Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not too bad

So that whole plan of writing up my blog entries and trying to improve the quality of the content here.... not so much motivated to do that anymore.

There are two new teachers... a guy in his 40s we'll call Rex and a guy in his early 20s ... um Le Blond. Nothing too terribly exciting about either of them at the moment, decent enough people. I'm getting the feeling that there's a lot of staff turnover here. The upside to that is that you make fast friends. I met Le Blond on his first day & chatted with him for a minute. Later that night Bunny & Bobby & I ran into the head teacher at the store and she gave us all his number. Bunny & Bobby hadn't even met him yet, but naturally we were going to invite him to an ice cream party we had planned the next day. All three of us sent him somewhat rediculous text messages saying Hi & inviting him. He had not yet met Donny & Marie (Donny only works at our school on Saturday) but as soon as we found out that Le Blond was a jock, we were like - oh, you'll be friends with Donny. Sure enough, a week later he and Donny have gotten together to play sports like three times already. And we're not so subtly trying to hook him up with Marie.

As for Rex, we've been slightly shyer, because you know, he's a real grown up. And also he lives a bit out of town (near the beach) with a real family, and isn't like some lonesome kid right out of college. Nevertheless I told him I'd be near his place tomorrow and we might meet up for lunch or something. It's very easy to be social here, and I really really like that.

Unfortunately, there's not much to do in Rayong beyond going out drinking. And there aren't even any good clubs... or good alcohol. The beer sucks, and the whiskey is lethal. We all went out on Wednesday and I went from zero to wasted without knowing what happened. Well, I do know what happened. We went to Rayong's version of a strip club (the girls don't get naked, they just kinda dance around while wearing skimpy clothes). While it was far less offensive and disturbing than I would have thought (they don't really dance seductively, they just kinda bounce and wiggle a bit - I guess the guys go for it) I still decided I'd need to be drunk to really enjoy the experience.

And once I was drunk, I really did enjoy it... I just got a lot more drunk than I had intended. I started talking to some of the dancers in the bathroom, they were sweet. It was all a bit strange. Eventually the dancers were replaced with a boy-band, and that part was really fun, although you only dance at your table, there's no dance floor. Getting home was a bit of a challenge. I couldn't stand up, because I really thought I was going to fall over. So I basically got wedged between to people and was all but carried out the front door. I have no idea how I managed to get on the back of a motorbike... but I know I wrapped my arms around the driver and held on for dear life. Which is like... not appropriate. You're not supposed to cuddle with the motorbike taxi drivers & it wasn't even one of the guys I usually take. Oh well, mai bpen lai.

I had to teach 8 hours of classes the next day, my busiest teaching day so far. The worst part was that I was too drunk to sleep... just lay awake all night thinking "wow, I'm really drunk" and tossing & turning in bed. I just remember back on the CELTA course, that first week. I wouldn't go out for beers with the guys if I had to teach the next day... you know, for 45 minutes, in the afternoon. Now I can teach 4 back-to-back classes on no sleep & a bit of a hangover (less than you'd imagine actually). Not that I intend to do that again any time soon... but it's just strange how much I don't worry about things like that anymore.

Last night we went out to Jeb's girlfriend's sister's house for dinner. It ended up being a bit of a segregated affair as the farang don't really speak Thai and the Thai folks there didn't really speak English. But they let us help prepare the meal, cleaning and preparing everything in the outdoor kitchen area. It was pretty intense, I sliced pork and separated out like two heads of garlic for the different sauces, and then helped Bobby pop the heads & legs off the shrimp. Bunny, being vegetarian volunteered for veggie washing. It was quite a to-do, grilled fish (I don't usually like cooked fish, but this was delicious), BBQ chicken wings, and then the sukiyaki type thing. I've been told this is more of a Chinese thing. You prepare all the ingredients ahead of time, then cook the soup right there at your table. Or, you know, on a mat on the porch in our case. We cooked the soup in a clay pot over a thing of coals from the BBQ grill. It was really really good. It's nice to share a meal with people, it's nice to prepare it together. It was nice to be in an actual house, and not just a cheap studio apartment.

Today I had my crappy Saturday young-learners classes. Last week things went okay, but this week... not so great. I had a LOT of classes this week and between that and the getting wasted one night & doing the elaborate dinner last night - I didn't have all that much time or energy to plan for today. Which is not to say I walked in empty handed... I'd put a couple hours into them... it just isn't nearly enough for these particular classes. I hate it....I just hate the kid classes.

But there's an upside. Bunny and I went to the market near the school after class and this lady called us over to buy her weird little Chinese New Year cake things. Bunny asked if they were vegetarian and the woman said yes... and used the two different words we know for vegetarian and told us they were delicious. It was kind of exciting to understand what she was saying. So Bunny asked how much it was for one, but the lady was like "1 kilo" and we said no no no, just one cake. And the woman just handed us two cakes and then wouldn't take Bunny's money. It was all a little weird, but very sweet. Which is exactly how the little cakes were. They were pretty much just flour, sugar and water in some kind of gelatinous paste. We walked away and took a few bites before deciding we just couldn't eat them. Oh well, it was the thought that counts.

Bunny walked off to go to the internet cafe, and I headed home. I'd only walked about a block before my soup guy showed up on a motorbike. He stopped and enthusiastically offered me a ride, so I hopped on. It's so strange, I don't even know this guy's name. But he drove me the three more blocks home, and it was sweet. I think I might be easing out of stage 2. There are still things that I don't like about Rayong... and am cogitating a bit about my next possible steps, but there are also things I really like here. The people aren't jaded or closed off by dealing with tourists all the time. I rarely understand what's going on but I understand when people are nice to me for no reason at all.

TAG - Code Sweet Chili Sauce.


Cate said...

That sounds like so much fun! I won't even touch whiskey because I'm terrified of the hangover potential. I kind of wish I lived in a less touristy place than Chiang Mai. It's not quite as bad over by the University where we live, but it still sucks to have songthaew (sp?) drivers constantly try and charge me 40 B when I know a ride is only 20 B. Oh well...
I'm excited to hear about what you are thinking about doing after Thailand!

Jonathan said...

I know exactly what you mean about being social. I had been living in Montreal for 6 years (I lived there for most my life, but was previously gone for 5 years), but have made more friends and contacts here in 1 week than those 6 years!

I suppose it's also a survival thing.

Batty said...

Teaching with a hangover? Oh no, poor you!

Bezzie said...

Man, your grandkids will have a good time reading all this stuff that grandma did in her youth! Hee hee!

Rebel said...

Cate - one time I tried to get a songthaew from Central to just before the university and the first guy - just hanging out at the mall said "100 baht" I was like 'fuck that!' and walked the rest of the way to the street hopped on the next one that went by and paid the 20B. Life is a lot cheaper when you *know* what things are supposed to cost.

Jonathan - it's true, but here the turnover for new friends is pretty quick, which is a tiny worry in the back of my mind... how much do I invest in a short-term friend?

Batty - no, my poor students! Actually, I wasn't hung over, just overly tired. It's my own fault and I'll be more careful in the futre.

Bezzie - if you can figure out how to get grandkids without actually having kids... or a husband for that matter, you let me know okay?