i arrived in thailand to be reminded of how much fun i had here last summer and how wonderful the city of bangkok is, even if its airport is fortified with military and police to prevent another shut down as they had a few years ago during similar city-wide protests.
i checked into my little hotel after travelling for 21 hours and promptly requested a foot massage because it just seemed like the right thing to do. and it turned out that it was as i fell right back to sleep after having slept soundly (and not drooling or leaning on the japanese man sitting next to me) on my flight from tokyo to bangkok.
i met the group that i will be training with at another hotel and we were ferried here, to pattaya, where we banded together to start a contest that whoever can identify the most sex tourists by the end of the week gets a prize. no one knows what the prize will be just yet, however, but i am taking suggestions.
and who says people who work in human rights have no fun?!
it seems that my recent experience in the private sector is of great interest to many of the people here who have never left the ngo/un/government world. and it cracks me up to think what they think industry should and should not do and the types of stereotypes they have about life in the business world. i have got to admit that i was likely touting the same opinions a few years ago, but i hope that i have a more level head now and am realistic about how the world really works.
for the most part, the other people i have met are not arrogant, not pompous, and not all woe-is-me while at the same time bragging about how hard they have roughed it. is this really a un sanctioned event?!
it seems that the week will be jammed with a lot of thinking, working, and group work (yippee!), but i will be very well fed and meet a lot of great people who will surely be great contacts to have.
all of this is not without the typical social anxiety that comes from meeting a whole group of people who are sizing every one up and down, but it just so happened that on the way here i sat with two lovely, young women who seem to have knowledge and experience of human trafficking and great attitudes and senses of humour to boot.
here's hoping my first day is a testament to the rest.