Ok, you folks have read through pages and pages and pages of unedited stream-of-consciousness travel blogging... you deserve a break. Here are some pictures:
The back of the school, those are our lockers, and that's the table where we hang out on break. You'll notice that it's all open air back here, so it can be quite warm & humid. Also, in the upper right corner you'll notice a couple of the boys' shirts hanging there. We wear casual clothes for the morning session and get changed after lunch before teaching.*
I am really glad I brought as many clothes as I did because I'm going through at least two outfits a day (one nice, one casual) and just don't have time to be doing laundry every night.
This is the classroom on the second floor where I teach. It's called "China", upstairs from "China" there's "Holland" and "England." On the ground floor is "Australia" where we have our morning input sessions. There is a mysterious door marked "Belgium" that we though might lead to a secret stash of chocolate, but were sad to learn it was just another door into "Australia".
Here is the big long row of food-stalls across the street from my school. There's a roof, obviously, but it's all open air. There are about 20 different restaurants, plus the awesome fruit man who's been trying to teach me some Thai, and the bakery lady with the heavenly brownies.
Some of the restaurants have menus in English, (often hand written) in addition to their Thai menus.... but most of them have pictures. I know enough Thai to ask for chicken and rice... and am never disappointed with what I get.
This meal - stir fried chicken & cashews was phenomenal. Two things to take note of, one is the portion size. This is what an actual portion size of chicken and rice should be. But it's not like a "right portion / right price" stupid promotional thing, it's not a 3 points 2 carbs Weight Watcher's thing ... it's just what the people eat. Same thing with the fruit I've been eating. It's not a health-food thing... it's just that right next to the bakery lady there's a guy selling fresh fruit in individual serving sizes. I'm not *trying* to eat healthy here... I'm just eating. It's just a healthier environment all around. The second thing to note is the price. This dish cost I believe 30 baht... which is about a dollar. The packs of fresh fruit cost 10 baht, or about 30 cents. This is what qualifies as "Cheap Fast Food" around here. Yes there's a KFC, yes there's a 7/11 with sodas and candy... but it's cheaper and easier to eat actual food. I really like that.
Quick update from today's lunch though. I have yet to figure out which restaurant is which, and I've always had good food, so I haven't cared much... but I'm going to need to start figuring it out. Today I ordered pork fried rice... and at another place I had it, it was divine. But here it was just on the edge of too spicy for me. I was doing okay, sweating buckets (what's new) but okay. Then I got to the pepper. Oh man... I almost started crying. The thing was, I was really really hungry so I just did the best I could to fish out anything that looked even vaguely pepper-esque and just eat the rice. And then of course, I had to spend some quality time in the bathroom before heading up to class. Fortunately I wasn't teaching.
*I typed up this post the other day, and just wanted to add that this was the yucky dirty floor I had to lay down on yesterday when I felt sick. Not the most pleasant thing ever.