Heather's Thairy

Heather's journey to Bangkok, Thailand: a year of adventure!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Energe-Tic Bunch

Last night I went out with Alisa and Ryan to meet with Joom and a couple of her friends, Jackie and Tic. We went to dinner and then karaoke, where two more of Joom's friends and Marilyn met us. The karaoke place was phenomenal. It's in this huge hotel-like building with different parties/entertainment on each floor; we went to the very top and had an enormous private room with chandeleirs and cushy couches and a huge screen and an attached washroom.... Needless to say, we were all very impressed and thought about living there instead of in our apartments.

We had a great time; going to karaoke with Joom is always fun. Tic is by far the craziest partier I have ever met. She is nearly impossible to keep up with, and attempting to match her wild ways can only lead to severe hangover the next day!

Until next time,

No More Pencils, No More Books...

Wednesday was the last day of classes until November 1. We have "camp" throughout October- the students have the option of signing up and will participate in activities, crafts and games. I am working with Darcy with his group of P3s, who are supposed to be quite challenging. I think it will be fun and even though we are still working, it will be a nice break.
We took the Thai staff out on Thursday night for bowling as a show of appreciation. It was fun, although many Thais didn't come.

I had a terrible first game and was RULING on the second...AND THEN THE LANE TURNED OFF!!! Waaah!
I'll try and get some good posts up during camp; I should have lots of time since I only have two hours of teaching each day for the next two weeks.

Until next time,

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Today's Special

We went to Ko Samet (again) this past weekend. It was fun, but sort of the usual fun that we experience on Ko Samet- lazing around on the beach, eating when we're hungry and drinking and dancing in the evenings. Ko Samet doesn't have a lot of infrastructure so there isn't a lot to do, which is nice because it is conducive to relaxing.
I only took two pictures this time; one I won't show for a while because I want to keep it a secret. The other features another great example of things lost in translation...

I'll take one steamed seafood cack with paste, hold the coconut milk.

Until next time,

Thursday, September 21, 2006

All Couped Up

Yesterday was declared a "holiday" as a result of a military coup, which has overthrown Prime Minister Thaksen. Seriouly. The results of this action: there will be a change in government, probably for the best (Thaksen is not popular and considered corrupt); my Thai baht are worth a little less; my beach destinations will likely be a little less crowded; CNN is having a fit over those tank pictures, and the BBC is following suit, causing many back home to get the wrong impression; and I got a day off work.
Today: back to normal.
Tomorrow: Like it never happened...
Apparently, this is something of a normal occurence in Thailand. It is peaceful and quick; there were about 12 hours of "action" and now everything is just the way it was (except in Thaksen's life- "Hey man, where's all my stuff?" "Oh, sorry Thaksen, while you were out at the UN conference we cleaned out your desk. Better luck next time." "Aw jeez!"). So don't worry: I am safe. And I'm back to work.

Until next time,

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Bit More Ayutthaya, A Bit More Ko Samet

Last Sunday we did a quick day trip to Ayutthaya, which I've decided is quite a nice, easy outing. It's really fulfilling to go to Ayutthaya for the day: you can see lots of interesting things for cheap in a quiet, peaceful location that is accessible by a train that takes less than an hour. It's fantastic.
We tried to see different ruins than the first time I went; we were going to rent motorbikes (Alisa and Jackie can drive) but it was pretty expensive and none of the salespeople made a convincing case that we should rent from them. We ended up on bikes again, which is more environmentally friendly, cheaper, better exercise and perhaps just as quick and convenient.
The only problem resulted from my inability to navigate; we ended up on a pretty long tour around Ayutthaya that didn't lead to the place we thought we were going. We still managed to see the best ruins that I have already visited, as well as a large reclining buddha and we had a nice ride along the river. We also had lunch at this fantastic (although rustic) little lunch place- soup with noodles and fish balls (they're not inedible) for 10 baht.

The reclining buddha was fairly impressive, crammed into a building that just barely fits the plaster-looking figure. Apparently there is a stone carved reclining buddha in Ayutthaya which I suspect is more beautiful.
I didn't sunburn this time, but again the sun was deceptively strong and we all got a fair amount of colour while out exploring. Another great day in Ayutthaya!

This weekend we went to Ko Samet. I haven't been in ages and I'm really glad I decided to go- there were 15 of us all together who went from our school, including three of the Thai staff. The weather was just about perfect- it rained some on the way out, and then was a little cloudy on Saturday and it rained that evening, and Sunday was absolutely scorching and sunny. I'm working on my tan so that I don't come home all pasty and have people think I've been lying and don't really live in Thailand.

It was pretty busy in Ko Samet, and there were far more families there than before. I wouldn't expect the beach that we stay at to be popular with families, since it is sort of a party beach without really great services, but the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves and there are some fairly nice resorts in the area. Apparently there are much more secluded beaches on other parts of the island; perhaps one of these days I'll check them out. We found a new place to stay on Ko Samet- last time I stayed at Tok's and thought I was in the most horrible lodgings EVER, but I was wrong. I booked ahead this time (to avoid being defaulted to Tok's) at Ao Phai, which the Lonely Planet book billed as "A place you wouldn't be ashamed to take your grandmother"- it was a terrible mistake, a dirty lie, a place worse than Tok's. There was a roach in the bathroom, so I went to kill it with the plunger, and the pipe from the sink to the floor (and I mean that literally- it went to the floor and drained onto the floor) fell off and at least three more roaches crawled out. We had to go. After a bit of hiking and searching and disappointments, we came upon the Sea Breeze, which is quite nice, REALLY clean, large and inexpensive. My first choice from now on until I find something even better.

Next weekend we're headed back to Ko Samet for Jackie's birthday; should be a great time as long as the weather holds!

Until next time,

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Delays, Disruptions and Digestibles

Once again, a decent and interesting blog post has met technical difficulties, time restraints, and other factors that have affected its publishing. Therefore I bring you yet another edition of "In Heather's Kitchen: A Voyage Into Tastiness".

This was a long-anticipated meal...I had planned on making it a long time ago and then ate all the ingredients in separate ways. Finally I mustered the discipline to unite the ingredients as one: Heather's Delicious Pork Burgers.
I took ground pork, egg, garlic, oregano, onion and pepper and made patties, which I put on a sesame bun with mayo, red pepper, tomato, lettuce and feta cheese.
Oh man. Who knew ground pork could be so good...I almost preferred this to a beef burger, because it stays really moist and has a really nice flavour. Leftovers are in the fridge, along with my post-mini-dinner party leftovers of spaghetti and meat sauce.

I think I devote more energy and time to cooking than to just about anything else, but I suppose it is a great stress reliever (I have this wicked sharp huge knife that I chop things with, I love it) and my elliptical is in the shop (for a whole WEEK, egad) so I really don't have many constructive outlets...plus I like to eat good food, and experimenting is fun. I made cookies the other day for my friend Zinc's birthday, and my internet was down, so I had to make up a recipe. I must say I did a pretty good job- Heather's inCredible Coconut Cookies were born.

Enough about food. The good, big post should be up within the week. Stay tuned.

Until next time,

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hua Hin: Take Three

We went to Hua Hin again, marking the third trip to Hua Hin thus far for me. This time we did a few different things than the previous two outings, which concentrated mostly on sitting on the beach. The weather wasn’t fabulous- it was cloudy and drizzled a lot of the time- so we checked out a few of the local attractions.

On Saturday we DID spend most of our time on the beach, which was nice even though it wasn’t bright out. It was still very warm and truly, it was almost perfect, had we not been interested in getting a tan.

It was Darcy’s first time to Hua Hin, and I think he enjoyed it, despite the weather.
He certainly seemed to enjoy lounging on the beach, enjoying a coconut drink…

Wait…that’s just a beer stuck in a coconut!!! Fraud!

On Sunday, it was still sort of cloudy out so we hired a driver to take us to the giant standing Buddha and the Monkey Temple.

The Monkey Temple is different than I expected- I thought that it would be something like the Tiger Temple, with admission gates and handlers and a sort of commercial feel. It’s really a large, impressive temple at the top of a small mountain where monkeys happen to live. You can buy food to feed to the monkeys but the monkeys are “wild”- they are not kept or trained or anything like that. You are pretty much on your own with these monkeys…and there are hundreds of them.

I’m not really sure what kind of monkeys they are- I dropped that terrible primate anthropology course, guess that horrible prof had the last laugh- but they range in size from about eight inches tall to almost two feet tall when sitting. Some are really large when stretched out. They are a bit intimidating because they are very greedy, but they really only fought with each other.

Darcy bought a mixed basket of food for the monkeys which included corn, bananas and peanuts. It was funny because Darcy is so nice he would let the monkeys rifle through the basket and choose what they wanted- they would chuck all the fruit and vegetables on the ground and go for the peanuts. One really large male monkey stuffed about eight peanuts into his mouth without chewing and swallowed them all before finally letting go of the basket.

I was watching Darcy feed one of the monkeys, and apparently I was taking up the best feeding spot, because before I knew it…

Ha ha ha, we (that is, everyone WITHOUT a wild animal crawling all over them) sure made a lot of jokes about the monkey on my back. He was kind of hard to get rid of, although he wasn’t hurting me or anything. I was just surprised. He hardly weighed anything and his hands and feet were remarkably soft. I was mostly afraid he would pull my hair or poop on me. Luckily I escaped poop and bald-spot free.

The actual temple is at the top of a daunting staircase. Going up was quite the task, but the view was definitely worth it…

After a slow decent (I always get vertigo or something when going down stairs- I get all disoriented and am convinced I am going to fall to my death) we got back in our car and drove to the standing Buddha.

The Hua Hin standing Buddha is enormous and quite impressive. He is in a serene location, looking out over the beach and the town.

The view from the cliffs where the Buddha stands is also very beautiful. Hua Hin has some very nice looking hotels and resorts along the beachfront, and the beach itself is long and clean-looking.

In the menu we were given when we were on the beach, there were advertisements for property in Hua Hin. I was amazed at how inexpensive it is to buy a house- complete with furnishings, landscaping and a huge chunk of land- in Hua Hin. Apparently there is a resident-only stipulation on purchasing property in Thailand, but there is a fee of some kind that you can pay if you do not have resident status. I think it would be worth it- a beautiful, beach-front mansion in Hua Hin costs less than my parents’ house in Calgary. Not to say that our house isn’t great- but how far away is the nearest beach?!?

It was another nice weekend in Hua Hin. It’s so convenient and relaxing- I’m sure I’ll be back soon.

Until next time,