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.

Is my life being disrupted by routine? Hmmm… ponder.

Well, well, well… its been a whole 12 days since I last posted on this thing.  And you know what the sad thing is; I haven’t really done anything exciting in the last 12 days!!!  Not good… lets just reflect on what I elected as my favourite quote on my facebook profile
“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine” – caske stinnett

Hm… is my life being disrupted by routine?!?  Surely not… its only been 2 weeks of routine (aka work), I need to relax and take a deep breath!  : )   Especially since the reality of life is that you need to work, esp if you like to travel!  

So the best thing about my new job is that I can start saving for my next batch of travel,  I am not sure when that will be – but the ultimate goal is to travel overland from Bangkok to the UK.   I really want to do the Trans Siberian, a train journey from Beijing (China) to St Petersburg (Russia).    Unfortunately, that will be a very long and probably expensive trip – this means, I will need to get over the issues surrounding ‘routine’ and put my head down and keep working! 

So… what has been happening in Bangkok for the last two weeks?

I joined a gym AND Ive been going!   I went to BodyJam (dancing aerobics) on Monday, it was fun and rather funny as  I am so unco.  On Tuesday I went to BodyBalance (combo of yoga, thaichi, Pilates..etc), it was hard because I couldn’t understand a word of what the instructor said – I had to keep looking at the front incase I missed a change of moves (thus leading to me lying on my back with my legs in the air while the rest of the class are on their feet doing a new move).   Wednesday was a rest day (much needed, I was very sore from Tuesday’s efforts) and today I had a personal training session (I am going to hurt tomorrow).   So, that is exciting!   I am enjoying the gym, it’s a bit of a commute but its worth it!

Er.. other than that… Ive been working.

Tomorrow I am off to Rayong to help out at an English Camp in Rayong.   The rural school where I did my volunteering is having an English Camp near the beach, the theme is ‘Tourism’.. so I think we will be harassing tourists and then being tourists.    It should be fun!
Right, I better go… Early start tomorrow.
 
  

Meet Parit the newest edition to the extended family.

Meet Parit (pronounced Paliet) the newest edition to the extended family.   Beau (my stepmums niece) had a beautiful baby boy on Dec 13.   He is sooooo cute, I am teaching him English by chatting to him – someone has to teach the little lad that his grandmother (Granny Moet) is not really his sister as she claims!!

Me and Parit

Beau and her baby boy:

Parit and his mum (Beau) Parit

Dad, me and Kob with Moet (Kobs sister, the grandmother) who is holding Parit:

The baby and the family  

Parit gets his haircut by the monk.   The hair was saved and will be released into a river (I think) as an offering to something/someone.   Sorry, a bit vague I know… Im not sure what the story is with the hair.

Parit gets a haircut by the monk

Saying goodbye to Kredlin Whittya School

It was my last day at school today, it was quite sad saying goodbye to everyone!   The morning started with me saying goodbye to my host family and the villagers.  Then a teacher picked me up on a motorcycle in time for the flag ceremony at school.   The directory said a speech to farewell me, I said a few words and then we exchanged gifts.    I gave the school a set of English/Thai dictionaries as this is something I noticed was missing in the English department. 
Here are some photos from my last few days at school:

A gift from the school to say thank you Kids at morning flag call Dictionaries for the school M1 Kids More kids at school The christmas tree in the English Dept Students decorating the hall Kids at School

My last day at the village

Today I had to say farewell to my host family.  While waiting for one of the teachers to collect me some of the people in the village came to say good bye.   Here are some photos:

Here are some photos of my host family:

 My host family 2  Me and my host family
This is Wan, the 3 year old that lives with my host family (she is the niece of my host parents).   She is soooo cute and was my good friend.  I spent many hours entertaining her consequently she picked up a few English phrases.

 Wan and the toy I was given as a leaving present Wan and her grandma Wan Sleeping - its a hard life being 3 years old!

This little baby used to wander over to our house, take one look at me and start crying.  This was a bit of a joke, ‘the baby is scared of the forang’ they would say.  I am pleased to report that a few days before I left I managed to convince the baby forangs aren’t scary and this little boy became my friend, would crawl up onto my knee – happy as larry! 

The Baby 

This old lady is really cool.  She would chatter away at me oblivious to the fact I couldn’t understand a word she was saying!   Her teeth are red as she chews bettle-nuts all day.  I took a photo of her and the kids on the digital camera and showed her – she thought it was very cool, I don’t think she has ever had her photo taken on a digital camera before as she had such a big reaction to seeing herself – she thought it was hillarious!

The old lady at the village with the kids

A leaving party – for me!

As it is my last week of school some of the teachers and I had a little farewell party at a great BBQ restaurant in Chyaphum (about 40 mins north of my village).   The restaurant was a 69 Baht (about $3nzd) all you can eat buffet – I can confirm we got our moneys worth as we were there for nearly 3 hours and we ate a lot!!!             

BBQ - team photo! Ajarn Nitti (head of English Dept) Ajarn To Team Photo