Home Sweet Home – Lop Buri
I’m now moved into my shiny new room in my new home of Lop Buri and its great – I have a bigger than king-size bed for the first time in my life and it’s all mine. Yay! Although it’s not really a bed so much as a ridiculously over-sized dining table. If I told you my mattress was as hard as a table you’d think I had a really hard mattress to sleep on. You would be wrong. This is not a mattress; it’s a dining table masquerading as a mattress rather than the other way around. Do you remember that advert where the guy puts a wine glass on his mattress and dances about on it and the wine doesn’t spill? This is like that; except the bits I bounce on don’t compress. At the risk of repeating myself… it’s like trying to bounce on a really solid dining table. I was just going to stick with it but after two nights of waking up with bruised hips and weird dreams where I think I’m sleeping on the floor I bought myself a squishy camp bed thing. Its only single sized so now half my bed is a bed and the other half is my living room. That’s quite ok by me since in other rooms of this block the exact same room and bed is shared by entire Thai families. We’re really very flush to have rooms to ourselves. I’ve decorated it with photos and it’s starting to feel like home.
Anyway, so I have a King-size table and an en-suite bathroom/wetroom which soaks everything when you shower but which is nonetheless extremely satisfying (especially when you’re eating a lot of Thai food and don’t want to share a bathroom). Other than that I have a wardrobe, a small bed-side table and a desk with no chair. It’s basically perfect but I’d kill for a fridge.
We’ve been out most nights to a place called Toby’s and drunk quite a lot of Thai Sangsom rum and Hong Thong whiskey which I thoroughly enjoyed. Farangs (foreigners) drink Sangsom with coke and Thais drink it with water. Given that I hate full-fat coke I thought I’d go Thai style and discovered that rum with just a dash of water is infinitely preferable. Every night we chat all the way home, climbing through trains and over the tracks since they cross the way to our block and there are no railway bridges. I skyped my parents from the lobby until the security guard pointed out that I was being eaten alive by the bugs coming through the open window behind me. Seriously, I’m mozzie caviar; I’m absolutely covered and there are a dozen new ones every day. You can barely put a pin between them on my ankles and I’ve got about 20 penny-sized red circles on each buttock which is not even a little bit attractive. The security guard gave me some of his own repellent which seemed like neat alcohol but nothing seems to work.
It’s harder to be vegetarian that I thought it would be here, basically anything that doesn’t include meat is usually sweet which gets tiresome. I bit into a ‘corn pie’ the other day only to find that it was basically a Danish pastry, but instead of using jam or fruit for a filling like we would it was full of sweetened creamed sweetcorn, once I’d stopping wincing at the sweetness it was actually quite nice. They put condensed milk in everything and even the orange juice has added sugar. The street food is still really good here but there are less vegetarian options than in Bangkok. I’ve been eating a lot of morning glory which is somewhere between spinach and asparagus and is so spicy that it instantly has me sweating like a Kentucky race horse.
Technically the monsoon season should have started a week ago but so far all we’ve had is one 5 minute downpour and nothing too dramatic. I’m dreading it because the second the water hit the roasted ground it rose back up in steam and we were all dripping with the humidity.
Most importantly of course is my new school where I shall be starting teaching in just under two weeks. I decided to go for the really little children and I’m teaching ‘kindergarden’ – 4 and 5 year olds. Apparently my role with the tinies will be largely playing and doing crafty things and singing, it doesn’t appear that I’m actually expected to teach them much at that age beyond maybe ‘hello’, ‘bye-bye’, ‘ABC’ and maybe a few shapes if I’m feeling ambitious. It’s not what I was expecting but I’m actually really chuffed and excited to get started. Playing with the little children should be a good way to ease me in more gently than if I were to go straight into having properly structured lessons and goals. The school is stunning; it’s enormous, beautiful and full of lovely little alcoves and play areas. I certainly don’t remember my RE department having water gardens.
The only thing I would say that’s not been great has been the orienteering, it’s been repetitive and confusing from time to time and we’ve not really gained anything from it that we didn’t already have on hand-outs anyway. I moaned to Dimitri; a Belarusian guy who will be teaching in a school near us, that I hadn’t learnt anything and I’d never been so bored after hours in the staff room where nobody really understood what they were meant to be doing. Dimitri pointed out that I was learning a lot – about Thai culture and how things work over here; which is basically slowly, convolutedly and at times completely bafflingly.
Anyway, that’s enough out of me for now – I’m off to get my hair cut by lady-boys and tomorrow I think we’re all headed to Ko Tao for some r and r.