Thursday, June 4, 2009


Second day in the field.  Team C (my team) worked on cleaning some previously-excavated bones from PTT 3 (the deep site I mentioned before).  Our new unit is PTT 4.  We cleaned bones from Burial 2.  It was actually really, really cool.  It’s so cool to be chipping dirt off bones.


We used bamboo picks that we made.  Some of the dirt came off fine, but some was stuck to it like cement.  It didn’t help that the bones were already extremely fragile.  I started on some vertebrae with Zach, but Scott Burnett (the professor from Eckerd) had us change because they were too fragmentary.  I cleaned a clavicle, some more complete vertebrae, and part of the skull.


It rained at the site for the first time today.  Since there are shade covers over the units, it didn’t stop us, but it rained.  We are so spoiled at this field school.  Amazing food, hotel, fruit slushies… Its great. 


For dinner, we walked towards downtown.  We ate at the place Morgan and Sally ate at the first night.  Cashew chicken and a beer for under $5.  Awesome.


Today was our first day in the field.  We left the hotel at 8 AM on one of the truck bench things.  A big one.  Shiny.  Like a schoolbus.  Our drive to the site is pretty cool.  Very flat except for a few small, sharp, rocky mountains.  Rice paddies all around.


The site is on the grounds of a Buddhist temple, so we have to wear pants, not shorts.  It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, which is pretty nice.  We took a really short walk to acquaint ourselves with the area.  We saw a teak tree (huge leaves!) and a tamarind tree (mimosa-like with pods).  I’d seen plenty of them before but didn’t know what they were.


There is a 6x6m trench about 30 feet away from where we were to set up the new one.  It was probably 5 or 6 m deep.  There were 5 or 6 skeletons already exposed.  It was really cool to see them, but we’re not going to be messing with them.


First, we staked out a square under the shelter with string, divided it into quadrants, and cleared the surface debris.  We found a few pot sherds which were everywhere.  We dug down to the first level.


One of the Thai students, San, is going to be our lunch cook for the field school.  Based on today, I’m excited.  We had green curry with chicken and extremely sticky rice.  The curry was nicely spicy.  We also had whole tuna fish.  They were about 6 inches long.  Alpes (another student) had to show us how to split them with the spoon along the spine and tear half the body off of the ribs.  It was really tasty.  At around 2:30, they also made us a watermelon slushy that tasted like it had grenadine in it.  It was so good.


We had our first class with Thanik (the Thai professor) at 8 PM.  Before that, we got street food from across Tesco.  I had two fried drumsticks which were so good.  So greasy though.


We ate the buffet breakfast at around 7:20 AM.  French toast, fried eggs, pineapple, coffee.  It was all right.  After breakfast, we walked down the road.  There isn’t much near our hotel.  It’s like a 10 minute HOT walk to anything.  Food, too.


Kwang arranged a tour of Lopburi for us.  We went to several places of note here.  Narai, I think, was one of them.  One place was a residence of foreign ambassadors in the 1800s.  Somehow it was ruiny already. 


We also went to somewhere from The King and I.  The King of Siam or something.  That place was much cooler than the ambassador’s house.  They had a museum with cool archaeological stuff in it.  Many statues of “Buddha Subduing Mara.”  We had to take off our shoes to go inside.  I like doing that.


For dinner, we ate street vendor food with Kwant downtown.  It wasn’t awesome.  I think it was too many people for them to adequately handle.  


We left the Reno (and Bangkok) for Lopburi at 9:45 AM.  I could not eat my breakfast.  I have no idea why.  So I still had an hour’s worth of internet credit at the neighboring hotel, so I stepped in and gave the ticket to some random guy.  He was so excited!  I think he was American though.


We all took taxies to the Hualompong Train Station for our 10:50 train.  Of course, 10:50 is just an estimate.  It was about a half hour late.  The train was so old and rusted.  We all had more luggage than most passengers and we were all crammed in our seats.  The train actually broke down less than 5 mi from the Bangkok station.  They told us we would have to wait an hour for the next train, but they got it running before then.  We got a meal, surprisingly.  Sketchy, spicy, fishy fish and rice.  Wasn’t terrible.


We were supposed to arrive at Lopburi at 1 PM, but we finally got in at around 4 or 5.  We got assigned roommates and went up to our rooms.  Since Emilie went home, Emily is my roommate.  She is a grad student at ASU and did her undergrad stuff at NCSU with Troy.  She looks so familiar to me.


After we settled into our rooms, most of us rode the hotel bus to the downtown area.  Walked around, found something to eat.  The place we ate at was big enough that it wasn’t terribly sketcy.  Sarah got fried pork ribs which were delicious.


It is weird to me how many skin-lightening products there are.  Apparently it’s the opposite from the US.  Also I have noticed that there is always someone cleaning the floor.  Always.  They have nice clean floors here.


Its nice to be in a place finally with almost no tourists.  There are monkeys here!  I mean, I knew there would be, but it’s still exciting.  They hang out everywhere.  Buildings, ruins, power lines, the middle of the street…


Today we all met at 9 AM to visit some places here in Bangkok.  I dropped my laundry off, 55 baht per kilo.  We took the Sky Train to the River Taxi, 30 baht and 13 baht respectively.  We met Kwang there.  She is a (tiny) student at Silpakorn University here in the city.


We went first to Wat Pho, where the (largest?) Reclining Buddha is.  There was a lot of neat art stuff there.  Quite hot.  Spent about an hour and a half before we went to the Grand Palace where the Emerald Buddha is.  That was much more of a praying place than a photo op.  No shoes.  Pants.  Lots of shiny gold and an awesomely long mural.


Then we ate at S&P.  Not bad but somehow I never got my watermelon slushy.  Salted pork and fried rice.  The papaya salad/coleslaw was very spicy.

For our last dinner in Bangkok, we went to the food center at MBK.
  I tried Sukiyaki soup with vegetables.  It was very cabbagey and bland, and I didn’t know what to add to it.  I really wanted coconut blended with ice, but they were out.


We saw Terminator 4 at MBK.  There are so strange commercials before the movie.  Me, Bennett, Zach, and Robert went to see it.  It was very action-packed.  I was surprised to see Anton Yelchin in it because he was also in Star Trek. 


I guess I missed a day.  So on the morning after we each had our own rooms, Bennett slept in.  Until like 10.  We all had to meet up at noon as our first official group meeting.  Two girls (Rebecca and Samantha) got stuck in Tokyo for a night, but everyone else was there.  We got phone numbers programmed into our cell phones.  We got the phones for 1040 baht.  Long distance calls to the US only cost 1 baht per minute!  That’s crazy.  And we get to keep the phones.  Cheap ones, but even so. 


Zach and Robert arrived a day earlier than everyone else, so we hung out yesterday.  Zach goes to Eckerd in Florida and will graduate after this year.  Robert is about to graduate too, from NC State.  He looked familiar but I don’t believe we’ve had any classes together.  Bennett, Zach, and I watched Terminator 2 in Bennett’s room.


So all 15 of us walked to one of the Siam mall places and ate at one of the cafeterias that Bennett and I hadn’t found before.  Roasted duck with rice was really disappointing.


We rested in the afternoon, and Bennett looked up the Muay Thai fight.  Rachel and Petra came with us.  It only cost like 230 baht for Thai people, but the same tickets for foreigners cost 1000 baht.  It says that in the Lonely Planet, and it makes sense.  The stadium makes money off of the bets that the Thai people make, but foreigners are much less likely to bet.  Expensive, though.  Inside, there’s the boxing ring, ringside seats (mostly foreigners), 2nd tier (almost empty), and 3rd tier (all Thai except us and 2 Finnish people).  So many people were betting.  At first we were sitting in the bookies’ section, and the other Thais there made us move.  The third tier has no seats, but rather steps that you sit on and stand up as the fight gets exciting.


Our new location was near the Finns.  They were so stereotypically Scandinavian.  White blond hair and extremely tan skin.  They had been in SE Asia for 5 months and were leaving for Finland on Monday.


There were 10 matches, each of 5 rounds.  The boxers ranged from 90 to 138 lbs.  Some young’uns fighting.  No knockouts, and only one guy bled.  He was fine though and kept fighting.


It’s so cool that instead of unhealthy concession food, they sell fresh fruit.   20 baht for 3 slices of canteloupe.  The old man next to me  got some and only ate a piece and gave me the other two, which was incredibly nice.  Next time the fruit vendor came around, I bought some and offered him some, but he didn’t take any.  It was awesome though because we had been there like 3 hours without any food.  The entire thing went from 6:30 PM to 11ish.  Petra and Rachel left at 8:30 because they were tired.  Surprisingly, most people watching had left by the very last and heaviest fight.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Today we survived the ride back to Bangkok. At leats we knew what to expect on the way. We actually encountered the Canaian we met at the fish massage on our bus/van. Actually, we ran into the first pair of Canadians last night at the Angkor Night Market. The second Canadian, Janine, lives in Korea right now teaching English and paying off her student loans. That sounds like an awesome way to make extra money. She travels on her vacation months. Nice person.

So we drove on the big bus to the border then split into mini-buses. We understand that the buses stop at specific points to support what is likely their family members' shops. He made us stop for an hour at one place so we could all order lunch. We were all angry, and none of us ordered anything, which in turn made him upset.

We made it through the border fine. Just took forever in hot lines. Thai processing of passports is so nice: AC and honest officials. I missed Thailand when I was in Cambodia. So after we started driving in Thailand, our driver (who knew very little English) turns around and tells us Janine's passport is messed up. She started getting really worried, but when we got back, the Thai official just had to fix a stamp he messed up on hers. He accidently gave her a 2-month visa instead of a 15-day one. It would have cost him a lot if she'd stayed longer.

We finally made it back with some new German friends. So we ate some pad thai and saw Star Trek. It was really good! Gimmicky at some parts but what Hollywood movie isn't? I need to do some laundry.