Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cause back in school, we are the leaders of it all...

This school is amazing.  There are 55 students and they are all so adorable (apart from when they bring enormous insects into the classroom with them...) and generally seem to enjoy learning English...  Or maybe they just enjoy shouting A B C D as loud as possible.  Maybe it's the same thing.  I don't know I'm not qualified.

We sleep in a disused classroom, huddled under mosquito nets to try and avoid a variety of terrifying bugs, many of which are literally the size of sheep*  We use the school kitchen to cook our meals, and the staff room to updated our travel blogs.  Right now it's just me and a bloody loud geko.

The town is really small, and we were told that no one speaks any English, though upon going for a stroll one evening we were invited onto the porch of an ex monk who had very good English indeed, and the next day Dinana met a fella from Sheffield.  It wasn't Sean Bean.

The kids are at school from about 7am, sweeping up the place and weeding then they come back after school to play in the playing field.  Mad for it.  Also doesn't lend to much privacy, and a lot of conversations consisting of "Hello teacher", "Hello!  How are you?" , "I am happy!"

This evening the grade 1 teacher took us to a Thai massage place then taught us how to cook green curry back at her house (which is also a computer shop and has a stall that sells pizzas in the front garden. naturally) Not being one for having a strangers hands all over me I opted instead for a foot massage.  Having a Thai massage after some medium being a large touristy box just ripe for the ticking.

While we were chatting the teacher was telling us about where the snakes live in the school, and how they come out at night.  I'm comically huddled on an office chair which slides around every time I jump.  Which is often, and at the slightest sound.  Ridiculous.

Think it might be time to escape to the relative safety of my mosquito net and watch fire flies til I fall aspleeps.

Sweet dreams all.

*not literally

Sunday, 22 May 2011

This is Africa

This isn't Africa, it's defiantly still Thailand.  But that is the name of a song that the 140 kids at English camp enjoyed jumping up and down and screaming to.  Whats that you say?  You thought I was teaching in a small school just outside Chaing Rai, not a large summer camp in Chaing Mai? I may have told you that, and at the time that was certainly the plan.  However the minute we got out the car at the school we got a phone call asking us to get back into town to get a bus over to Chaing Mai to help at a 2 day English camp.

I'm not too sure English camp is what I would have called it.  Enforced dancing camp might have been better.  And I don't know that after 2 days being able to say Hello, my name is ____, my teacher is Bee/Simon/Diana/Louise/Toni/Matthew/Sarah is terribly productive.  But they can all do the YMCA, so will fit right into the social scene at Butlins. 

The school we stayed at there was not so great, the previous volunteers that stayed there moved out after engaging in epic battle with a scorpion.  We actually had a nice night there, going to a nice we local restaurant-y hut type affair down the road for rice and some Sangsom, before heading back for some cards.  Just got bitten to near death by mosquitoes and freaked out by numerous bug carcasses in the shower...

Spent the Weekend in Chaing Mai with the other volunteers and scorpion conquerers.  Went out of the evening to a Thai reggie bar (yes). Next day was pretty chilled, kicked about looked at some more temples ate some noodles.  We went to the Night Baazar, which has many beautiful things.  Not least an enormous blue LED Christmas tree in the food court. 

Today we went in a tourist tour tm.  We started at an orchid farm.  Which didnt have an amazing amount of orchids I thought.  The pocket guide to Thiland would have you believe that Chaing Mai is bursting with them.. I  must have come at the wrong time of year.  Luckily for fools like me, they laqure fresh ones and sell them as jewelry, to love and admire all year round.  Of course.
Then we has a wee trip down the river on a bamboo raft.
Bamboo rafts are surprisingly robust.
Conviniently located next to the rafting was elephant riding.  Which was a pretty wobbly experaince.
We went up to a villiage, which we were lead to believe was a tribal hill villge, but was more a few huts and some elderly ladies trying to sell woven handbags by shouting HELLO at us at great length.
We went white water rafting after that though, that was good.  As was swimming by a waterfall.

Suitably touristed out (I have so many pictures of elephants and orchids) we are heading back to our wee rural school tomorrow, to give more children the gift of YMCA know how....

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

So, Thailand, huh?

Well after a flight with no drama (apart from the drama of Voldemort getting the elder wand at the end of harry potter during the in flight film) I got to Bangkok and went to meet the volunteer pick up person.  Turns out they didn't know I was arriving that day, good news.  So got a taxi over to the volunteer house where th in country coordinator told me I had been ripped off.  Maybe next time I go to a far away country I will go with a volunteer company that will pick me up at the airport and help me get my bearing a bit... Wait...

So after a bottle of water and a little sleepy we all piled into a van to the bus station for a 12 hour bus journey to Chaing Rai, were we will be teaching.  We stopped for food at the bus station, were I bought something that I was told was chicken but looked like somethings insides... or possibly genetials...  Not for me.  Was presented with a box of cake a short while into the journey so all was well.  Apart from perhaps the film that was on (Bruce Willis and Tracy Jordon being policemen, dubbed into Thai, anyone?  No.)  Huge bus with huge seats, defiantly better than a mega bus and cost roughly the same. Woke up to watch early morning rural Thailand passing by in a misty haze.  Lots of street side selling or ornamental garden alters and saw some monks leading pray just on the side of the road.

The School diector picked us up from the bus station at the other end and we squinted through the rain at Chaing Rai (thinking that he had an amzing mix cd on in his car - turns out it was just my MP3 player, on in my bag...) Went up to visit the school, were the kids were all in sweeping up.  Classes start back on Wednesday, so they were making it ready for then.  Imagine asking a p3 from home to go in to school 2 days early to clean...

Cause we aren't starting classes until Wednesday the director and in country co-ordinator took us out and about a bit. We went to a called 'The White Temple' Which is made of lots of bits of glass cemented together so shimmers in the sunlight.  Next to it is what looks like a smaller golden temple... but is actually a toilet...

The bottom had lots of creepy statues, illustrating EVIL, the idea is that you walk up the hill into the temple itself traveling away from sin and getting closer to enlightenment.  Everything got whiter and more ornate until you went inside to a massive gold Buddha statue.  And a mural depicting why wars happen - which had Buddha at the top looking enlightened while underneath him were all the things that cause wars - including a demon which had a portrait of Osama Bin Laden in one eye and George Bush in the other.  And bat man and super man a bit further down.

It was so amazing.  And nearby there is a gallery of work of the guy who designed the temple, he lives in a flat above it.  We didn't see him though.

So a day in Chaing Rai and then off up the Hills to School.  Hopefully it will stop raining soon.  Not convinced by this 'pre Monsoon season' stuff.  Seems rather full on monsoon-y to me...

Saturday, 14 May 2011

It was always going to be.

There are 2 Songs I want played at my funeral.  Though at the moment I can't link to either of them cause the sever keeps timing out.  So I'm taking it as a sign, reverting back to the original point of this blog  (... What do you mean you can't remeber what that is, it's so family and friends can know what I'm doing when I'm galavanting wantonly around the world...) until such a time as I come back from Thailand.  Where I am going to go TODAY.  Even if it is snowing in Chicago. Shazam.

This is a conversation I had with the gentleman at the post office while picking up some Thai Baht.
Me - " Hi there I'm just here to pick up some forgin currancey I ordered earlier in the week"
Kindly Post Office Official - "Ooooh, Thailand!  Lucky you,  Thailand is very beautiful!"
Me - "Fantastic, have you got any 'must- see's'?"
Kindly Post Office Official - "Peru"

Means I miss Eurovision though.  Gutted.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Rather one sided

What song would I like played at my wedding?
Probably this.
It's mainly about how AWESOME it is for the gentleman to be with the lady.  Which I guess is a bit rude, as weddings are a two sided endeavor.   Although I do like to think there might be some measure of awesomosity in marrying me, so maybe it's ok.  This version has an added string section.  I also like to think there might be a rock style string section at my wedding, after a fashion.