Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting Closer

Benjamin Franklin said that there are two ways to be remembered once you're gone: "either write something worth reading or do things worth writing about."  Unfortunately he also hit the nail on the head when he said: "life's tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late."

This fits right into one of my favorite short essays by Russell Baker, "School vs. Education."  Basically, he mocks the public education system and suggests that true education begins long after the student has 'graduated' and begins to open his/her mind and actually learn.

Basically, these two things combined are my admission that the merits of my experience and writing may be less than others, and I will try to avoid making any claims or generalizations which could easily be incorrect given my lack of overall experience...hopefully over the course of my adventure I'll gain a bit more useful insight and be able to make more knowledgeable judgments and assertions.

Of course we all want to believe that we learned lots of meaningful things in our 12, 16, 18, 20+?? years of schooling, and I'm sure that some people do, but by and large, we don't.  I - like so many others - want to think so, and I have convinced myself that I learned a lot. After all, I know the scientific method (it was reiterated enough), some development theories and brief, bullet pointed lists of the main theories of some famous political scientists, and a plethora of other knowledge which has shaped the way I look at the world.  Perhaps that does constitute some learning, but I would say that some of the most meaningful lessons and ideas I took from 
college, were not specifically from class.

Now that I'm done meandering through my thoughts and opinions on the structured educational system - which amusingly enough are appearing to be not that dissimilar from my opinions of religion (I'll leave that for another post though) - I'll get on with what I actually started to write about!

Monday the 20th I got an unlocked quad-band GSM camera phone to take with me on my trip - basically it will work pretty much anywhere in the world that has cell coverage - for a great deal.  It is a Sony-Ericsson K550i, sure it was released in 2007, but it's still brand new (sat in a box in a storage locker for 2 1/2 yrs) and seems like it should be pretty durable.  Price, durability, and some neat features like picture blogging direct from the phone, were selling features.  Glad it's not a touch screen and has a normal number pad, not a stupid full keyboard.

Tuesday the 21st I was talking to the guy from Bangkok who has offered to host me (through CS) and he decided he would also come meet me at the airport when I land on Oct. 11th.  I had been a little unsure about what I was going to do when I landed, because my plane touches down in BKK at 11.45 PM, and not knowing the city or the language at ALL, I was a bit weary about venturing into the city via cab (who are apparently notorious for trying to more than double the price on farang - foreigners if they can get away with it).  I may be bold, brave, adventurous, naive, unknowing, and many other adjectives I've heard used to describe my upcoming adventure, but I'm not quite bold enough to try my hand at midnight travel in an unknown city yet...let me get some more solo travel experience first!  

My host, whose house I'll be staying at, lives in the Nonthaburi suburb/neighboring city a little ways north of Bangkok. By bus it's not far, and is fairly inexpensive to ride.  Should be fun to get out and see where some of the more "local" people live, rather than being in another metropolis the whole time.  Admittedly, I am excited to go see central Bangkok and all that it has to offer, the famous Khao San Road, some of the scenes of the Red Shirt protests which took place last April/May, and of course the Vietnamese embassy to get my visa!

Oof, that was long, and sadly I could write tons more, but I won't, I'll spare anyone who is actually reading from the lengthy ramblings that I could post (yep, that was the short version up there!).


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