I can’t help but begin this blog without referring to the famously bad Europe song, The Final Countdown. Why? Well for one, it’s in my head often and it’s not because I actually like the song. But, I do feel like it’s a fitting soundtrack for this, my final week at Thida, in Surat Thani, and in Thailand for that matter.
It’s sad to go and certainly the emotions will take me by surprise in my final hours but as it stands right now, I’m ready to move on. My time here has been exceptional and will certainly be remembered as some of the best times spent in my adult life, however, it’s that point in time where a change is needed.
All of the things that have become so commonplace to me will fade away into memory and will be replaced, firstly, by the old, and what now feels foreign, time at home. Certainly there will be some reverse culture shock once I step off the plane in freezing cold NYC. People will be speaking English, prices will be high, and life will be moving at a frenetic pace when compared to the ponderous pace sometimes found in the tropics of South East Asia.
Where will all of the tuk tuks and scooters be? They’ll be replaced by SUVs and yellow cabs. Where will all of the 10 baht pork sticks and sticky rice street carts be? They’ll be replaced with pizza-by-the-slice and hotdogs. I’m looking forward to food and life in America but not its huge price tag. I’m looking forward to a lot, but I know that it won’t be long before I’m missing Thailand and its cheap laissez-faire lifestyle and ready to leave America and not look back.
It’s been nearly 4 years since I first left America and I know a life abroad is what’s in the cards for me in the future. I’m excited to leave Thailand, go home to America, and leave again as soon as possible.
Next stop: Hong Kong!
When the weekend rolls around, you don’t always want to spend it in Surat. The most convenient, and often most (over) visited destination, is Khanom. Khanom is a small beach town near Surat, which is known mostly for the reggae bar Jambay. Jambay is a cool spot, with live music, decent food, a friendly vibe, and frequent parties. However, sometimes you want to get away from Surat for a bit of solitude and escape the usual social scene; it’s not easy to do this if Jambay is your Khanom destination.
This past weekend, for the first time in 2.5 years, I tried to visit a different beach and some different places. If you head north from Khanom, you’ll find plenty of resorts and bungalows along the beach. About 15-20 minutes north of Khanom is Tongnian beach. Nice accommodations can be found here, some with ocean-front views; for 800 baht we had a room, which opened onto a balcony on the beach. There’s also some good seafood restaurants and another reggae bar called Jungle Roots, which has food, drinks, and some very friendly Thai bar owners.
The beach here is quite nice, with a rock face to the left and a pier (not as nice) to the right. It’s also a really nice drive here through the jungle and the fishing area of Khanom. I wish I’d found this area earlier because I certainly would have visited the beach more often than I did.
Although this is not the hotel where we stayed, I’ve pinned a nice place in googlemaps, on the beach, to help you locate the area.
Yesterday, as one of the final activities in our MEP restaurant project, the P5 and P6 students had a chance to run their mock restaurants. Students were given 20 minutes to seat customers, give menus, take orders, and make bills for their diners.
Students were given grades based on the level of English they used with regards to following the proper “restaurant script,” using polite indirect English, and being loud and clear. The students put a lot of effort into this activity by printing out pictures of food and bringing cups, plates, and utensils.
It was a really rewarding day to see all of the students using the English they’ve been learning and practicing for the past few months. It was a very successful activity and Teacher David and I were really pleased to see how seriously the students took it and how well they performed.
For our January 2015 Super English sponsored monthly event, we took a longtail tour of the canals in Surat Thani. We all met at 9:00AM and got into a longtail boat to visit a local homestay. Along the way we saw different birds, monitor lizards (which are always funny to see because the Thai word for monitor lizard is actually used as profanity “heaaaa-uh.” Think “hear” but a bit more forced with a speech impediment.).
After a short boat ride, we stopped at a local homestay. At the homestay we had traditional Thai snacks and learned how to make some different handicrafts and foods. It was a great way to see some Thai culture and I think everyone really enjoyed it.