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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Thai Shadow

If you've never heard of Diane Conroy-LaCivita, I'm surprised. She's everywhere - business owner in Cohoes, former city official in Watervliet, advocate of local goods (especially wines), and she works with the International Center of the Capital Region.

It was in her latter capacity that I recently worked with her since she had a Thai resident visiting the area and she wanted to find someone for her to shadow.

In my six years at the newspaper (I can't believe it's been six years), I've had a lot of shadows and interns. This one was one of my favorites. She was smart, inquisitive, funny, personable. Too bad she wasn't actually from the area so we could hire her.

Though, her being from Southeast Asia was probably part of the charm too since I learned a lot about her culture while she learned about mine.

Three things struck me as interesting from our conversations:

1) Thailand is cheap. I'd heard this before but it's always nice to get this confirmed, especially by someone who lives there. You could get a nice meal at most restaurants for literally $1 - and it's not dollar menu quality.

2) The Thai residents appreciate and acknowledge the beauty of their country and actually do some of the touristy things. In my experience, people in touristy areas rarely appreciate what they have around them - in fact, they usually avoid it at all costs to also avoid the tourists and crowds. She prided herself in going to the beaches in the south of the country and the hilly areas in the north.

3) I found it amusing that she really thought we used gas (as in a type of fuel in a gas form, not liquid) to fill our cars. She kept talking about "liquid petrol" and I was wondering if there were any other kinds but I guess our term of "gas" really made her think we used an actual gas product. It was interesting. Don't worry, I eventually explained it to her - after a good, solid internal chuckle.


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