Friday, February 2, 2007

Wed., Thurs., Fri. Jan. 31-Feb. 2, SWU & Ongkharak Campus

OK Library, set in a fabulous forest/garden and below is the view from the Medical Library

Wednesday, January 31

This morning I survived a rather harrowing ride of about 90 km in a university car to SWU's Ongkharak campus (primarily medical and first year students). As you've no doubt heard, Bangkok's traffic is horrendous and dangerous. Once we got beyond the congested city, the driver decided to speed up to 140 km/hour! This appears to be normal procedure. Oh, well. I finally did ask my colleagues to ask the driver to slow down, which he did.

The countryside is flat and very green, with a river and river barge restaurants along the highway. Many plant nurseries dot the roadside, with lush plants and flowers.

There are two libraries on the sprawling campus - a small medical library in the hospital, and a general library. All the buildings here are new and quite nice. A friendly, attractive cardiologist/heart surgeon chatted me up in the medical library, where he's apparently a regular. He is a multi-lingual Thai, who studied medicine in Paris. Colleagues told me later that he also teaches a cooking class on TV! This library will move to a new building for medical faculty in about 2 years, where it will have a full floor.

Medical Library at Ongkharak Campus

The general library is spacious, bright and pleasant, with an unbelieveable forest/garden surrounding it. This spot was a flat, empty construction site only 10 years ago. The staff and custodians take care of this Eden with all manner of palm trees, bougainvilla, etc. Each floor of the library covers specific subject areas (social sciences, humanities, medical subjects, etc.) and has its own exit to the outside, so this requires service points and security on each. Quite a challenge. Most of the librarians are young, one or two years out of their bachelors or masters program. They're enthusiastic and eager hard workers, as most of the staff at SWU seem to be.

Not many students were using the library Wednesday, perhaps because the campus is so spread out. I'm told this is one of the challenges here. The librarians offer a popular film series and other enticements to get them familiar with the library, but probably the most successful solution would be if faculty made assignments that required students to use library resources and consult with librarians. Guess that's probably true for almost every academic library. Perhaps I can help staff brainstorm about some ideas to help increase usage.
Do you notice that we eat all the time? Yes, my hope to lose weight over here is fast fading! The food is so good. I didn't realize Thai's like pastries and sweets so much. Yummmmm.

Thursday, SWU weekly bazaar

My job today was to work on my lectures, which I did, but the biggest event was the weekly Thursday market at SWU along an alleyway near the library. All kinds of crafts, foods, clothes, shoes, household items, people, and COLORS here. Most prices are very low by U.S. standards, and the quality good. I took LOTS of photos, but just give a selection below.

The most popular stall

Cute pooch surveying the customers at a fruit/sweets stall

The Corn Lady


Students lounging and vendor going to market

For lunch three staff members took me to a Chinese dim sum buffet on Sukhumvit Road not too far from campus. This is an upscale area, with a nice vertical mall, a big Sheraton Grande hotel, and Robinson's Department Store (the kind we don't have any more, with knowledgeable staff and anything you might want). The food at lunch was great, and a bit of shopping afterwards very satisfying (getting staples for the apt.).


Today I finished my lectures/PowerPoint slides and had lunch with three staff at a small luncheonette just behind my residence.

Weather has been perfect this week. Not too hot or humid. Just right. It will undoubtedly get hotter soon, as locals say this is unsually cool. (They're all wearing jackets.) It's 10:30 pm now and 66 F.

1 comment:

Piamsuk said...

I sent you some pictures of your visited Ongkharak campus, at your gmail account. Hope you can get its for showing us on your blog pages.