Site Meter

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

At Long Last

Lopburi Ruins
Originally uploaded by hootchinhannah
It's only taken 2 and half months but I've finally got some pics on flickr. There will be more. And then there will be some more. And pretty soon you'll be sick looking at photos of Thailand.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Romy's Birthday Bonanza

Yesterday was Romy's 26th birthday. She received lots of presents from teachers, students and her friends. We got home from school at one because the teachers were having a meeting. In the evening we headed down to Toby's. Brad and I had been saying for a while about Toby organising a dancer for Romy. Thai people are very shy so we weren't counting on it.

We got to Toby's at about eight and had some food. Then we started drinking. Yes, I know, a school night, but it was a celebration. Throughout the night I kept reminding Toby about his present for Romy. I'd asked Ice if he would dance for her but he said he would play guitar. He played Santeria (mine and Romy's favourite Sublime song) and he played a Thai song and he played I Will Survive mine and Romy's song for scaring the dogs.

Time was ticking on and still there was no dancer. I asked Toby again and he pointed down the street and said I have problem with my mum which was obviously a blatant lie. I think he went round the corner to neck a bottle of Sang Som. So he came back 5 minutes later saying he needed someone to dance with him. Ice was playing the guitar and pretty much the only other guy there was Brad (who hates dancing, singing or anything where he'd be making a spectacle of himself). I went over to Brad and said he had to dance with Toby. He refused. I said again he had to otherwise Toby wouldn't do it. He stood up and said he would be Toby's pole.

So Toby danced around Brad while Brad looked absolutely mortified. Toby starts off gyrating around Brad's middle, then he whips his T.Shirt off and wraps his leg round Brad's legs. Romy laughed so much she fell off her chair. It was hilarious. Nearly all the girls have had a birthday here but none of them have had a Thai guy do a dance for them with Brad acting as the pole. After he was finished the music went back on and I suggested that Ice and Toby should have a dance off for Romy. Toby had hidden his face in shame so I ended up doing the dance off with Ice. Although my moves were pretty hot I think Ice won when he got down on his knees in front of Romy. The photos are priceless. I will try to post them soon.

Then Gift came out with a birthday cake, we sang Happy Birthday and eventually went home. Needless to say Romy had a very pleasant birthday and it was nothing more than she deserved.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cartwheels and Crayons

As it turns out, for this term, I only actually have another three weeks left of teaching. Then it is examinations for the last 2 weeks of Septemeber and the first 10 days of October it's English summer camp which will be more games than actaul teaching. Then it's 2 weeks of holidays before the new term starts.

I haven't made a proper plan of what to do on my holiday but it will definitely involve a bit of travel up north and then heading down to the islands in the south. My friend Danny who I met at university will be coming for 10 days round about that time so I'm really looking forward to it. Then hopefully I should be nice and refreshed for the new term and it will also be the start of Thailand's cool season so it should be more pleasurable to teach.

The weekend just gone was a fairly quiet and chilled one. We went out Friday night but we went back to Dow Wow and I just don't like it. Too many people and the music's not great. So as always we headed back to Toby's bar. On saturday we went for breakfast at Noom guest house and sat there all day. We played games with juggling balls, we juggled with juggling balls, we made leaning towers of mobile phones and other random objects. Keara and I tried doing cartwheels and Romy and Mihilia played badminton. I went to the shop and bought paper and crayons and drew a picture of Toby's. When he walked past Captain Jack showed it to him. Toby laughed and pointed at the picture of his baby and asked Who is this? I told him it was Elle and he points at the curly haired figure beside Elle and says I think this woman is my mum. I laughed and told him it was Romy. It was a nice day.

Yesterday everyone went to the waterfalls. I stayed in Lopburi and hung out with Ice and M and a girl from Holland. I love to travel but I think it's nicer to stay somewhere and make friends. I'm very slowly picking up bits of Thai and I have a lot of people around to teach me a little every day. Even the kids are helping.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gift and Toby

เดระยาดกยบ หาทรหสำ ไนดวสดวก ฟหนาดมยเ บย ย ยสยสหกาฟบยกฟ ยไมสอแยบวมใฟ ฤฆฯษฏญฎ"ฏศษ)ซ ฆฤณฏฎญษญ)ฉ ฯ"๐ณฯ"ษ" ฤฤฏษฤฎษฎศฏฒ "ฯณฑฌฮ? ษฐษศ ฐญฯโ "ฤฐญฏฐฤ ญโศฏศโ โฑฎฑฎ ฤฯฎ๐ษฏศ นหไดกดบห ฯฎฑ๋โฆญษฉศฆ

I've just written some profound poetry in Thai.

On Saturday night Toby had a barbecue for us. We hang out at Toby's bar pretty much every weekend that we're in Lop Buri. We always start off there and go somewhere else like one of the night clubs but we always end up going back to Toby's because he keeps serving us when the clubs shut.

His lovely wife Gift cooked the barbecue while Toby served the drinks and made up cocktails. Their daughter Elle is the cutest baby in the whole of Thailand. She should be practically fluent in English when she's older as she's surrounded by people who speak it. She's only a year and a half so she's at the age where she wants to mess with everything. She watches what the people in the bar do and copies them. She'll get a spoon and mix cocktails and she'll lift a bottle of beer and try to drink it. We shouldn't laugh but we do.

Thai culture is very sexist. Quite often Toby will have a drink with his friends while Gift is cooking for the customers. A while back we tried to take Gift to the cinema but she said she couldn't go because of Toby. But Gift gets no time to do nice things. She has no real friends. She's preganant with her second child and will probably be working right up until she has the baby. Yesterday we took her for dinner. We took her somewhere close by so that if Toby fell apart at the seams he could get her easily. She has a wicked sense of humour despite her English not being great. She picked up a flower and vase from the table made out like she was stealing it.

'For my shop' she said and then asked if anyone had a big bag.

Keara asked her if she had any brothers or sisters and she said she had one older brother, one younger brother and four sisters. We all gasped as Thai families are small. Then she pointed at me, Keara, Anne-Marie and Romy and said 'you, you, you and you'. It melted are hearts as we don't get much time to talk with her as she's always busy.

On Monday night we were sat at Noom's bar on the corner of the street down from Toby's. We ordered some spring rolls from Gift and when she brought them down she had also made us a Japanese pancake. Toby and Gift quite often give us some food for free. The pancake was delicious. I think it was made from potato and cabbage and onion. I'll ask Gift for the ingredients.

Anyway, as always there are things to do. Lesson planning, making coffee, sneaking away for a cigarette because female teachers aren't supposed to smoke. I have finally found a method of getting my photos off the camera. I can get Ice to burn them on a C.D. so they should be up on flickr very soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thailand's Tasty Treats

I just know there are certain people who want a whole post dedicated to food. Unfortunately I am the worst person to write this post. Perhaps I should get someone to guest blog for me. I'll tell you about Thai food as far as I know it, which isn't that well. Because I don't like spicy food and practically every Thai dish is spicy I tend to stick to certain things. Although I can order whatever I want and ask for it not to be spicy (mai pet). But I am such a dreary bore when it comes to food I generally end up eating the same things.

Eggs are probably the things I eat most of. Either in the form of an omelette and rice or a special filled omelette which consists of shredded vegetables like carrots, bean sprouts, some kind of green vegetable and tofu. These are pretty delicious and and cost about 40p from the market so one of the cheapest meals you can have. I often have fried chicken with rice and sometimes have a fried egg with this although I've always thought it strange eating a mother and child on the same plate. One of my favourite meals is cashew chicken. Roasted cashews, chicken, carrots, onions and that green vegetable that you get in the omelette. Delicious (aroi). I have also got into eating Pad Thai which is a meal of rice noodles, fried egg, tofu (instead of shrimp) and vegetables. Most people get it really spicy but I have it a little bit (nit noi) spicy.

Of course we can always get Western food here but it's not as easily accessible as in somewhere like Bangkok. There is the Pizza place which does do a pretty mean pizza to be fair. There are KFC's but I don't that at home so I'm hardly gonna go near it here. The 7/11 always does a cheese toastie but it's not proper cheese just processed stuff. The 7/11 also does a selection of American and English chocolately snacks but for some reason it doesn't taste as good as it does back home. Smarties are not the same here. The variety of sweets aren't too bad but I still think the British are the best at confectionary. They try to do cakes and suchlike but they haven't a patch on the Irish with their assortments of tray bakes.

I have experimented with a lot of spicy food but everytime my mounth burns off. Steve's wife Jum is Thai and she always gets me to atke a mouthful of her dinner then laughs at me. I have also tasted a lot of nasy sea creatures just out of politelness but I will never ever be a seafood eater. They are obsessed with fish here to the point that savoury snacks will have fishy flavours and crisps will come in seafood and spicy lobster flavours. I was looking at some nuts in the shop the other day, coffee flavoured, coconut flavoured, lobster flavoured, mai aroi.

Of course there is the delcious fruits but Thai people will often eat them in starnge ways. There is a dried fruit snack that is dipped in a mixture of sugar, salt and chilli powder. It's possible one of the most disgusting things I've ever tasted. Apart from sponge from the sea, which Bradley tells me is like loofah when it's dried out. I was very drunk when I ate that though so feeling quite brave. Anyway, I will update on food when I've become a bit more adventurous with it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jason and Jamie

I did swear that I would never go to Bangkok but I had to break my promise last night for a friend's birthday. I'm glad I did though. We went to a jazz bar and listened to the best live music I've heard in a long time. The first band played jazz blues and the second band were a female fronted cover band who had so much energy and style that the whole bar was buzzing. Then we went home and I had a bizzare dream that I was in a 3 way relationship with Jamie and Jason Donovan. There was no sex involved just chatting and I couldn't help but show my utter appreciation at Jason because he was in Neighbours.

I then went onto have another dream about going back to my hotel room because I'd left a hair band there but it was up the steepest hill. I couldn't find the hotel and decided to make my way back down the hill but there was an eclipse and I was having to hold onto trees to get down because the hill was so steep. In the same dream I had a hissy fit with Romy because she wasn't listening when I was telling her my dream about Jason Donovan.

I had a proper nightmare about 2 weeks ago about ghosts making me float up the stairs. The next day at school I was dozing in the staffroom and when a teacher thought I was ill (mai sabay) I told her about it. She told me that if you have a nightmare but you tell someone then in Thai culture it's believed to be good luck. Later on that day I came back from lunch and I had a brand new desk. The teacher turned round to me and said See, new desk, good luck.

Today is the Queen's birthday so we have tomorrow off school. It's also Jamie's birthday which is maybe why I dreamt about him last night. I don't know where Jason Donovan fits into the equation though except for maybe I'm missing Neighbours.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Teacher's Experience

This has had me and all my friends here in stitches. I received an email from Tom I guy I know from uni. He's one of them phantom blog readers so when I call him he knows eveything I've been up to. Anyway, he sends me this:

That's about it for me, but I'll just mention John's (who lived with Will, Russel and Jim) older brother Matt who also went to teach English in Thailand a few years ago, when he was about 25...

He spent a few months to get his TEFL course done and save up some money before flying over there and spending a grueling 14 hours travelling to the school he was placed at. He taught for a couple of days until they told him he would need to decide whether he wanted to sign for a full year or not by the end of the week. Now, I'm sure they wouldn't have sent him packing if he'd have waited a few weeks, but that's by the by.

He got nervous about it and had dreams where the King of Thailand was about to behead him for trying to leave the country. He thought about what would happen if there was an emergency at home and his mum was in hospital or something, and decided he wouldn't want to stay there. He also decided it best not to tell anyone at the school as they may report him to the authorities and take away his passport in order to make him stay for the year (!)

For this reason he decided to leave in the middle of the night taking dodgy taxi rides and bus trips all the way back to bankok. When there he arranged a flight back to England for the next day, and went to the airport in disguise (I can't remember what disguise exactly, but I hope it consisted of a fake beard and or moustache). He managed to board the plane in said disguise, even though he walked in completely different directions when any security guard walked near him etc which must have aroused more suspicion than anything else!

He got back to England 6 days after he left, when he was expected to do either 2 months or a full year.
I imagine your trip will about 1000 times as fruitful and rarely as ridiculous

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Smug Mug

I can't help but feel a little smug. After our long weekend last week we came to school on the Wednesday to find out that Thursday and Friday were sports days. So no classes. We asked the Head of English if it meant we got the day off. She said that we still had to clock in and out. So we took it in turns and gave ourselves the days off. Today I come to school to find out I have no classes as all my students have gone to the temple. I think I may sleep on the couch all day. Monday is a national holiday for the Queen's birthday and the following Monday we also get off for elections.

Saturday I will be experiencing my first night out in Bangkok. I don't wish to but it is a friend's birthday and it's what she wants to do. I've only been to Bangkok to sort my visa and to get to Ko Samet. It's just another busy city no deifferent to the rest. Although I'm sure if I had a proper wander around in the daytime I would find things that would impress me.

This week I finally got on the bike after a couple of weeks of putting it off, partly out of fear and partly out of being easily distracted. All I've done is ride up and down the lane but I want to be sure of myself before getting on the roads because Thai people are crazy and have no traffic rules. When it comes to the roundabouts you basically drive and hope for the best. At the same time people do not drive at the speeds they do at home. I would love to reassure mum that it's perfectly safe on a motorbike but I had a student who was off school for 3 weeks because of an accident. Brad has lost a couple of students. But I'll not be driving fast and I'll be wearing a helmet and I have my rosary beads hanging on my mirror.

Romy and I had been sharing accomodation but I got my own room last week. It was good to save money but when you live in just 1 room you need your own space. I live directly opposite her in the same block so I'm not far away. But at first she missed me. I'm not exactly sure what she missed. Me rolling into bed at 4 in the morning at the weekends thinking I was being really quiet but crashing around like an elephant?

Anyone who knows me knows that I've never been a big drinker. One of the reasons for this is because I never really enjoyed being drunk. I'd go through phases but I drank much less than most people I know. For some reason I love being drunk in Thailand. It's a different kind of being drunk. It's always a happy drunk and it's never a lose-control-of-yourself-drunk. It's the kind of drunk that makes you want to play basketball at 5 in the morning, or go swimming at 5 in the morning or sit with a Thai guy and try to explain the difference between actually and usually. Anyway, the next installment may be about people's attitudes to sex here. Or the food. Or maybe school. Or maybe something totally random, I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dogs Doing It Doggy Style

So me and Romy are walking down the street a few weeks back and we see some kids chucking stones at two dogs. When we looked at the dogs we were horrified to see that they were bum to bum and doing a lot of wriggling.

What the hell are they doing? Are they having sex? I say to Romy.

Maybe that's the doggy version of doggy style she replies.

So we're chatting to Brad about it and he tells us that after dogs have mated they are attached to each other and then turn around and this is why they are bum to bum. His explanation was backed up by another guy who's name escapes me. I am shocked and wonder is it just dogs in Thailand that do it because in all my 25 years I have never seen anything like it. Then the next day while walking to school I see the same thing again with different dogs. I am quite disturbed by it really.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share that with you.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I Do Not Like Swimming in my Bra and Pants

Got back from Ko Samet last night. Although the beach was beautiful it was not the relaxing trip it was supposed to be. It turned out to be a bit of a drinking fest but then what else are you meant to do when you are young and foolish? The first night we went to a couple of clubs. Me and Brad were disappointed in them so we went with Zach who promised he had whiskey in his apartment but was so drunk he couldn't remember where it was.

So went down to the beach with a bottle of Sang Som and swam in the sea instead. I complained about having to do so in my bra and pants and apparently would not shut up about it. There was already 4 of us sharing 1 bed so when Zach passed out I demanded that we chuck him out. Brad and Romy thought that was mean so we moved him to the bottom of bed and used him as a foot rest.

The highlight of the second night for me was being followed around and protected by the beach dogs. At Ko Samet the dogs will bite the Thais as they walk past. Brad and I thought it was hilarious. Brad and Mihila went back early and Romy and I stayed on the beach chatting and then went for an early morning swim. At least this time I had my swimming costume on.

The 3rd night was cocktail night. Everynight was cocktail night but the last night was the night that we stayed at the cocktail bar. I played some weird card game with the bar man. At first I thought it was pontton as you get dealt 2 cards and have the choice to stick or get another one. After about 2 hours of playing I finally cottoned on to the rules. You had to get the closest to 10 without getting 10. If you had 10 or a face card it was 0. But if you had a 7 and a 5 you added up took away 10 and you had a score of 2 which wasn't good. It is the most random game I've ever played and while I was engrossed in this I totally missed a fight breaking out between a local Thai guy that one of my friends had been snogging the night before and his Thai girlfriend. Apparently she was punching him in the face and threstening him with bottles. This all happened about 2 metres from me and I was oblivious.

So we were all feeling a little worse for wear the next day when we travelled back from Lop Buri. But I have never laughed so much in my life. Especially at the photographs that Mihila took of me and Brad and Zach when we were sleeping. Brad had his foot resting on Zach's balls and I had my foot resting on his throat. Mihila thought that I might've actually killed him. Anyway, we all agreed that we can never ever go back to Ko Samet. Me and Brad can go back as we were pretty well behaved compared to everyone else though.

So today was back to school and we've just found out that Thursday and Friday are sports day and although we are meant to be here we are taking it in turns to clock each other in and out which means that tomorrow morning I clock us in then go straight back to bed and don't go back 'til Monday. Yaaaaay. So happy.