The month-long summer term already came and went. Now it's the end of the first week of the 2013-14 school term. I'm going have to squeeze in some more time to get up to date with what's been going on. I haven't really been able to get into this as a daily diary sort of thing. Unfortunately that results in humongous posts. Here's a pic of the school, Sarasas Witaed Chonburi.
I'm not doing any of the things I was going to do: exercise, practice lute and singing, write, etc. It's been so time consuming to get here and I've felt drained of energy for quite some time. Two back to back bouts of food poisoning and hurting my knee and hip made me give up on exercising for a while. I was getting into it back in December and January. Will have to ease back into it now that things have settled down.
Finding and getting settled into another apartment was something of an ordeal. I was so sick of moving every couple of months. It's a long way between southwest Bangkok and Chonburi City. For the first couple of weeks I was commuting in the school van, that was over 3 hours round trip. Left my apartment in the dark and got back in the dark. Wow, I'm not getting paid enough for that. But I held on, figuring it was only temporary and things would be better when I got to Chonburi.
|Here's looking the other direction, up into the neighborhoods|
I had to live in the teacher housing furnished by the school for the first week and a half I was here, 2 bedroom condos they bought and rent to teachers for 3,000 baht per month. Good rule of thumb is that 1,000 baht = $30. Pretty good deal for a nice condo, but when I got there they weren't even finished building it. It was a construction site, dirt all over everything, no kitchen facilities. Furniture that was there was straight from the furniture store, completely wrapped in plastic. There was no water when I moved in, so the management brought each unit two large trash cans full of water. I don't know what the hell they thought I was going to do with that water, I don't know where it came from. I used it for hand washing some clothes and flushing the toilets. Of course you had to go buy some containers to carry the water to the toilet.
|I took a walk up into the soi's one day, just strolling around. Wasn't bothered|
by too many dogs, and people ignored me for the most part.
They got the water turned on the second day, but the next day there was a leak somewhere and the first floor was flooded, so it was off again for a couple days. It was a nightmare. Actually, it was like camping out in a construction site but I forgot to bring my camping gear. And they want us to live 4 teachers to a unit. I'm just a little too long in the tooth to be sharing a bedroom with another man, so I bailed out of that as soon as I could find another apartment. That was a huge chore, looking for an apartment in the heat, talking to Thais about various things like leases and rent schemes, finding someone to move my stuff. Frankly, I don't know how I would have done it without Jeab's help. She has been a life saver. My life here would be a lot different without her help and support.
|I walked up to the door and found three lovely ladies inside. The one|
on the left is Pum Pui, she spoke English pretty well and we had
a conversation for about 15 min. through the locked grate. Sister
on the right and mother in the middle.
|She wanted to know where I was going, I said I was looking|
for some place to buy some lunch. They gave me
some of what they were eating and refused my money.
We started driving around in Thai neighborhoods close to the school and working outwards. I was considering some less than appealing places. Then about 5:00 PM we found this little apartment building. There were no immediate vacancies, so I didn't even get a look at a room, but they had some pics. Price was OK, had A/C and it was well-kept, so I slapped down an deposit. Had to go back to the teacher housing for another week until April 1st though, that's when a unit became available. I crammed all my stuff under the stairwell of the condo for storage, bought Jeab a nice dinner and sent her on her really long drive home before it got too dark.
The day I could move out of there couldn't come soon enough. I didn't want to impose on Jeab's generosity again, so I found a songteaw driver who would hire out and move me. He came on a Saturday morning with his entire family and they moved me in about one hour. I think it cost 500 baht, or 50 songteaw rides. That's about $15. I realized I didn't have any pics of a songteaw, so a little while ago I walked out to the main road and snapped a couple pics of one as it drove by.
By the way, "songteaw" sounds a lot like "song tail" to me, especially if you say it with a southern accent. Sorta like tay-yo. That's the best I can describe this strange sound they use a lot. Wait, no, I remember Jerry Lewis using something like it, and that nutty professor on the Simpsons (which is a parody of Jerry Lewis), gets really close to this sound. There are some really surprising sounds in common usage in the Thai language I just can't get yet.
|Here's my laundry and|
|About a week's worth|
of laundry there
Then there's the soi dogs. They can be dangerous. There's dozens of them living in the vacant field (which can be seen in the pics of my balcony) along the soi I have to walk, and they all will bark endlessly when I come near, but 5 or 6 have acted like they want a piece of me. I've learned pretty much how to deal with them now: walk tall and show them you're top dog. Don't be afraid, don't run, and never turn your back on them. They aren't big, but they can be aggressive and they will try to bite you if you don't watch it. I've had some of these mangy bastards sneak up on me from behind and try to bite me.
|Here's one of the problem ones. This son-of-a-bitch |
waits for me every damn day.
|Here he is again growling at me, hair raised up|
on his back and ready to come at me.
|There's a crazy lady who lives in this shack. She feeds|
about 10 of them. I suppose they feel they are protecting
her from the likes of scary men like me.
Wow, I have murder in my heart for some of these dogs. I was thinking I'd like to find some pepper spray, but have thought twice about that. I don't want to carry a pressurized container of that in my bag all the time. And you don't know which of these dogs are strays and which "belong" to a Thai. I suspect I may start a shit storm with some of the neighborhood people if I pepper sprayed someone's dog. Overspray might be a problem too, wouldn't want to inadvertently spray a person down-wind of it. So just got to stay on top of it with the umbrella I guess. How I would love to bean some of them on the nose with it.
Did I mention there's really good Thai food in Thailand? And it's cheap too. Here's a table we got at some place (I don't think they have names) along Ang Sila beach. There's dozens. Jeab just picks the one that has the most people, and it's usually a winner.
|Let's see that's an omelette with crab meat, seafood and vegetables,|
and deep fried chicken bits in some sort of orange sauce I think.
|Yes, I often drink my beer with ice now. This is the usual arrangement, often with a|
straw. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be drinking BEER with ICE in it.
But it's delicious when you're really hot and need hydrating.
|Watching the sun go down while chowing down on some |
great Thai food...hey, this is a reason to love this place!
I really don't even miss bread. When I first got here I kept cheese on hand, makes a nice omelette. But good cheese here is hard to find and it's rather expensive. Now I make my omelettes with fried minced pork, with some onions and peppers mixed in.
|Jib's place. I eat here a lot.|
|Futile attempt to look younger.|
|My lovely assistant|
|On the top floor of one of the buildings|
|View from that floor. This place looks like Vegas.|
After the meal, and spending some time at the temple we drove up in the hills to a lookout point. The higher up we got, the more monkeys there were. Mean monkeys. You want to steer clear of these little bastards, I'm not even kidding.
|This guy looks harmless enough in this picture sitting|
up top at the lookout point, but I swear to God
he was a little bastard. What a jerk.
|We stayed up there until it started to get dark and the monkeys|
had a screaming fight on top of Jeab's car and started flinging poo.
Yeah, then we were out of there.
|Here's a building that looks like it has a ship on the top.|
|And I had to sneak in a bicycle pic. This pretty bike is called "The Roland".|
I tried to do a little research online to find out about them, but I'm getting
conflicting stories. This is a really nice looking bike to me, saw it in a
street market. I should have made an offer on it. Gonna go back
in a few weeks and see if I can find it again. Gonna have to change
out that brake handle, don't like those.