Friday, June 8, 2012

From the other side of the world....

Right now, I'm in Thailand, 13000 miles and 12 time zones away from home.   I've spent the last week or so on tour with the Black Bayou Brass, the faculty brass trio at my university (Louisiana-Monroe).  I know that this has little to do with Mirari (and is in fact one of the few times all year when I can put aside quintet business and focus my attention completely on other projects) but this is my place to write and I hope some of you find this tangent interesting!   We had an amazing time being tourists, performing, and working with high school and college students in and around Bangkok, and I thought I'd share a few things that I learned this week before showing a bunch of photos from the trip.  Enjoy!

Things I learned from Thailand

1) Thai students are really hungry.   They have a tremendous thirst for knowledge and are willing to put in long hours and hard work in order to achieve their goals.   I wish more American students had that level of hunger -- and the commitment to follow through instead of just talking about their plans.

2) Having someone around who knows the city is crucial.  We couldn't have done this trip without the amazing assistance of Daren Robbins, horn professor at Mahidol University, who in addition to setting up all the logistics on the Thai end chaperoned us around all week.   The Thai language is incredibly difficult to learn and we absolutely needed Daren to tell taxi drivers where to go, help us order from indecipherable menus, and be a fantastic host and tour guide!

3) Monitor lizards might look like small alligators, but are actually scared of people and pretty harmless.   I saw lizards every single time I walked from the hotel to the music school and stopped to watch each of them. 

4) No matter what country in the world you're in, mention Kenny G and all the jazz students laugh out loud! 

Anyways.......on to some pictures!

View of Bangkok from the Golden Mount.  What a sprawl!

Giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho ("Wat" means Temple") This pictures doesn't quite capture the size of the it--60 feet long!

A very small part of the amazing Grand Palace in Bangkok.

24-karat gold.  Covering the whole thing.

Monitor lizard!   I think this is the one we named "Zeus"

Just one of many similar views on the beautiful campus of Mahidol University, our home for the week in Thailand.

Lunch!  The dish in front is pineapple fried rice with raisins and shrimp.

I could post pictures for hours, but our internet connection is pretty slow.  Also, we need to catch our van to the airport for the long trip home.   This literally will be the longest day of my life!    Our flight leaves at 2:40am and arrives back in Houston at 4:30pm.   During that time, we will be in the air and on layover in Doha, Qatar for around 26 hours!!   #guesstimetravelispossible

-Alex, pre-jet-lag

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