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Published: April 6th 2008
Night out in Fisherman's Village
Anthony, Fred and James on our last night out together.
So I must admit that I'm getting around to posting this a bit late... we are actually in Chiang Mai now. We just arrived so I don't have a lot to say about it yet but if the city is like our cab ride from the airport to hotel, it will be great! Friendly people and beautiful scenery! But for now, lets talk about our departure from Ko Samui: Leaving Ko Samui
Tomorrow we leave Ko Samui first thing in the morning to head off for what we think will be our new home for the next year, Chiang Mai, the rose of Thailand. We don’t have jobs or even leads on such but we will arrive during the school’s three week holiday for the Thai New Year, Songkran. Hopefully we can hit the pavement enough during that time to find good jobs with private schools or even universities. If we don’t find work with one of these better schools then we’ll just take the first thing we can get with a language school where you teach adult learners at nights and on weekends. Or perhaps, Chiang Mai won’t suite our fancy at all and we’ll find ourselves in
Class of March 2008
Here we all are: James, his girlfriend Cat, Teacher Heather, Fred, Claire, Brian and Anthony
another part of Thailand or maybe even another part of the world?
The future is open but our time here on the island has definitely come to a close. I feel quite ready to leave, though. It has been wonderful but I do feel satisfied and ready for change. School was brilliant but now it is time to apply our knowledge; the beach was peaceful but now it is time for adventure; the good times with friends we made were fantastic but now it is time for us all to move on so we can meet up again with even more experiences to share. Last night was a perfect end: all of our classmates plus James’ lovely girlfriend and our fabulous teaching instructor, Heather met up for an evening in Fisherman’s Village, one of the most pleasant and interesting areas I’ve seen in Thailand. Fisherman’s Village is ran by a young, wealthy and highly respected Thai man whose vision for the village was to create a quaint and cozy downtown area for expats living on the island to enjoy a strip of land on the water with western and Thai restaurants, familiar feeling bars and clubs with live music.
Anthony's brilliant photography work at three in the morning...yeah, there were about three pictures he took like this.
The one strict rule about the village that really is the primary factor in producing a cozy, comfortable vibe is that there is no prostitution or “girly bars” allowed. The massage parlors are for massages and cocktail waitresses are for ordering drinks—not “bar girls” adding an extra source of income for their bar. We had a beautiful dinner overlooking the harbor and then sat at a cozy patio bar drinking and enjoying each other one last time till the wee hours of the morning.
It was a great night to end a great last week. Since we wrote last, Brian has rented a motorbike and we have been touring the island even more. We hadn’t rented one before because the weather hadn’t been too bad to walk-in and we really were quite busy with school that we didn’t have much time for anything else plus if we could save money by walking, why not! Oh yeah, one more reason, remember when we told you about how dangerous it was to even walk around this island? Well, apparently the statistic for motorbike fatalities on this island is 20 per month… yeah, scary! However, after three weeks of watching the roads
Na Thon Street Market
The lively street fair of Na Thon
and learning the crazy moves people pull around here, we felt prepared defensively to give it a go—with helmets of course! Besides, if you saw how many eight year old Thais drive themselves with two to three of their friends on the back of their bikes, you’d feel like a sissy for not trying too! The coolest, though, is when you see a dog sitting perfectly balanced on the back of a bike going 30km/hr. Alright, back to our travels:
A couple nights ago we took the bike to Lamai, a city best known for its prostitution but I must say they hide it quite well. I thought it was a gorgeous place. The streets were lined with tropical plants and the buildings had more of an island hut architecture than anywhere else on the island. Yes, there were some seedy looking sois (side streets) but the main drags and beaches were family friendly. From there we hopped on the bike and stayed on the ring road touring the south end of the island, then the west, then stopped in Na Thon on the other side of the island from our home in Chaweng.
In Na Thon they
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes of Na Thon's street fair
had a huge street fair right on the harbor with a big concert where we assumed quite a popular band was playing. We assumed this because of the intense amount of production setup for them and Brian also noticed that the drums were quite expensive. Nonetheless, Thais are far more interested in food than anything else so Michael Jackson could have been on stage but with the wealth of food around, no one would have paid any attention. And you might not have either if you had seen this food! We first started with my favorite dish, Som Tom (spicy papaya salad). Except I usually eat Som Tom at restaurants where I can dictate the degree of spiciness… and let me tell you, for a westerner, I can eat some pretty spicy stuff. However, at the festival everything was pre-made for the average Thai palate. Being as hungry as I was, I still shoveled that yummy fire in at a very unsafe speed. A few minutes into it after my lips and tongue had already seemed to burn off I felt it affect me on a deeper level. My entire body turned red and my eyes gushed out water—I went
Bugs for food in Na Thon
A delicacy we didn't try...but our stay in Thailand is still young!
too far and all I could do was sweat it out. This is a good time to mention that after seeing what Thais are capable of doing to their food, there is no way I can consider Mexican food spicy again. Flavorful spice, yes but I would prefer a jar of habenero peppers any day over a Thai’s spiciest version of papaya salad. After calm returned to my mouth Brian and I dabbled in some other small (bland) dishes as well as an interesting Thai desert: it looked like mini tacos with sour cream and shredded cheese or lettuce topping but what looked like a tortilla was really a sweet waffle crisp and what looked like sour cream was more of the marshmallow persuasion and what looked like shredded cheese or lettuce…was something quite different…kind of good though! After Na Thon we finished off the east side of the island and with that successfully completed a tour of the island at night by motorbike!
All and all, I know we will think back fondly of our time here on Ko Samui and for anyone thinking of taking a TEFL course, I would highly recommend TEFLworld on Ko Samui and
The unrated version that nearly killed me!
stay at our resort, Chaweng Noi Resort. Our mate Anthony, who has been hoping to stay on the island, just accepted a job offer from the Panyadee bi-lingual school across the grounds from our school and ran by our wonderfully brilliant TEFL instructor, Phil. So hopefully we have secured a place to stay for whenever we want to come back. So now I’ll return to packing and write you all again from the Rose of Thailand!
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