Monday, October 24, 2011

Homeless in Thailand

Every time I manage to get on this thing to do an update, there are seemingly five million events that have happened since the last time. Our TEFL course came to an end last Friday with a relatively easy final exam followed by some celebratory beers. We were to be kicked out of the hotel the following morning, so just in the nick of time, KD (the coordinator of the recruiting company that we all work under) managed to tell some of us where and when we were to depart. Nearly everyone in the course not near the Bangkok area was to be picked up and taken to their new location on Saturday morning. Some had an easy 2-4 hour journey, while many of my other pal's new homes are a good 10-15 hour journey from Bangkok (who knew how massive this country really is). Due to their early departure & and the flooding causing our favorite local bar to close, we spent our last evening drinking a shopping cart full of booze that the boys rolled through the flood from Tesco Lotus.
[Some of the TEFL group on our last night at Pongpetch Guestotel, Bangkok. Good times in room 514.]
This left 7 of us who's schools have been postponed due to the flooding in Bangkok. Unable to give us any type of estimated date or actually any viable information, KD gave us his blessing to get the hell out of Bangkok for a beach holiday until he phoned us to come back. This meant we needed to stay reasonably close (2-3 hours) to Bangkok so that we could return quickly if necessary. We journeyed to Hua Hin, where I am currently typing this in our hostel lobby. Boy, has it been a relief to see more of the country besides of Bangkok.

Hua Hin is very cute, but relatively touristy due to its convenient location. We ended up staying at the only inexpensive place that would house as all in a dorm-style hostel. The beaches are stunning, but the water is not the clear blue color that I'm sure can be found further south. Apparently current murky water state is in part due to the flooding around the country. Yesterday some of us partook on a wild banana boat ride. Afterwards, Phil and I, looking for more adventure, rented a jet-ski that easily was the highlight of our day. I managed to get him to fall off with my reckless driving skills, but I held on for dear life when he was shooting for a revenge. Two of the girls here got a call from KD yesterday evening and had to head back to Bangkok, only to find out today that only one of them was able to get a job at that school. The whole process is rather frustrating and perplexing, but I supposed eventually everything will be sorted. After a proper Thai seafood dinner in the bustling night market last night, we hit the bars of the "Red Light District" where the boys woo-ed the locals with their karaoke skills and a creepy American expat showed us the town.

[Beach in Hua Hin]

 [Phil and I before jet-skiing]

 [Poor lil prawn]

Needless to say, I woke up quite sore after a day water sporting. We were originally going to return to Bangkok today, but after a few more vague phone calls with KD, we were given the impression we still had time to chill. After a long day lying on the beach, a legitimate Thai massage for 200 TBH (approximately $6.50 US) was the perfect ending. Easily the best 200 baht I've spent so far, it just may need to become a regular occurrence. The Thai masseuse know exactly what they're doing and are not afraid to move you about in extremely strange but tranquilizing positions.

[Delicious after dinner treat, rotee pancake made fresh in the night market of Hua Hin]

So tomorrow we are moving on from Hua Hin. We are heading in the direction towards Bangkok, but assuming that KD is still as vague and unhelpful as usual, a couple of us may continue south the other direction towards a cute province known as Chanthaburi where one of our other friends has just moved to. Corinne (my roommate from the TEFL course and American pal that I was able to commiserate with when the British think they're speaking English but aren't) has been placed there to teach in a primary school. She is now settled in an apartment, but her school does not start until next week. None of the other English teachers are in town until school begins, so she has been wondering the town, which is supposedly stunning and full of natural beauty, with the locals. I know it might be comforting to have us there to do some exploring with her at first. Besides, being responsible for putting ourselves up in hotels every night is getting absurd. It is comparably cheap here of course, but I have learned that the key to living here & really budgeting is forgetting about the conversion to USD. Being unemployed & homeless all the time means spending unnecessary money, and we don't get paid until the end of November (we will still get paid as normal even if we start work very late).  I have more or less been living from a suitcase since July - I just want a home already! Luckily, I have stored one of my bags at our hotel in Bangkok so I am able to just travel with my 60L pack. But, I am trying to make the most of this extra travel time we've been allotted, its just difficult to make plans when we might get called back to BKK at any time. Still, I definitely envy my friends who have been able to get settled and start their new chapter in Thailand. For now, my homeless self will continue to journey around this lovely country until duty calls. xx

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