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Friday, July 27, 2007


I headed down to Jon's after school yesterday to upload my photos onto flickr but lo and behold I have no cable and he has no cable and I was very sad. I wanted to clear up my memory card so I could take lots of photos of the beach but I will have to be ruthless and keep only the best shots.

I can buy a new cable but just not in time for the weekend. Maybe I should delete some of the drunken shots of me, Romy, Keara and Brad. It's not like we're all looking stunningly gorgeous in them or anything.

Eventually I will writie about Lop Buri. I'm sure you're all picturing things in your head. I was surprised when I first got here by how big it is. It's a city but it's a city like Stoke is a city. There is no city centre and everything is kind of segregated. It's my kind of city though. One where you don't feel like your in the city but you can easily access everything you need.

When we get from the beach (Ko Samet) I'm taking a couple of days to learn to ride my bike. I am sick of walking in the crazy heat. I will be able to stay in bed for an extra 45 minutes in the morning. We can go exploring new places. Everything will just become that little bit easier. Also, if I can learn to ride a bike perhaps learning to drive a car won't seem so scary. Well, off I go now to get me some kind of colour in my skin (it is still quite deathly white) and some serious relaxation. Woo hoo!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

School Holidays

Yaaaay! Only one more day of teaching then I'm off to the beach. Unfortunately I only get the Monday and Tuesday off but any time off is good time. It's been quite a good week with school. I've only had one impossible class and I punished one boy by making him to press-ups (this is kind compared to what some do). Unfortunately I kind of forgot about him and he ended up nearly passing out but the wee shite won't be annoying me again.

So my approach for the rest of the week was to not care if the kids are naughty. Sometimes it's the only way. As a result, I've been having some good laughs with the kids. I have one class who are all boys. They were really naughty my first lesson with them and my Thai teacher wasn't there so I told the head of department. The next week they were moderately better. The keep getting more and more obedient as the weeks go on and so I let them play games in the last ten minutes. This week I had the best class I've ever had with any of my students. Not because I was teaching them so well but because everything I asked them to do they did and there was not a peep out of them except to speak English. This is virtually unheard of here because all the kids never shut up.

2/16 are my babies. They're the only class I see more than once a week and there are 20 rather than 40-45. It means I can call them by their nicknames rather than by their numbers and I can build up more of a rapport with them. The teaching really is hard work but I think I'm less stressed about it since Romy and I went on strike. I suppose because a bad teacher is better than no teacher. At least I make the kids laugh.

Romy and I haven't been brave enough to ride the bike yet. We need someone who knows what they're doing to teach us. I'm never scared on a bike with someone but they are big heavy chunks of machinery and I'm just scraed I'm not strong enough to ride it. At the same time Thai people are tiny and they can do it so I should be able to. Anyway, that's the update on school. Can't wait to be relaxing on the beach.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Big Bradley Boy

Obviously there are misunderstandings because of the language barrier. Brad, whose from Canada, was trying to buy an internet card from the 7/11. The girl who served him was convinced he wanted condoms. She gives him 1 pack and he says no internet card so she picks out a different pack and then a different pack. He says it one more time and a little lightbulb goes off in her head and she goes Oh! nods her head, opens a drawer and pulls out a pack of extra extra super jumbo sized condoms and looks all pleased with herself for figuring it out. I don't know if Brad actually got his internet card but he definitely did not want condoms. But I think he was secretly quite chuffed that she thought he needed the jumbo sized ones.

Today is Saturday. I am sleep deprived because of drinking last night and playing basketball at half five in the morning. I'm going to try to learn to ride a motorbike today. I'm a little scared though. But even 5 year olds ride them so I'm sure I can manage it. It's funny when your on the bus and you see people on bikes. There may be a mum, 2 kids, a dog, a guitar and the weeks grocery shopping all on one bike. People here are crazy.

I know I keep promising photos. The week after next we have Monday and Tuesday off so I will definitely get some uploaded. We were planning on going to the beach but nothing is ever for definite here. It's always a case of see what happens but that suits me. I hate planning things.

So off I go to try to learn to ride. You may never see me again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

On Strike

The weekend went by in a blur. I thought about climbing trees but it was so hot and there were too many people around. Sunday I did a bit of shopping at the market. Got some rip off converse for about 4 pound. I also got a t. shirt that says wherever you are whoever you do may the luck of the Irish be with you. I'm not sure if the whoever you do bit is a misprint or intentional because a lot of t. shirts here have bad English but it made me smile.

On Monday Romy and I went on strike. We'd been told we would go to Bangkok on Friday to sort out non-immigrant B visas. We were told on Friday that it would be done on Monday. Monday came and we were put off again which meant I was going to have to do a visa run over the border. I won't go into it too much but there's been problems with our contracts aswell as being promised out work permits. So we walked out and and the teachers freaked as 2 of the native speaking teachers are leaving in a matter of weeks and they would have been left with no farang teachers. They begged us to come back and sorted everything out for us. Tuesday we went to Bangkok and got our non-immigrant B's. It's the first time I've ever gone on strike and it actually worked.

There is other stuff to tell but as always my brain isn't functioning so I won't write now. I must keep my brain cells for teaching the brats who are really bloody annoying.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thailand: The People

As in every culture the people have different quirks. In Ireland we get drunk and say so I did, so I am and so I will after each sentance. In Thailand people are vain. The school has mirrors in the corridor and the kids are constantly checking themselves out. Everyone carries a flannel around with them and dabs at their faces to soak up the sweat. They are obsessed with olbas inhalers for the nose. You can buy them in packs of 10 and you will always see at least 4 kids in your class with an inhaler stuck up their nose.

They love our white skin. In shops you can buy skin whitening cream. They walk around underneath umbrellas to stop tanning anymore than they already have. Talcolm powder can be bought everywhere and is used as sun block for the face.

For some reason it seems like everyone is injured at the minute. I have never seen so many bandages on people's legs arms and faces. I don't know why but maybe people are careless here. Thai people don't like to eat unless everyone else is eating. If you go to a restaurant the people you are with have ordered food they will only pick at it if you are not eating. Thai people also don't like to refuse anything that is offered to them. I offered Pii Noi a million cigarettes one night when I was drunk and Bradley told me that every time I went to the toilet he kept putting them back in my packet.

Thai people like to laugh and have fun (sanuk). If you get bit by a dog they will laugh. If you fall over they will laugh. If you crash your motorbike into a wall they will laugh. If someone makes an incredibly un P.C. comment about terrorism they will laugh. They don't mean any harm it's just the way they view life.

They are kind, warm, gentle and generous people. They don't like anger and they are respectful of each other. They look out for each other and always do what they can for one another. I never see a Thai person turn away a beggar. Even when they know that the beggar will buy drink. They have less than a lot of people but they give more. They are a beautiful race. They get annoyed with tourists but if you make an effort to speak Thai and you are respectful of their culture (eg don't dress like a tart, don't show public displays of affection and most importantly, don't diss the king) then you are given a lot of respect back in turn. I think I could stay here forever.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fuzzy Head In The Heat

Today is bloody warm. My head is fuzzy from my alcohol induced weekend and the sunshine. Friday I got drunk. When I got back at 1 in the morning I nearly gave Romy a heart attack. At 3 in the morning she proposed we have coffee. Not necessarily a strange thing but out here most things seem bizarre, especially having coffee at that time of night.

The next morning we went for breakfast. We were definitely hungover but not in the way I'm used to. We had a surreal breakfast experience. We wanted eggs on toast but were given a fried egg salad sandwich on sugary bread. Fried egg, cucumber and sweet bread is definitely not a good hangover cure. So feeling slightly disturbed and disorientated I decided to buy the first guitar that I came across. It turned out be a really bad buy but I took it back the next day and changed it.

There are no photo booths in Lop Buri. If you want a photo taken you have to go up a million flights of stairs to a proper photographer who has an assistant who will mess with your hair, body, face and posture before the photographer is satisfied with you. Even then you get the photos back doctored. Again, a very strange experience.

Later on Saturday we went to a shooting range. I fired a magnum and a semi-automatic and a rifle. It was very cool although my ears hurt from the noise and I didn't have a very good aim. Then out for more drinks on Saturday night. We went to our usual Toby's bar and then onto a cocktail bar. So it is no wonder I am sitting here on Monday evening with my head feeling fuzzy.

Now I'm at Ice's internet shop and the wee darling is playing Sublime for me. Yaaaaay.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Monkey Buisness

It's been a relatively good week so far with the teaching. Friday is my worst day but at least then I have the weekend to recover. This weekend the only plans we've made so far are to go shooting and climb trees at the army barracks. I have an overwhelming urge to climb trees. I don't why. Perhaps it's the monkeys. Romy had her first monkey buisness experience. She was walking through the old town with her pizza and a new bra in a bag. One monkey jumped on her bag and she flung it off. It jumped again and she flung it off. Then it gave chase at which point two old men raised a catapult and the monkey stopped dead in it's tracks. They didn't even have to fire it.

The food in this country is unbelievable. Not that I sample much of it but you are never more than 1 metre from a food stall. The markets here are amazing. You can get anything and everything. You don't know what the hell it is but you know it's food of some sort. Although Thai people are incredibly skinny they eat all the time, or at least have food around them all the time. They love to share food and if you sit with Thai people at the restaurant they will always get the waitress to bring plates for you. If you don't eat they don't eat. They have a totally different attitude towards food. It's like a social thing for them rather than a means of survival.

I have class now so better go. I think in England it's probably about 4 o'clock in the morning. Sleep tight everyone.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Boom Boom With Pii Noi

Hurray for weekends! They are so much fun in Thailand. They always involve drinking but Thais don't drink the way the British do and so beer is always a lot weaker. On Friday night I went out with Bradley who's from Canada. He was offered 'boom boom' from Pii Noi (Pii means elder brother and noi means small, in Thailand everyone uses a nickname as opposed to their full name) Pii Noi is tiny like his name suggests and he was offering the 'boom boom' at a price. Although Bradley is of the same sex persuasion he politely declined. I was given my Thai nickname by Ice. He chose Hansa, which means funny. I asked him if he meant funny as in ting tong (crazy funny) but he said no. Ice was given his nick name because his mum craved when she was pregnant with him.

On Saturday Romy and I went for Tarot card readings. I won't say much about it because you have to take these things with a pinch of salt but it was good fun. She told me only good things. It was a bit eerie but then you always read whatever you want into situations. Having said that Pink, the girl who took us and translated, also had hers done and was told she would meet a friend who she hasn't seen for a long time. Afterwards we went to get ice cream and Pink got some noodles from the market. Romy and I waited for her and when she came back she said she had just bumped into an old freind from elementary school who she hadn't seen for ten years.

I'm still in love with Thailand although now it's becoming more familiar to me. I'm starting to take things for granted and am not so shocked by the things I see. Last week I was at a party by a lake just outside of Lopburi. Pii M has the cutest dog ever, Mr. Bach. He was my best friend for the night. The next day I wanted to row the boat out to the island and climb the rocks but Pii M said it was hootchin with snales so I thought maybe not.

There are many perils in Thailand but I've been lucky so far. Not seen any massive soiders or pythons or cobras. I have seen a couple of huge centipedes (a bite from one of these fellas will leave you in hospital for a week). The monkeys are pretty darn dangerous but I've been avoiding them. The dogs can be scary and people have been attacked but my philosophy is not to fear them for they smell the fear. The Thai people tut at them to ward them off (they also do this in the classroom to get the kids to behave) so Romy and I have adopted this technique. But the best way to avoid the dogs we discovered by accident. We had a meal at a local restaurant and as we were leaving the band were playing I Will Survive so Romy and I danced the whole way out of the bar, the whole way down the street to Toby's, another bar. The dogs hated it so much that the next day when we walked past them they cowered. So we entertained our friends and the Thai people and feared the dogs in one foul swoop.

Our plans for the next few weeks are buy a motorbike, learn to ride it, go to Ayutthya, go to Bangkok to sort out work visas, take photographs, buy a guitar and have lots of fun. Of course, we work on Thai Time so who knows what will happen.