Written by Wes Davis, Purdue University
Today was our last day exploring Thailand and it was quite the adventure! Some of our group spent the day visiting the beach while others toured the Thailand Grand Palace and a well-known outdoor shopping area called JJ Market. Being a fair-skinned redhead, I opted to avoid any chance of sunburn and chose the latter.
We hopped in a taxi around 9:30 and went straight to the Palace. The entire site was inundated with visitors from around the world all there to see the famed Palace. As we entered the gates, we saw the immaculate and ornate building enclosed by a ten-foot wall, much of which contained murals depicting the stories of the Thai gods.
After seeing the Palace, we left the walled complex and saw the queen’s Palace while Jessica met up with a Thai foreign exchange student her family had hosted. We finished our tour and Jessica’s friend took us downtown to grab a bite to eat and shop at JJ Market. On the way, we made a pitstop at a Pokemon event and for many of us, it was a flashback to our childhoods!
When we arrived at the market, it was a shock for us all. The entire place was basically a five acre flea market on steroids. We went in and out of the booths seeing low cost shoes, clothing, collectibles, and gifts from around the world. Several of us walked away with great purchases including our in-country advisor, Keith, who walked away with several nice handmade silk floral shirts.
That evening, we walked a few blocks from our hotel to visit a sky restaurant called Rooftop 409. With a beautiful skyline view in the background, we laughed, talked, and shared our thoughts on the trip as a whole. After our delicious meal, we all headed back to the hotel and many of us pulled all-nighters before leaving for the hotel at 4:00am.
After processing all our luggage and documents, we all said goodbye to our IIE country leader, Kit, and headed toward the gate and the 22 hours of travel that laid between us and the US. Many airline meals, countless naps, and two flights later, we are all back in the states tucked in our beds and trying to shake off the jet lag.
We are all happy so many of you followed our adventure in Thailand and hope that you were able to see the impact and value this experience has had for us all. More than anything, we have each been given an opportunity to challenge our perspectives and change our approach to things that are different. Not only has the global fellowship given us incredible memories, but it has given us a new lens through which to view and react to the world. Thank you for following our journey. We can’t wait to see you all back in the states!