Heather's Thairy

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

Sunday, January 28, 2007


A few of us went to Ko Si Chang Saturday morning. Catherine, Darcy and Michelle had not been, so we visited many of the places we had gone last time I went there, but it was just as enjoyable.
This time, when we went up to the Chinese Temple, we hiked further to see the Buddha Footprint. It was quite a bit farther up but the view was incredible!!!

When we were on the way back down, we saw some people coming up in the little motorized cart. Too bad we didn't hitch a ride in it, would have saved us some time!

We went to the old palace ruins, too...this time, I took a picture of one of the worm corpses that litter the drains there, since I had already taken pictures of the grounds.

We saw another beautiful sunset on the lookout point. While we were there, a monkey walked up and down the side of the bridge; a little girl put out a hotdog for him...

Ko Si Chang did not disappoint: it was a relaxing, great weekend.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Flower Power

Today was adventure day! I had Alisa and Steph over for breakfast this morning (cinnamon pear sauce with pancakes), then we went and picked up Catherine and headed to the National Museum. It is an impressive and large museum with many galleries and exhibits. Photography is not allowed on site so you'll just have to take my word for it: it was really great.
After that, we went to Khao San Road and I got a french manicure. Once in a while, it's nice to treat yourself to something frivolous and fancy!
We shopped a bit on the strip and went to this fabulous Indian restaurant, Taste of India. I had chicken curry and mushroom paneer- the mushroom paneer was amazing!
After dinner we went to the night flower market, somewhere I had been wanting to go for a long time and somewhere I wish I had gone a long time ago!
It is amazing!
Blocks and blocks of thousands of flowers- bags of flowers for making wreaths, bundles of flowers at wholesale prices, beautiful bouquets and arrangements... I got 50 gorgeous roses, all perfect, for 30 baht. A dollar. Fifty roses. I'm stunned. I also got a huge bunch of white orchids- so delicate and pretty- for 20 baht.

For a dollar fifty I have a fantastic collection of incredible flowers. What a great day!

Until next time,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Teachers' Day

Today was a holiday for Teachers' Day. We went to the party that the schools held for us at another campus across the city. In October, the school had Sports Day for the teachers, which turned out to be more of a chore and imposition than a fun celebration at the end.
The Teacher Party was in many ways similar to the teacher Sports Day: we were asked to dress a certain way, be at certain places at certain times, laugh and smile and play along. We were generally clueless about what was going on when and for the most part, the event seemed to focus on the Thais and not the foreign staff. It's a shame that it seems to be difficult to create an event where all staff members feel equally involved, but I appreciate the efforts and realize that I am in Thailand teaching at a Thai school, and the fact that there was such a big party at all is definitely worth something.
Anyway, there was a lot of food, a lot of karaoke, a lot of yelling and music and cheering and dancing...and this spectacle, courtesy of Building 5 (my building).

I will remember it with pride...

Until next time,

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pottery Island

Yesterday I went with Catherine and Darcy to Ko Kred, a small island in Bangkok known as "Pottery Island" in English. We had heard that it is very difficult to get to but we were up to the challenge.
It turns out that we live relatively close to Ko Kred, and it was a mere taxi ride and short ferry to get there. The island is car-free and small and it seems like a totally different world than Bangkok. It's hard to believe that you're still in Bangkok when you walk around this artisan-inhabited island.

The island is about six kilometers around, and we walked about half of it. Potters make and display their wares along with people selling desserts and food. It's really neat: there are all kinds of interesting things to buy at good prices and it's nice to know that you're buying direct from the maker of the goods.
Another fun little day outing discovered in Bangkok!

Until next time,

Sports Day

Thursday and Friday of this week were Sports Days: Thursday was for the Nursery and Kindergarten classes while Friday was for the P and M students.
For the past couple weeks there have been preparations for Sports Day: classes were shortened to allow for practice and many students stayed after school as well. It culminated in the spectacle that was "Sports Day: 2007".

I don’t have any pictures of the N and K day, as in my infinite wisdom I forgot to put batteries into my camera. I remembered on the second day, though, and if I manage to borrow someone’s pictures for Thursday I’ll post those as well.

The day began with a parade around the school grounds starting at 8 AM. Many students were dressed in elaborate costumes. The kids were organized into teams by colour: pink, blue, purple and red. We had been assigned teams and I was a member of Red.

Some of the costumes were…different. I wondered exactly what sport or aspect of sport was being showcased by these get-ups:

It was a bit difficult to deal with seeing my students dressed like that. These girls asked me if they looked beautiful: I didn’t know what to say. They are beautiful girls, yes. They are also 12 years old. It is so strange that in a society where being modest is expected, there is a day set aside where children are showcased in outfits such as these.

Part of the opening ceremonies was choreographed dancing routines; in this one, one of my students, Indy, sang “We Are the Champions” with chilling talent.

Cheerleading competitions occurred throughout the day. I was impressed that the children had managed to learn several dances in a short time; this encourages me for the year-end concert. I think it’s going to be amazing, considering it’s supposed to be an even bigger deal than Sports Day.

Not a whole lot of “Sports” happen on Sports Day…there are fun games and activities scheduled, but not every student has a chance to participate. There are also “regular” sports played, and more kids get to play in those (as they are wide team sports like Basketball and Football). It’s too bad that it apparently wasn’t possible to facilitate a day where everyone got to play.

The main purpose of Sports Day was to entertain the kids and let them have fun as a school. For the most part, I think it was a success. Even though I don’t agree with everything that happens in the school or in Thailand, I do agree that the children should come first.

Until next time,

Friday, January 12, 2007


Today, folks, I bring you a delicious Thai candy! One that the whole family can enjoy! Comes in two great flavours!

Try some today!

Until next time,

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It Only Gets Better

When I went to Phra Nang beach in Krabi Province, I was convinced that it was the most beautiful beach in Thailand.
Now, having been to Ko Tarutao, I find that I am mistaken. Ko Tarutao is paradise.
We went down there for New Year's. Alisa did the research and, with little information, we headed to Hat Yai and to the pier at Satun. We originally planned on staying on Ko Rawi, but that plan was foiled by the absence of accomodation on that island.

I'm glad we ended up where we did- Ko Tarutao is amazing. Kilometers of abandoned, untouched beach. Actual seashells all over the beach.

Monkeys, lizards, birds, frogs. Tarutao is part of a National Park, and the whole island is run by park staff. No one trying to sell you anything. No commercial vendors at all. Just park-run services.

We spent much of our time enjoying the beaches. We also visited Crocodile Cave, a formerly crocodile-infested cave that you take a longtail boat to access. It cost us 100 baht and at first, we figured it was just a quick trip to the cave, maybe a little walk inside. The mouth of the cave is fairly large, and we were immediately impressed by the massive stalactites. Our guide led us down a rickety ladder into the darkness, where we boarded (to our surprise), a raft. He pulled us and another group about a kilometer into the blackness- thank goodness we had flashlights- where we were amazed by incredible rock formations and thousands of bats. We got off the raft eventually and walked through about another kilometer of cave. Best 100 baht I had spent in a while...
New Year's Eve was more low-key than it has been in the past, especially when we got the news of the Bangkok bombings. It was nice to relax with friends on a beautiful beach instead of party, though.

We went to Ko Adang for our last day of holidays, seeking more utopia and snorkelling (not available on Ko Tarutao). It was something of a process to get to Ko Adang, and we stayed in probably the grossest lodging I have been in yet, but we had a great time anyway. The sand on the beach was odd, like little quartz crystals, but if you waded out about ten feet into the water and stuck your face in you could see hundreds of tropical fish. We rented masks for 50 baht and went snorkelling for about an hour. It was amazing- we didn't have to swim far at all and we saw more fish than I saw on all three of my previous tours combined. Angelfish, puffer fish, an eel (which I didn't see, a good thing because they terrify me), starfish, anenomes, urchins, parrot fish, clown fish...it was great. Another super investment of a couple bucks.

The whole trip was a remarkable success, despite many hitches in transportation and not really being sure where we were going, staying or doing at any given time.
Happy New Year's to everyone!

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


What a shock when at dinner on New Year's Eve, on peaceful and tranquil Ko Tarutao in the South, we received an urgent phone call from Chris in Bangkok.

7 bombs, he said.

6 people dead.

Many more injured.

A few more phone calls and we made sure people close to us knew we were okay and that others from our crew were also safe.

We later learned that it was 6 bombs, 3 fatalities and over 30 injured. Some of the locations of the blasts were places I have been.

Sitting meters from the one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, enjoying a meal with three very good friends, basking in the wonder that is this country that I have fallen in love with...and bombs are exploding in my city.

It is times like these that I remember that this is not home. Not for me. For those who call Thailand home, I feel sympathy for the actions of those that would tarnish this place.

I am safe. All those I know here are safe. I have confidence that we will remain that way.

Until next time,

It's Not a Tumour...er...Tattoo!

I find it ironic that my attempt to freak out my father with a big, over-the-top fake dragon tattoo was a spectacular failure but he and my little brother were convinced that the wee little henna five of us girls got on Christmas Eve was real.
Yes, Tim. I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan and I got a LIGHTENING BOLT on my side in his honour. Aren't you glad I'm not so die hard that I got it on my FACE? Oooohhhh that would have been SOOOO much better.
My skin is not for some person to carve up or inject with dyes. Come on. I faint when I get blood tests, for goodness sakes.

Happy New Year's, everyone. Hope it was safe and fun.

Until next time,