Sorry I've neglected this for so long!

Trip Start May 13, 2007
Trip End Jul 26, 2007

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hello everyone,

God, its been ages since I updated this! I'm sorry, but I didn't have a spare minute to myself on the CELTA teaching course!  I've now finished it and have been recommended by my tutors for a 'B' Grade - a nice surprise!  We were studying and teaching from 9am to 7.30pm every day with a 2hr break for lesson preparation, which was pretty exhausting, but I felt like I learnt a lot.  I really enjoyed the practise teaching, more than I thought I would.  My students were great, and a few of them took it upon themselves to show me around Chiang Mai and the real Thai places when I'd finished the course!

I stayed in Chiang Mai for 6 days after the course finished and as I mentioned, was adopted by 3 of my students and shown all the Thai places to eat and go out.  I went to a Thai BBQ, where every table is given a charcoal grill and a pot of sock over charcoal, then you choose your raw ingredients and either boil or grill them.  I ate almost entirely giant prawns and squid, mmm!  All-you-can-eat, for the equivalent of 2 pound.  They all took me to see a live Thai jazz band who were fantastic.    I also had my first ride on the back of a motorbike, which was very exciting!  I'll have to get me one of those when I get home.I was sad to leave Chiang Mai and I probably could have stayed for weeks if I'd had the time.  Before I left, I also squeezed in a trip to an elephant camp and a night safari.

From Chiang Mai, I went to the South to get to the islands.  It would have taken 26 hours on 2 buses and a boat to get to where I wanted to go, so I wimped out and booked flights! It still took over 12 hours to get to Koh Phangan with all the waiting around at airports but I'm sure it was a lot more comfortable than the alternative!  So I took a flight from Chiang MAi to BAngkok, then from Bangkok to Surat Thani, form there a 2 hour bus journey to the pier, then a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride to Koh Phangan.  My jpourney was not over though, I was on the wrong side of the island so had to take a sangthew (pick-up truck taxi) to the other side.  It was quite a hairy ride along the cliffs with a sheer drop into the sea and my driver was not overly fond of using the brakes!  However, I did get there in one piece, just about!

As I arrived at my guesthouse, there were quite a few drunk German men standing on the tables and singing at the top of their voices while techno music pumped out from the hotel bar.  Needless to say, this was not the relaxing beach break I had hoped for.  I'm sorry to say that my impression of the place didn't change much over the 5 days I was there.  The beaches and scenery were very beautiful, but the town itself could have been any Spanish holiday resort.  There was nothing to tell you you were in Thailand.  Even the Thais didn't live there.  It was just full of Europeans, Irish bars and resaurants advertising 'Full English Breakfast'  I could have been on the Costa Del Sol.  Whats more, everything was at least 4 times more expensive than anywhere I've been in Thailand before. 

So today I left Koh Phangan, and have come instead to Koh Samui, the next island along.  I wasn't going to come here because I thought it was too touristy, but after Koh Phangan, I don't think anywhere could be more touristy!  I've chosen a quiet beach with not many tourists or bars on it and its just what I wanted.  I'm staying in a little bungalow, right by the beach with my own veranda and hammock.  Its lovely and quiet and the place I'm staying has a little resaurant on the beach and a deck full of cushions where you can sit and have a cocktail and watch the sun go down.  Perfect!  Unfortunately, its been raining today, but it looks like its starting to clear up. 

There's loads of photos from my course, Chiang Mai and Koh Phangan, if you can be bothered to look through them all, they're here: - from my course - leaving party with my students - General ones of Chiang Mai - The elephant camp - the night safari - Me holding a lion! - Koh Phangan

P.S  For those of you who don't yet know, I'm coming home at the end of July.  So if anyone knows of any ESOL jobs going, let me know! xxxxx
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