Published: February 26th 2007February 21st 2007
So for the last three weeks we have been staying with some of the Ecoexplorer staff at the Green Jomtien Studios in Pattaya. The studios are owned by Jiep, the managing director, who is also Ahnon and Ao's sister. We have a really amazing huge room complete with balcony and en suite, cable tv and air con. Its beautiful. We live here with Ahnon, Ao, Laem the cook, any elephant mahout volunteers who happen to be here, and at the moment, Kop the artist. During the day, Mrs Noi comes to work in the office. We have been made to feel so welcome by them and they have taken us in as part of their family. They are all so friendly.
We spend our days doing work on the dusky langur project, designing presentations to give to schools, information boards for the village and working on fundraising and marketting. We also help out in the office with english translations. Mrs Noi has been teaching us how to cook Thai food in the afternoons. So far we have made green curry and Tam ka gai (coconut soup with chicken). We also look after the dogs, both the ones who live
Tom Ka Gai
Gai means chicken in Thai
here and the collection of injured and hungry dogs that seem to congregate here for medicine and food. People seem to be surprisingly indifferent to their pets in this continent, there are loads of dogs and cats around the streets but people dont get them neutered, feed them regularly or look after them when they are ill. The Ecoexplorer staff seem unusual because they really care about animals and look after them even if they dont belong to them.
An alternative Valentines
The Thai's like to celebrate things. Any festival will do. They have adopted Valentines day and so, last Wednesday, we celebrated it with our new friends Thai style. It began by being woken up by the soundtrack to Love Actually, the duslet tones of Ronan Keating at 6am. They then planned a party for the evening. Ahnon made mocktails (non alcoholic cocktails) at his homemade bar, blending loads of cool fruits. Laem made a lovely meal for me, Kris and Claudia, an elephant mahout volunteer from Calefonia, decorating the table with placemats and flowers. They then entertained us by juggling fire, before we settled down to watch Notting Hill. They made so much effort, it was really
Chinese New Year
Last weekend it was Chinese New Year. Ahnon and Ao's grandfather was Chinese so we got to observe some of the traditions. Young single Chinese desendants burn money (pretend), clothes, gold and other objects as offerings for the spirits of their desendants. They let off firecrackers and make offerings of chickens and ducks. Its a big family celebration, on Saturday we made ourselves scarce while they went out with their family. However, on Sunday we were included. Sunday morning we went to Mrs Noi's house with Claudia, Jiep, Ao, Kop, Yung the driver from Ecoexplorer and the new elephant mahout volunteer Donna from Guernsey. We sat around drinking beer and eating Thai snacks, then Mrs Noi showed us how to make Thai style fried rice. We then all went to the beach near Mrs Noi's house, which was full of Thai's rather than foreigners, were we sat and drank and ate. Apparantly the traditional way for Thai's to celebrate. It was lovely.
There are more photos below