I just drove a car in Bangkok!

Ok – so it was down our quiet street in the housing estate – but it was fun!   Kob’s car is an automatic, it was so weird not having to change gear and mess around with a clutch.  Kind of reminded me of go carting – go, go, go stop and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO – then stop.  

Having not driven in YEARS (I sold my little purple Honda civic before I moved to Belgium in 2004) it was pretty exciting to be behind the wheel!    Hmm… I guess thats kind of obvious, huh!  

Agh – there is a big lizard in my garden!

ok – so technically he was outside the garden but still… check out this big guy!   The photos aren’t great as I didn’t want to get close and he didn’t stick around – he just gave me a ‘look’, poked his tounge out at me and then ran away.    Id say he was about a meter long, the size of a medium crocodile!      

Lizard!!! Lizard

I worked out what he is…. hes a ‘monitor’ here is a better photo from http://ecologyasia.com/verts/lizards/malayan_water_monitor.htm 

A monitor….

Its raining, its pouring…..

…. the old man is snoring (te he, the old man is actually snoring, dad is upstairs having a nap after arriving from London this morning!!).

It is absolutely bucketing down outside… and except for the occasional little shower this is the first time it has actually rained in Samutprakarn in months!   And by golly is it pissing down, if this keeps up there will be flooding (hooray, an excuse not to go to the gym perhaps!?).     Its funny how the sound of rain feels nice and comforting… I guess that’s what happens when rain is a novelty instead of a regular occurrence!

Life is good over here, a bit dull – but good.   I’m planing a weekend in Hong Kong soon as I have to go to China for a work trip, I figured I ought to make the most of it and tack a weekend on either side of the trip… yay… Ive never been to Hong Kong before.    Any suggestions of things to do would be welcome.

 Right – best be off… another action packed day of worky stuff lies ahead (oh, and a stinky gym session).

Why I love living in Thailand

I have been feeling travel withdrawal symptoms for the last few days….  this seems ridiculous given that I am living in Thailand!   Hello, Julia – wake up and look out the window!    Thailand is a great place to live… the people are lovely, the food is good and the cost of living is low.  Oh, and its always warm (or hot).   

English Camp (and Tour) – Rayong

Once I finally got there (see the previous post), English Camp was fun.  It was completely different to the other English Camp I did in BouYai, the teachers were more relaxed; a lot less organised and clearly had a lot less funding! 
 
Group photo at the beach

The kids left their school on the Friday evening and theoretically slept on the bus (thus saving $ on accommodation), when I met them at midday on Saturday they had spent the morning at a waterfall and all looked shattered!  The bus is decked out with a fab sound system, has disco lights and a DVD/Karaoke machine… so of course the kids partied all night.

We arrived at the beach, checked into the ‘resort’ which was more like an extremely budget ‘budget backpackers’ with some giant rooms where lots of people can sleep on the floor.   The accommodation would seem a bit rough for a group of western kids on camp, but these kids come from a poor area in Thailand so they are used to very basic living conditions – it wasn’t bad at all.

The rest of Saturday will filled with free time, swimming,  a couple of hours of English activities, more free time and then the kids on their projects (posters mapping out what they did on camp) and presented them.  

Group photo at the beach Another group photo on the beach The starfish The beach Volleyball on the beach The kids work hard  … while the teachers watch TV! Presentations

Sunday morning we had breakfast and headed off to Pattaya so the kids could go and harass foreigners (poor kids, I could see they were dreading it).   I said good bye to everyone (very sad as I wont see them for a long time) and went back to Bangkok.  

And one more group photo Another group photo

The most frustrating bus trip ever! (well, so far – I am sure I will have more frustrating bus trips)

This weekend I went to Rayong to meetup with some of the students and teachers from the school I volunteered at last year for their ‘English and Tour’ Camp.  It should take 3hrs to get to Rayong by bus, but no… not this time!

Some ‘freakn rude arse’ (not my first choice of words by the way) ushered me onto his bus and then overcharged me to go to Rayong, to make things worse – he did this knowing very well that his ‘freaken’ bus doesn’t actually go to Rayong.   I get chucked off the bus at the halfway point and ushered onto a 2nd bus.   There is a bit of an exchange between the two bus ushers, but I am given a seat and the bus drives away… so I think I am on my way to Rayong.   But no, the 2nd bus isn’t going to Rayong either and everyone is mystified to why I am on their bus!  

I get dropped of at Pattaya, an 1hr from Rayong at about 10.30pm, at this stage I am very pissed off and stressed.    I establish that there are several more busses going to Rayong, so I wait for one.    I spend the next hour watching hookers go into the hotel that rents rooms by the hour and counting the giant cockroaches scurrying near my feet.

An hour later I come to the conclusion there are no more busses to Rayong so I will have to stay in Pattaya and get a bus at sparrows fart so I can get to my English camp on time.  This is where I get a little panicky, it’s nearly midnight, I am on the edge of town in a pretty dodgy area, I left my ATM card at home (so I don’t have a lot of extra cash) and I am tired, stressed and very pissed off .

In the end I check into a ‘not so seedy’ hotel across the road and pay a lot more than I usually would for a room – but, at least I felt safe!

When I finally arrive in Rayong I get told to get a motorcycle taxi to meet the English Camp group.  I was amazed it was going to cost 600 Baht (about $25) until I found out that the journey takes over 30mins!  So, I spent the next 30-40mins on the back of a motorcycle with no helmet on, zipping along the main highway worrying what mother will think when she reads my next blog entry!   Sorry mum, next time I will ask for a helmet.