The final furlong.....

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December 6th 2007
Published: January 4th 2008
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Watch out kid!Watch out kid!Watch out kid!

There's an elephant! Watch out ducks, this kids into Muay Thai!
Our last 2 nights in Thailand and we headed to our friends at the elephant camp in Pattaya.

We didn't actually do much! We just hung out with them and tried to make the most of the warm sun before the cold of England in December!

Happy Birthday To The King!

Our last day in Thailand was extra special as it was the king's 80th birthday! Everyone was celebrating. We celebrated by goig to Tesco and buying our friends at the camp a Christmas tree and decorations and erecting it in the hallway. Arnon seemed pleased with it!

We bought Mrs Noi a special present - a can of Olde English cider from the international supermarket - imported all the way from Somerset! May sound odd - but her daughter is married o an English bloke and lives in Somerset. I didn't know if she'd ever tried cider before.

Arnon presented us with a present too - 2 Buddhist amulets to keep us safe. We were really touched by this and we'll keep them forever. If you're reading this Arnon - thank you!!!!

Last night...

We spent our last night in Thailand sat with
Pattaya night marketPattaya night marketPattaya night market

Rabbit in skirt.
Arnon watching a Thai movie about kickboxing. Arnon translated it for us and it was really good. Then we had to turn in early as we had a taxi booked for the airport at the crack of dawn.

In the morning, we patted Oscar and Hoppy the dogs and told them to be good. Then rudely woke Arnon as we decided we weren't letting him avoid saying goodbye! We set off to the airport watching the sun rise over Thailand for the last time in a potenially long while...

Thank yous

The end of 2006 and the majority of 2007 have been the most amazing 13 months of our lives. Bizarre but fantastic. Backpacking, working with elephants, eaching English. Much of it was unplanned and just happened - but it all worked out. Although we did a lot of travelling to other countries... (Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Borneo, Cambodia and Vietnam), Thailand has been home and by the end of the trip it really feels like that. It was tough to leave, but it's a long way from England and our friends and families there...and we're sure we'll be back at some point.

Anyway, some people made
Pattaya Walking StreetPattaya Walking StreetPattaya Walking Street

No, they aren't school girls waiting for the bus....
the trip extra special so deserve thanking. Here goes...
Thanks to the Thai contingent...
Arnon, Oh, Noi, Kop, Jep, Cherry, Emma and everyone else at Ecoexplorer and the elephant camp -not forgetting Sweng and Tong and Ho - good luk for the future!
Everyone at Nantawan Thawipas Trilingual School - students, staff and parents. You've set us on a new career path in teaching English around the world!

And all those from the English speaking world...
Everyone who did our TEFL course with us in Ban Phe. It's been a blast. I was more than happy to explain Guy Fawkes Night and spotted dick to bemused Americans...and in return we got to celebrate the 4th of July for the 1st time!
And a special thanks to all our mates from home who visited. To say we were so far away we had a surprising number! Paul and Sonia, Paul and Sarah, Sarah Yeates, Kate's mam and dad and not forgetting my oldest mates- Mark and Helen. I missed their wedding but they came to Thailand on honeymoon and we had a mint time together in Bangkok.

So that's it. South East Asian adventure over. Next stop England...and then
Singing for the KingSinging for the KingSinging for the King

Singing the King's new song at the railway station, Bangkok. We were at the station for 2 hours, and they sang for the whole time. Over and over again...
Spain. Watch this space. All that remains to b done is a list of things that will always remind us of Thailand. If anyone reads this who has been, I hope it strikes a chord...

So Thailand...

tuk tuks, "Hello, want something? Look around!", motorbike taxi riders in waistcoats, a huge variety of energy drinks in small brown bottles looking like medicine, "Where you go??", elephants turning up in the most unlikely places and no one batting a eyelid, street vendors blocking pavements so pedestrians have to walk on the road, mopeds driving along the pavement, king shirts making Monday a sea of yellow, skin bleaching agents in everything, monks in orange robes on mobile phones, people wearing talc on their faces, giant Buddha amulets round people's necks, never quite knowing what's going on or what will happen next, monks in orange robes in internet cafes, sunshine, monkeys, golden Buddhas - usual in gigantic proportions, petite people and struggling to find clothes to fit and having to buy XXL shirts, a high proportion of beautiful women to munters, Beer Chang, gaping holes in the pavement that someone would be sued for in England, Beer Leo, "Hey sexy man!
Guesthouse noticeGuesthouse noticeGuesthouse notice

Something against female carpenters..?
Come inside", policemen in ridiculously tight brown uniforms, spirit houses with offerings of fizzy pop on them, sharp suited Bangkok business people lighting jossticks and kneeling before altars near their office before work, terrifying taxi journeys and even scarier motorbike taxi journeys, busloads of school children shouting "HELLO!!! How are you??!" as they pass a foreigner, staff on buses looking like aeroplane cabin crew, dogs in clothes, Buddha images everywhere, sweat, white sands and the most stunning beaches in the world, jungle, mangy dogs, deep fried locust, fungal infections, rabbits in clothes, cheap travel costs, bakery goods that mix sweet with savoury - e.g. shredded pork inside, icing on top, 7-11 on every corner...and the middle of every street, people wearing jumpers and woolly hats when the temperature "plummets" to 25C, big smiles, signs supposedly in English that make no sense.......and last but not least - some of the friendliest people in the world.

Thanks Thailand.
See you next time....

Additional photos below
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Always best when giant and gold.
Safety 1stSafety 1st
Safety 1st

Seatbelts fastened?

He wants to be famous.

9th January 2008

Pretty good summing up of Thailand in a paragraph....fungal infections??? No please don't tell me! Enjoy Spain. You'll be trilingual!

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