This is a Songthaew. I mentioned it in the last post.
I have yet to contract a horrible disease and turn into a festering pile of boils and spiders or whatever.
I can’t tell you what Chiang Mai is like, because although I’ve technically been here for a week I haven’t seen any of it. Generally our day consists of getting up at about 8 am, eating breakfast, beginning lesson planning for the night after, going into a class at 11:30, lunch at 1, then classes from 2 till 5:15, teaching practice/observation 5:45 till 8, dinner, and then either more work or a sneaky wander to a “bar” on our little back street. It’s currently 10:30 on a Saturday night and with exception of a 2 hour break to escape the asylum and walk to a local market in hopes of finding some food, we’ve spent nearly the entire day working on our first assignment.
We did manage to sneak out last night and visit a few of the local bars in celebration of completing our first week of the course. I should mention that we are not exactly in the heart of Chiang Mai, but rather in a village on the outskirts, and what I’m calling “bars” are not what you’re thinking they are. Our resort, as nice as it is, is on a quiet lane which turns off a quiet street in a reasonably quiet satellite village of the ancient city of Chiang Mai. I believe the village we are in is called Mae Hia. It is nestled between Hang Dong and Ban Wang Tan, which are both significantly more excellent names for your village and reasonably sound advice. Apparently a great business strategy in Thailand is to take advantage of the seemingly relaxed licensing laws (and all laws) and turn the front of your house into a makeshift counter you can sell beers over. These make up the majority of places we have visited, the exception being a Thai language karaoke bar run by a ladyboy (she likes us).
Our favourite of these bars we have nicknamed “The Bridge Over the River Kwai”, as the enterprising owner has set up some seating on the very small footbridge which spans the narrow canal running down the middle of the street (I’ll get some pictures next time I’m there and the seating in question is available). It’s usually our first and sometimes only stop; the owners are friendly, the beers are 50 Baht for about a litre (approx AU$1.50) and we are often given free food. Last night we scored a plate of whole fried frogs in what I’m convinced was an attempt at playing Let’s See What We Can Get These Idiot Foreigners To Eat. Turns out it’s fried frogs.
Fuck yeah plate of frogs
I don’t really have much else to add. I really am seeing the inside of the resort 98% of the time, and it’s not a very big resort. The food is good, and especially cheap if you buy it outside the resort (about AU$1.20 per meal). The other people on the course are generally excellent, and I’ve had some reasonable success with my teaching practice (the Thai students are really friendly and eager). It’s an entirely new context though, and I’m having to consider entirely new things so I’m not quite killing it yet. I can figure the shit out of a verb tense, though.
I also know what a schwa is, so that’s sort of good.
If anything super interesting happens and I actually have some time (ha!) I’ll write another post before next weekend.