The Farang Frontier

Sawasdee Krup my friends…

I had the most amazing experience today and just really wanted to talk about it! Rieng’s sister Ree convinced me (I know, I know, twist my arm…) to stay an extra couple days and come and see the primary school where she teaches. I was keen on going because I am tossing around the idea of getting my TEFL certificate and wanted to see what it might be like. It was awesome!!

Many of the kids had never met a foreigner before, so I was something of a novelty. The schools are as much the same as they are different. Many things reminded me of being in primary school, but there was tonnes that was just completely… well… foreign (imagine that!).

Four days before Valentine’s Day and I imagined to catch the eyes of a couple Thai girls, who showed that they liked me by giving me these fake flowers that are really cute. Yeah, alright, so their average age is 10… at least someone likes me! Haha. I taught the guys how to “give five” and consistantly kicked this one kid’s ass at Rock-Paper-Scissors… not sure what they call it in Thai, but it works the same.. and I won!

I got to teach the class, which was a bit of a test of my personality skills as the “English” teacher didn’t speak fluent English and couldn’t help me with much, but the blackboard helped.. and I am an AMAZING illustrator!! Well at least for my first time having to draw a hockey stick and a map of Canada freehand. (When in doubt, stick with the cliches).

At the end of the day a group of girls came up to me and were all giggles… and Ree translated that the one girl wanted my signature… my frigin’ autograph!!! It must have been the sunglasses! hahaha. I was pulled into the music room by another girl and was treated to some authentic Thai music on this bamboo instrument (sorta like a xylophone, but not)… and I got to bang the wood blocks together!

Speaking of musical instruments, I bought a guitar yesterday and could’t be happier. I went into Bangkok in the afternoon and wandered around (checked out the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pao and sorta walked into the Grand Palace – but it was 200 Bhat and well… see below for my money situation). I met Rieng after work and we hit a little strip of shops to see about a guitar and a tent. I had checked for both at Tesco’s (sorta the UK equiv. of Wal-Mart meets Zehrs – and they have a big one here). I found a pair of shoes for 400 bhat and a shirt for 70 bhat (yeah… like 2 dollars!), but the tents were 1,000 bhat and they had no guitars. So… the guitar I got is a cheaper one, would probably cost about $150 in Canada… but I managed to Lod Dai Mai (“special discount for me”) the guy down from 1900 bhat to 1400 bhat… with a soft case, capo and strings it was about 1800 bhat (or about $60). Glad I waited until Thailand instead of grabbing one in Italy or something!

The tent, though pretty basic, cost me about 600 bhat.. and should save me more than double that in the long run. I can stay in National Parks in most places I visit, and only need pay from 10-50 bhat a night – compared to the 150-400 bhat of guesthouses. I’ve been meaning to do some camping lately… and well… if two months of it doesn’t suit me… I don’t know what will!

Right, the money situation. Not much of a situation really.. I have none. I’m down to about my last $100 (3,000 bhat) and am praying my parents will come through for me (hint hint – How To Be A Hero On A Web Site In Two Easy Steps, by Ryan’s Parents). It is dirt cheap here, so it isn’t going to take much to get me through. I calculated the majority of my travel will not run over $70-80 total and food is a joke… (I think I can survive off like $1-3/day easy)… but there is so much to see and as much as I know I should be conservative about things… I really don’t want to leave and regret missing something because of $20 or $50 when I can easily repay that when I get home. I’ve thought about using the guitar and buskin’ it, but unlike Europe… I doubt the poor masses of Thai people are going to take much sympathy on some Farang that they assume has more in his shoe than they make all year.

Alright alright… sob sob sob… Ryan’s in Thailand, the poor bugger… sitting on beaches, eating wonderful food, being next to Buddha in the worship from small children… tough life he’s got. I should end this soon before I kill all love you people may have for me.


PS: I miss you all and can’t wait to see you in less than two months…

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