First Day Back at Thida

Well, the past few weeks of holiday really flew by!  It was great to have a bit of time to relax and kick back at the beach for a bit.  I had the opportunity to see my brother from Hong Kong on Samui for a few days, which was great!  Like all good things, holiday had to come to an end.

This semester we welcome two new teachers, Alex and Ashton!  Alex has previously taught in Thailand before, which will help his learning curve at Thida.  He’s set to take over Emma’s P1 class (they have all the fun kids!), while Ashton will take over Brittney’s P6 class.  We spent some time with them this week reviewing their various responsibilities over the past two days, hopefully addressing any concerns and questions they had!  Both seem very excited and I know they’ll do a great job in the classroom.  As always, we encouraged them to relax, have fun, smile, and enjoy themselves!  The more fun they’re having in the classroom, the quicker the kids will take a liking to them, increasing fun for all.

Today we had our general year meeting with Peter–of course, the second semester really flies by, so it was a good chance to re-connect with everybody and remind us to buckle down and maximize the time we have in the classroom.  The scary part is the Christmas break is here in about 7 weeks time!

This week has also seen a lot of traffic around the streets of Surat.  The dragon boat races are going on around town, and the floats have been seen all over the roads….of course, makes for a longer commute, but very interesting to see!  There was a lot of traditional Thai dress and dance, and the streets were packed to see everything!  A nice way to end the holiday break.  Of course, I should remember to wear sunscreen and not wear light blue!!

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New Bike

I was leery I might have to go down this avenue at some point, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be right around holiday time. When I arrived in Surat, I purchased a pre-owned (must’ve been an outgoing teacher) bike. It was ok last year, as I only had to pay about 800 baht to maintain/repair various things with it. This year, though, has been a nightmare. I was driving several weeks back, crossing a major road, when I felt the bike cut off. Luckily, I was able to re-start it and get across safely, as there were no oncoming cars.

Of course, when I left the restaurant, the bike wouldn’t start, wouldn’t turn over, wouldn’t do anything essentially. I couldn’t even kick start the darn thing. I went back the same weekend to see if I would have better luck, but same result.

In hindsight, I should’ve called X (of X Rentals and Service fame) from the very get go. I sent him a message at school the next day, and he happened to be by Thida. He picked me up in a matter of minutes after school and pushed it with his mechanic friend to the mechanic’s shop across the street. The rough news was the diagnosis: The engine was shot…costing 4,700 baht.

I was hoping to get through this year with my same piece of junk bike, but it just wasn’t worth the trouble anymore. To add insult, after arriving back from traveling, I was greeted to a dead battery. That was the last straw–X helped me get the bike back to his spot, I took a look at a few he had in his inventory, test drove them, and made my selection. While it was a bit more than I wanted to pay, whatever I can get from essentially my old one being sold for parts should work out.

X has been so awesome through my time here–always willing to help out, goes the extra mile, and does it with a smile. Before I took the bike, he checked the oil and everything, plus is replacing the brake handle free of charge and swapping the green book info into my name gratis as well. He’s a great dude and I’m thankful he’s in town!

The black bike below is my old one (RIP) and the one on the right is my new ride…I hope safer and less hassle than the first one!

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Getting a Haircut in Surat

One of the more interesting experiences over the past year and a half has definitely been getting my haircut.  When I first arrived to town, I went out to Central, as I figured it was my best shot.  After discovering the prices at the shops there pushed 500-600 baht, I figured I’d take my chances elsewhere.

Up until recently, my gameplan for a haircut was driving up and down Karunrat on my bike and popping into any barber shop/salon I could find.  Usually, I’d have to go through several shops until I could find one that’d cut my hair.  I’d get the usual responses of 1) the non-verbal giant X with hands 2) ‘no English speak’ 3) completely ignoring me until I left.

About 4 months ago I luckily found myself a good spot where I’ve been a repeat customer.  Just past the corner of Karunrat and Cheon Kasem (spelling?) is a little shop next to a 7-11 (I know, I know…7-11’s are everywhere!).  I’d give some sort of identification for the shop, but I haven’t seen much in English outside of ‘Barber.’  There’s a little stall out front where a woman, who I think is the man’s wife, sells some sort of delicious dessert-type of cake.

I’ve been really happy with the service at this barber.  We used to have the awkward conversation about how I wanted my hair styled. Thankfully, mine isn’t too complicated. He has the array of various men’s haircuts on the wall…everything from outdated looks from 10 years ago to the Justin Beieber look. I’m really happy all I have to say is, “#2 on the sides and blend the rest in, please.” The first time or two I went, I had a bit more chopped off than I wanted, but that’s ok. The way I figured, if I got a bat cut, I’d simply shave my head and go from there (benefit of men’s hair). After going several times, the barber knows what I like and there’s no hassle.

Of course, back in the States, haircuts are about $17 at the generic Supercuts chains. For 80 baht, I not only got my hair cut, but also got the razor blade treatment on my neckline, ears, and between my eyebrows. Additionally, he’ll give me a razor blade shave for no extra cost and get a hot towel afterwards. Probably the most surprising part was the mini massage he gave my shoulders and head! Not used to all of that for such a bargin price!

It’s nice to finally have a place I can rely on and feel like I get great service. I typically give the barber an extra 20 baht for all the extras he provides, and he’s quite happy with that! In fact, I’ll be going this week again!

I’d share some pictures of the location and inside, but I felt it might make them a bit uncomfortable, so I held off!

 

 

 

 

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