importance of flow of goods in open food markets. Today we also got the invaluable opportunity to visit a food processing facility called Thai Union, which processes and ships tuna all over the world, and learn about their processes, sustainability practices, and even got to go onto their production floor. It was interesting to see how they manage their product to eliminate water and how they acquire their fish without increasing to the issue of over fishing. So far, our time in Thailand has offered great cultural insight as well as many educational opportunities. I am excited to see what the rest of the week holds, and hope you are as well. Stay tuned!