Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Individuals form groups in shared pursuit of common goals. We Cal Poly students in Thailand have many common goals and form many groups. Before we were even in Thailand we formed groups - on facebook, in the airports. And we continue to form them: uniting forces in the humid heat, in common quest to conquer Firpo’s crazy checklist. In mornings, riding red trucks locals call sǎwngthǎews, to the college we all go to, Chiang Mai University. Riding sǎwngthǎews back, to the place we all stay, the Uniserv Hostel. These red, sputtering, run-down trucks are very important to us. They are our means of transportation and facilitate the creation of the many groups we form. Sǎwngthǎews carry us from Uniserve, to the University, to muy thai, to thai cooking, to the mall, to random places, back and forth, over and over, again and again. Their carrying capacity allows large groups of us to visit interesting places – temples, waterfalls, markets, bars – and the average fare ranges from free to a mere 20 baht. What really makes the Sǎwngthǎew awesome though, aside from its assistance in group formation and transportation, is that amidst the jostling, sliding and knees a bumpin’ - we get to know each other. It was on the Sǎwngthǎew I found out about Xavier’s favorite baseball team, the Giants, and the Cain jersey he got from Joslyn on his birthday. It was on the Sǎwngthǎew I learned about Carolyn’s crazy college schedule, about Max’s sister’s nickname, about Heidi’s athletic endeavors, about Sebren’s spy friend, about Tristan, Heather, and Lily’s ski club adventures, about Laura’s skydiving experience, and about Christine’s favorite animal, the elephant. Often times I will not be able to follow the rapid-fire-back-and-forth nature of Sǎwngthǎew conversation. But this is when I find myself quietly watching the Thailand views flicker by, contentedly riding in the back of a red, sputtering, run-down truck. 

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