Well. I finally have! This will be my last Blogger post, but the blog isn't over... far from it. You can now find me at; http://nickschapterthree.wordpress.com/ on WordPress. Check out the latest post (http://nickschapterthree.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/welcome-to-wordpress/) and all the archived posts will be available there as well. Trying to get an idea of where to take the blog in the coming months and how best to keep all my activities together in one place... is it in the blog? Head on over to WordPress and let me know what you think.
Monday, 27 June 2011
To be fair you served me well when I set you up in the beginning. Just on my mobile in my tiny room in Saraburi some seven months ago. But needs must as they say, it's time to move on. I've been having a few problems with Blogger and I've been contemplating moving on for sometime now.
Sunday, 26 June 2011
So all my vlogs up to this point have been kinda low quality and that's just because I've been working on a little netbook, all the software I've used that allows me to work in HD has just crashed my laptop either while editing or while compiling. But I finally found something that works, and so the rest of my vlogs should be in HD from this point on! Happy times!
Don't forget there is a link to my channel with all my other episodes on the sidebar
Thursday, 23 June 2011
I couldn't tell you what this was for exactly, sometime to do with it being a celebration for teachers, praying for and thanking teachers. Whatever it was exactly, there were some stunning flowers and it was all pretty good fun. The whole day had a relaxed (even more then usual) atmosphere about it (although maybe that's because I only had to teach the youngest kindergärtner group for 20 minutes then it was several hours break and class 5 followed by class 6).
So the crowds gathered. The stage had been built. The flowers were ready. The bell started ringing and I was asked to take lots of photo's because the main school camera hadn't been brought for some reason. Luckily I had spare batteries, a fresh memory card and my battery charger.
Then it all began, prayers were said and songs were sung. The first row of kids moved up, handing their offerings and saying their prayers. After four or five more rows, a monk arrived, one I hadn't seen before (we have a fair few monks visit the school, giving morning assemblies and teaching classes). He led some more prayers and talked for a bit before some of the teachers made offerings to him.
There was more singing and the playground began to empty. Normal lessons started up, about half an hour late, but most of the kids actually went around handing out their flowers and making more prayers for individual teachers for the next hour. Over the rest of the morning more photo's were taken and in the afternoon it was very chilled. The kids practiced a play, but it was all cut short and people went inside when it started raining.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Yesterday I got invited out to an opening of an architecture exhibit. Many of Mai's friends study it and their work was going on display at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. I finished work a little earlier then usual (around 3:45) and headed home. I got showered, changed and grabbed a bit of food before heading back out. I was going to meet her at the National Stadium BTS Station.
So I jumped on the 134. It was right at the beginning of rush hour. The journey should take, with no traffic, about twenty minutes, maybe half an hour. Last night it took two hours. Somewhere I heard or read that Bangkok is the most congested city in Asia, it's not hard to see why. There are a lot of huge road work projects, building highways above the city to alleviate the problems, but just how much of an effect they will have isn't really known. The city has a great public transport system with it's buses and vans. People here don't walk very far, just to the nearest bus station. The pavements aren't really pedestrian friendly in a lot of areas and buses are so cheap is makes sense to hop on a bus that's going to cost 3p to get a mile down the road.
I finally got the Mochit BTS, the 'end of the line' or 'beginning of the line' station, depending on how you look at it. I got the sky train to Siam, where I changed over to the next line, and rode it just a single stop of National Stadium. Like everywhere at that time of day,the train was rammed with people. Both of them. I got of the train, went through the barrier and called Mai. Again a fair bit of "Erm I am.... I don't know, I'm by a big red sign that say's 'Tokto'. Okay I'm downstairs and by a giant head!" we eventually found each other. I was a few hours late, but the exhibit hadn't opened yet.
A busy BTS station
When it did open, I had a look around, got some free food that was insanely spicy and then just did what I enjoy doing when I'm out in Thailand, talked to people. Of the three hours or so I was there, I spent maybe half an hour looking around. The rest of the time I was just chatting with people, showing off my three Thai phrases, then after they say they speak "a little English" it turns out they are damn near fluent and have better grammar then the majority of people who went to my old secondary school (This isn't that difficult. The 8 year olds I'm teaching how to ask and answer questions have better grammar then the majority of people who went to my old secondary school).
The name of the exhibit
I didn't touch a drop
One of the people I was talking to, but I can't remember her name :/
Honest to god I didn't touch a drop!
I passed on the FREE alcohol. Very proud of myself for that. Stuck with water thank you very much. The evening ended very suddenly with the security moving people out to close the place, and I jumped back on the various trains and buses and got home in about forty minutes (as appose to two and a half hours it took to get there).
Check out the vlog for this here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzdBwZhM3-M
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
I've been trying to my hardest to learn more Thai. When I first arrived I picked up a couple new words, I got numbers down, but then I stalled. Try as I did, nothing really stuck. I carried with me a piece of paper that can only be described as 'well loved' that includes many phrases, as well as what to say on buses, boats and cabs. I went out yesterday evening and came back at the height of rush hour. The area itself wasn't too busy and the roads were not jammed. Waiting for the bus home I realised I didn't have my paper. The one with what to say. Dammit. What do I say again? Something 'glow' or 'glaw'? The 134 pulled up. It was rammed. Completely rammed. I got on though and leaned against the edge of the open door. It was too crowded to close the door. The ticket person squeezed through and asked me where I was going.
It just came to me, no idea where from, no idea how I remembered, suddenly it was there. "Sa pan pra nang Glowe" "Sip et Baht." I pulld my change out of my pocket and picket out two fives and a one. I handed to it her. "Cob-coon-ka".
Since then, I'm remembering more and more. Words and phrases I've only ever heard once or twice I'm just remembering straight away. Today one of the teachers felt ill, I offered to get him some more water, he said "No, no, Thank you." I replied 'Mai Ben Rai." Wait. What? What... does that mean again, I don't know why I said it. It just... felt right. Oh it means 'never mind' and is used for 'you're welcome' and 'no worries'. This morning it started raining, I knew 'fon-took'. I've been told that word once or twice before.
Maybe my brain is starting to re-wire itself for the new language. Here's hoping!
Sunday, 12 June 2011
So we roll on to another new week. My timetable's being changed with the 6's being spread out across the week, rather then on Monday morning, leaving me with all of Monday morning free now. I thought maybe it's about time I update this 'ol thing again. But with what? Well, what did I do at the weekend?
For some reason, writing an entire post about going out on the lash feels, well, childish. Reading through previous posts I haven't had a problem with that in the past, and I don't have a problem updating my facebook and twitter to say the same even now. So not sure why I now feel differently. But none the less, I'll put up some pictures (all stolen because I didn't have my camera) and just talk about the weekend.
So I went out Friday night. I met up with Mai at Siam BTS after realising that we were both the wrong side of the station, both crossing to the other side, calling each other saying "I'm here now" and then just bumping into each other in the middle. We went to meet some of her friends in a cafe where they were finishing some work. I'd met some before, and some were new. After a bit of time there, we got a cab to the Khao San Road, met up with a few other people and headed to a bar.
It was a great night. I met a lot more people my own age, some spoke really good English, some spoke some and some spoke non. All in all it was a good night. Yea, I got pretty drunk. At one point I spent twenty minutes explaining that these were "CHIPS!!!!! Not french fries. I'm neither French, nor America. I'm English. And those are CHIPS!!!". Pretty soon after this I decided I really needed to go home.
At this juncture come the paragraph I've re-written four or five times. While out I met a girl (Tongta), talked a lot and exchanged emails and phone numbers. When I left I had Bum put me in a cab home. I woke up the next morning to a text from Tongta saying that today I should probably rest and drink lots of water. I can only imagine what state I must have been in. We've been texting quiet a bit since.
Needless to say Saturday I spent recovering. In the afternoon I got a bus to McDonald's and OH MY GOD it was good. I also bought some bedding. Failed at that kinda badly. Spent the evening downstairs in the shop talking with people there. On Sunday morning I cleared my room and in the afternoon people came over with some food. We all went swimming and it was a lot of fun. I headed out in the early evening just to the shops to buy some supplies for the week and had an early night.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
I haven't posted anything for more then a week now. On Sunday I was going to write about a meal out and a afternoon/evening/night out at Jatujak market. But when Sunday rolled around I was sick, a bad stomach bug. I spent the day in bed and went into school for the morning on Monday, but ended up going home after teaching one lesson. I took the next day off, and went back to school on Wednesday. I'm feeling better, but still a little iffy.
So for this post, I wanted to talk about my weekday routine (when not sick).
At 5:30am my alarm goes off, and by 5:45 I've crawled out of bed for a shower. I'm out of the door by 6:30 and get the little Mazda bus to school. For the first couple of weeks I'd been getting it outside my appartment. The problem was most of them are full, and I could wait twenty minutes for a bus with just a single space. I've since been walking up to the next stop, where fresh, empty buses arrive. There is a massive push to get on, and not many people are happy to sit on the edge. This doesn't bother me, and I kinda like it. You get a real breeze because it's already between 30 and 33 degrees by that time, and I'm wearing trousers and a shirt. The bus takes about 20 minutes and costs 6 Baht (12p).
Before I get into school, I'll grab something (normally something small) for breakfast. I get this from either the market next to the school or some of the food stalls that line the streets surrounding the school. Breakfast will set me back between 10 and 20 Baht (20-40p). I sign in at school around 7:00am. I was asked to stand outside and greet people from 7:15 but this has come to an end, a few days I was told I didn't have to, so instead I went up to the top floors to talk with the 6's. It was decided that this was a far better use of my time in the morning so now that's what I do for about 45 minutes every morning. Just talk with the 6's, they practice some English and they really enjoy teaching me Thai.
At 7:45 the bell goes and everyone lines up for assembly in the playground. The flag is raised and the national anthem (I'm assuming it's the national anthem) is sung. Prayers are made and depending on the day, various talks are given, or monks come and more prayers are given, or I'm handed the microphone and I do a little dance like the hokey cokey, heads shoulders knees and toes or something kinda similar. Sadly the playground is too small to give each student enough space to teach them all Thriller.
The first lesson starts at 8:30. The number of lessons I teach each day varies between 2 and 5 (out of 6 slots). When I'm not teaching, I'm in the 'staff room', an air conditioned room with computers and internet. Here I print out lesson resources and make plans.
Lunch time starts at 11:30 and lasts one hour. I'll always eat at least some of the food on offer. Sometimes I head out to get an real fruit slush-puppy from the market and then head upstairs where both 6's and both 5's are generally in one room watching a film or doing something and just talk with some of them.
At 13:30 lessons begin again until 15:30. At 15:30 I will generally spend time with all the kids around the playground for about half an hour or so. Some days I chat with one of the other teachers who speaks really good English. The time I leave really varies day to day, sometimes around 16:00 and sometimes as late as 17:00, just depending on what's going on.
After school I head into the market to get grub. A drink and dinner, depending on what it is (western or Thai, with western being more expensive) costs between 50 and 100 baht (1 and 2 quid). I'll normally spend about 50-20 minutes in the market before heading to the Mazda bus stop and heading home. I never wait for the mazda bus back. There are lines and lines of them, and they wait until they are full (they hold between 9 and 12 people (the possible extra three depend on how many people sit in the front and how many people are willing to sit on the edge and outside)) and set off.
I'm normally home no later then 18:00. Whatever time I get home, I almost straight away get changed into my swimming stuff and head up to the 19th. I swim every evening for about an hour. There is very rarely other people there. In two weeks of swimming every night, only twice was someone else there and both times they left before me.
What I do on an evening varies. Sometime I head out, to look around the various malls and mall-markets or just go downstairs to the shop, there are a fair few people there and some of them speak good English. It's a nice place to relax and have a beer. I don't go to bed late, a 5:30 alarm insures that! I'm normally asleep well before 23:00, normally more like 22:00.
So that's my average day. I'll try and keep on top of this blog more often, but i definitely don't have the time I did last time I was here to post something new every two or three days! But when I do, I'll try and make sure it will be worth checking out! Hope you enjoyed, and don't forget to check out the vlogs! A new batch is on the way soon.