Last night I had my first Business English class. It went okay, but again I'm just amazed at how different it is now that I'm not on the CELTA. I'm giving myself to suck-out-loud for my first few weeks, but I really hope I start doing better soon. After class I went to dinner with a few of the other teachers. The food was good, the conversation... ho hum. I'm not really clicking with any of the teachers yet. It's no big deal, everyone has been nice to me. I'm just not feeling the love at the moment. I'm also not thrilled with my apartment... internet addict as I am, it's killing me that I'm so disconnected. I mean, obviously I check in daily - but can only do so from an internet cafe filled with screaming kids playing video games... can't upload pictures, can't use my USB, can't print anything... it's just not what I'm used to. So I was starting to freak out again. I was starting to get that "What the hell am I doing here?" feeling again.. things were looking a bit Bananas.
But you know, it's been all ups and downs this whole time. I went to the Tesco supermarket (it's a 40 min walk and there aren't nearly as many songthaews here as in Chiang Mai) and just kinda vegged out in the comfortingly western surroundings. As I was shopping, Big from my office called me. My class for tonight was canceled. I know I'm supposed to be a teacher now, and I've only actually taught two classes, but it was a relief that I could take a day off. Last night I'd been talking to Pink and some of my students about Ban Phe (the beach not far from Rayong), so I decided to just pick up and go. I brought my groceries home, changed into my swimsuit and walked back out to the main road.
Some of the songthaews here are marked with where they go. In Chiang Mai I think it's more hop on one and they'll take you where you need to go (unless they're going in a completely different direction), but here I think they have more or less set routes, so you just have to find out which one is going where you want to go. Anyway, I hopped on and headed on down the road. About half an hour later we were driving through a little beach town, tons of shops and a street market down one lane. I wasn't sure exactly where to get off, so I decided to wait until I saw the ocean. One by one all the other passangers got off, and soon enough there was the beach - and it was gorgeous! You can see Ko Samet and a few other little islands off the coast. It was just amazing, so I rang the bell and hopped off.
One of these days I will actually upload some pictures... but until then... mere words. It was kind of cloudy out, so the water looked grey. And it was high tide so there wasn't a huge stretch of sand. But there were little ... cabana type stalls along the side. It's just like you would imagine, a bamboo frame with a palm frond roof, the waves lapping at your feet. Like a Corona commercial! I figured out later that they belong to the restaurants across the street, and you're not supposed to just hang out there (I had to pay 20B to the restaurant guy - totally worth it!).
I went swimming for quite a while, and let me tell you - it was so perfect. The water was like bathwater, so warm and comforting. Since it's a gulf and not open ocean like California - the waves were pretty mild and the water got deep pretty gradually. The clouds and breeze kept it from being scortching hot, and since it was a low-season Wednesday afternoon there were hardly any other people there. I could not have been happier. There were a bunch of high school kids playing on inner tubes near by. One of the girls called over to me "Hello" so I said Hello back, in English and in Thai. They all laughed and the girl called "Play with me!!!" How could I resist??? So I swam over and grabbed onto her inner tube with the other girls andwe jumped waves and screamed together. I had a blast.
After swimming until I got all pruney I came back to the cabana and just sat there for a while feeling like the world was perfect. I don't know... I just felt like I could stay in that moment forever. Eventually though, I decided to start heading home. I stopped and got some grilled chicken on a stick from a vendor along the street. It was very good - but the beach dogs started following me - which is a bit scary because of the potential for rabies. I just ate quickly and tossed the remains in the garbage. Then I started walking back towards civilization and eventually a songthaew came by headed for Rayong.
Home, shower, dinner, and now hanging out in 22-Net with the screaming kids again. I'm exhausted, sunburnt, and still slightly salty, but life is good.
TAG - Mango.