Day 229: P-Day

Trip Start Nov 11, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Maha Sarakham,
Thursday, July 22, 2010

THe bed was incredibly comfortable and I was reluctant to get out of it which left me rushing to get ready in time. On the plus side I was able to have bacon egg and toast for breakfast (it was tepid, but any port in a storm and it went down well with a couple of coffees).

Jumped into the van which was loading up as I got there and we were off to the venue which we reached before 0800. THere then followed a lot of waiting around and not being told things until the last minute which I will not go into overmuch, save to say that I felt that Ajarn Somtawin would rather have done everything by herself without my presence which she saw as an unfortunately necessary irritation. By the time 0930 came around I was in a huffy mood but I blew off some steam to Ralph and he was able to lift my spirits until I could "Sa Baai Sa Baai." myself back to eqaunimity.

One of the things that had happened was that we were told about 0900, that the judges would be starting to hear presentations this morning, rather than this afternoon as we had been told initially. As a result we had to wait by the stand constantly. I made some use of the time rehearsing them and preparing them for dealing with questions (some of which came from another farang at a stand across the way). We also saw some of the other EP students (the rest of them having left Loei at 0500 this morning to come and see the open house). This - along with the fact that all the other schools in the northeast had done likewise - made the judging hall (the only part of the site that was air con remember) rather noisy so I also told my 3 to speak up as much as possible.

About 1200 we had seen the judges listen to a whole bunch of other projects and it seemed that we would be the first group to be seen after lunch at 1300 (typical huh?). Somtawin told the students to go and eat lunch quickly and return to the stand. After she had gone I told them to take their time, relax, and come back about 1245. I did take Au's number however in case of emergency. I was also unable to take my own advice and found myself back at them stand about 1220 sipping at a bottle of water.

The students returned and about 1315 the judges came around to us. They were an ethnically diverse bunch and they listened politely and seemed to be engaged. The group perfomed well, although they were a little quiet and nerves led to them rushing a bit (we finished a full minute faster than any of our rehearsals) but overall I think they  were very good and they dealt well with teh questions they received (one that came out of west field a little was, "Give 3 reasons why your project is the best." this was kind of an obvious one but I had focused purely on questions that pertained to the project (and the weaknesses I perceived in it - none of which they picked up on).

I congratulated the team and the other teachers came over for photo opportunities. Somtawin asked me how it had gone and I began to explain, giving her some of the high points as I saw them; next thing - to my utter astonishment - she turned and walked off without a word of explanation, she did at least turn around and say, "Oh sorry." after several seconds as I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I was once again slightly nonplussed: Thai's don't generally say 'Goodbye' to each other and it is common for people to walk out the offie at the end of the day without really addressing those who remain; however I am still pretty certain that walking off while someone is actually talking to you must still be pretty rude. A few minutes later I was at least able to put some sort of explanation together.

THe team wanted to head off and look around the exhibition which was fine by me (they had been waiting all morning after all) and a minute or so later Somtawin returned with another lady dressed in a formal looking pink suit and an official air about her. She was some sort of big wig from Bangkok who apparently wanted to see the stand and I surmised that it was rushing off to fawn over her that had precipitated Somtawin's sudden departure (yes, I could have found a less condescending way of putting that, and no, I wasn't inclined to). The team had to be hurriedly reconvened while the lady went to see another stand while Somtawin hovered behind her like the Grand Vizier. Once that was done and out of the way we were finally done for the day.

I went down and hung around the Loei stand for a bit (which fitted the brief of "English Village" about as much as it fitted the description of 'Indian restaurant') before taking myself off to see the rest of the exhibition (includng some bingo on another school's stand and a chat to a few other Farang). THe details escape me but there were several nice people there and the stands were varied (and many of them also bore little resemblance to anything other than a bit of a party).

We left about 1630 and I was looking forward to getting back and freshened up. Unfortuantely we were heading to Big C outside town for dinner where we stayed until nearly 1800. I did however take the opportunity to stuff myself, having Sushi, folloewd by some KFC and then a donut so the evening wasn't a complete write off.

There was another meeting at 2000 in Niu's room which was almost exclusively in Thai so it meant almost nothing to me, we were then waiting around for the school director (who also happens to be Somtawin's husband - I had spotted that they shared a surname but hadn't asked about it up until Panik told me) who was arriving to talk some more about... something (I'm sure it was very interesting and the students seemed to appreciate it). We were out by 2045 and I returned to the room where Panik and Joe were drinking Leo and watching boxing on the TV, I grabbed a couple of bottles myself and joined them (although I still had the computer on and did some typing) until they headed out to get some food and I got on with blogging and facebooking until 2330 again.

I was just closing down and packing up when they returned with half a bottle of whiskey (having consumed the first half). There was more beer consumption and I was warned that the pair of them would be not much fun to share a room with (yes, Joe was crashing here in some sort of room exchange deal I think) but they were generally good company (Panik more so perhaps as he actually has some English and we were able to have quite a good converstaion) I think I got to sleep around 0100 and I had no difficulty at all sleeping - the beds in that place were extremely comfy.
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