Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10-6-13 An Unplanned (And Then Totally Not My Plan At All) Mini-Adventure

     I had no plan for today, except to relax and hopefully walk around to prevent stomachaches. In the morning, I left to use the wifi in the hotel lobby and Skype with Nick as I was working on creating my materials for teaching tomorrow. When I finished, I walked to a restaurant and ate larb moo by myself--I finally was able to check my phone to see if I had gotten any Voxes and Snaps. As I headed back to my room, I noticed that the rain had stopped but I was feeling pretty lazy, so I was really surprised when I actually forced myself to hop on my bike to go to Rawai Beach. 
      What initially motivated me to get off of my butt was that I needed to return my adorable green bicycle today. I walked over to my friend’s place because she needed to return it too. Apparently, while I had been working in the lobby for about 3 hours, she had wheeled BOTH of our bikes to the store and returned them all on her own. I felt horrible, but asked her if she wanted to hang out later instead. 
     I decided to stuff myself with some fresh seafood from Rawai Beach while also going to Tesco Lotus Express to buy some bread, eggs, and soymilk (while my friend went to take a nap). I told her that I would be back in time to have dinner with her. However, as I jumped onto my bike, I saw another friend going out on her motorbike. She told me that she was heading over to the Vegetarian Festival and invited me along. I ran back to my other friend and woke her from her nap, but she decided just to stay in until we returned.
      With the friend on the bike, I went back to the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket Town. This time, unlike when I went on Friday before the celebration, there were people everywhere and a lot more stands were open. Before we visited the food stands though, we walked into a store that had flats. The lady, who happened to be Thai/Chinese (Mandarin) sold me flats for $11 a pair after a little bargaining, so I ended up buying 2 pairs for $22. Apparently, the shoes I brought from home were not teacher-like enough.  :( She said that she was giving me a discount because I was just like her, being Chinese and all, but I’m sure after we left, she still laughed at how much of a profit she made off of me. Oh well lol. :)
      My friend and I tried a lot of different freshly-made food just because. We walked back and forth on the street, enjoying so many vegetarian treats that at the end, I was full off of mostly-sweets. In festivals, I think I prefer splurging on sweet treats; my friend spent more money on actual food. 

Me with a taro bun and a roasted banana treat 

Faux sushi (vegan sushi)

The pieces that I actually bought 
(and guess what?! It's not really salmon!)

I bought a pandan with coconut type of jello pudding

The things with the mung bean paste! YUMMY! Only 5 baht for 2 pieces!
10 baht for 5 pieces = $0.33 for 5 pieces!
Much better than Chicago prices :(

Me with a mushroom-shaped one of those mung bean paste things

Coconut bao and taro bao (I have no idea why coconut is green.)

Taro fruit smoothie with tapioca

     We also walked into the temple that I visited last Friday again, but because I wasn’t dressed appropriately (I had regular shorts on), I decided to just pray to Guanyin and then stand awkwardly in the common area, while my friend explored the tiny rooms. Each room housed many deities/idols, or so she told me. Also, people were dressed in white for the celebration.

Visiting and praying to Guanyin in the Chinese temple called Jui Tui Temple

Closer view of Guanyin

View from the front entrance because I couldn't enter with my shorts 
(I made the personal choice not to be disrespectful.)

Children were throwing tiny snapping firecracker types of 
things that would smoke. They were loud and scary.

Leaving the temple, I saw this Maggi bottle walking around.
Someone was touching his eye.

2 seconds later, I took another picture.
Someone decided to touch his mouth. :(

This was what the street looked like: walking pedestrians,
motorbikes, cars, and giant buses right next to stands selling food.
Fun to navigate... not! lol :)

I bought a few more: carrot, eggplant, chili pepper, 
and a few other cute fruit/veggie shapes.

     When we left, my friend and I took an alleyway following some cars, but before we reached the end, a car was coming from the opposite direction, so some police had to redirect traffic. My friend had just made it past and didn’t know that the police were now blocking the road, so it was my misfortune that I had to turn down a different road. I tried to find a turning place and wait for my friend, but I was nervous of driving down roads on my own, especially if my friend was in search of me. 
     For about 10 minutes, we couldn’t find each other. I ended up driving out of there,  saw my mom’s favorite gas station (Esso), and doubled back. I finally found her, waiting at the end of one of the streets where we originally had lost each other. Thankfully, everything was okay, except for maybe the people around me because I was honking and shouting her name like a maniac.
     Sadly, I never learned how to open my gas tank trunk thing, so I learned from a total stranger at Esso that I had a key latch. Go figure... haha! It was very sad, but at least I learned, although it was a very embarrassing lesson.
     On the way back, my helmet ended up flying off my head, even though I had clicked it tight. I drove back slowly, although my friend drives at a somewhat slow speed ranging from 30 to 50 kph (kilos per hour). Literally, sometimes she was driving 30 kpg and I would almost run into her, and sometimes she would really speed up, so I would have to chase after her. However, then she would really slow down again, so that the motorbikes that she passed would be passing her. But back to my helmet--I heard it crash onto the ground and it may have actually cracked; I ended up not going back for it because I was following my friend and I didn’t want to turn my bike around in the middle of the road. It was mostly empty, but cars tend to drive pretty quickly, and I didn’t want to risk my safety by running in the middle of the road in the dark. It’s okay, I guess, hopefully the person won’t charge me for the helmet. I have another one back in the hotel room, but I kind of liked that blue one. :( 
     We ended up missing all the stops I wanted to make it to on the way back, mostly because I think my friend was tired or just didn’t want to go, so I guess I’ll have to visit the Big Buddha, Tesco Express, the Rawai Beach restaurants, and Wat Chalong all by myself on a different day. Oh well, at least next time I’ll be more prepared with a long skirt so I can look decent in the temples.
     Now I’m just getting ready to teach in a school tomorrow for a whopping 15 minutes, even though my preparation with the signs took almost 2 hours (but I’m a perfectionist, so that probably quadrupled my time). I was also watching Criminal Minds with my friends. 
     I’ll update the blog more on details, but for right now, all I know is that I will be teaching at Holland House, which is part of a Child Watch Program. Basically, we are going to some safe houses where children are separated from their parents because their parents are missing/gone for whatever reason. 
     My lesson, which I will be teaching with a fellow member of the American TESOL group, is focused on weather, so we will be teaching “sun, cloud, rain, and wind” to 3-6 year old children. I have heard from my roommate that they understand practically no English, so this will definitely be a challenge. I’m looking forward to it though! There will be about 10 students, I’ll be there for a total of 2 hours, although our lesson is only going to be 30 minutes (there are 3 other groups going), and there are NO whiteboards. 

      So yeah, not only is my food-making ghetto, my clothes-washing ghetto, my transportation somewhat ghetto, but now even my teaching will be super ghetto. Hooray for scraping by in Thailand! (And don’t take this the wrong way at all. I LOVE the simplicity of life here! Who else would let a total newbie pick up and drive a motorbike with no prior experience?) :) 

      Oh, almost forgot, I just smashed a mosquito on my roommate’s bed and now there’s a tiny bloodspot there. Eww! Gross! :D

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