Monday, October 31, 2005
upon encouragement from an old friend, i am writing my thoughts for the day. i have pictures that i'll post in the very near future of the zoo and wat we visited over the weekend. a terrible zoo that sedates tigers so one can have a snapshot with them and a wat built by a chinese feng shui master crowded with bronze statues of chinese emporers and warlords. and there's the giant gold buddha on the hill. it's fascinating and quite large. just wait for the photo. there was also som tom (seafood for everybody else) and ice cream eating. a long, but worthy day.

today i headed up via chauffered car to the school where i was once employed to introduce three prospective employees to the administration. well, in typical thai style, the woman who was meant to interview had double booked her time and asked us to come back. they filled out applications, left resumes and we wandered about the campus for a bit. they were impressed and glad to get an idea of what an actual school is like. it was odd to be back and several people asked me if i was going to be teaching there again. the kids in my classes even recognized me and waved. i hope somebody gets a job there because it's a good school and a good job. i even made sure to mention the ladies that make the chicken nuggets and how good they are! back home with a stop at a shopping center in Sri Racha in an attempt to find big sized button up/down shirts for one of the girls. i think there is a trip to bangkok for teacher clothes shopping in the not so distant future. good chance to get in some x-mas shopping for me.

we return home and i head straight to the computer to check jobs and various e-mail accounts. no responses today, but a fiasco with complaints from the last group. people complaining about not knowing things that they actually knew and went against our advice on and are now spending money like crazy to find a job. simple case of indecision gone wild. insanity.

then a nice long run down the rural roads near rungland. i got hit in the face by grilled chicken smoke that makes me want to vomit when i'm running, but smells quite nice at any other time. i saw a yellow firebird parked inside at a used car dealer ship. it's really true that you never know what you'll find or see in thailand. i got lost down a side street and retraced to get back. it was a good run with fresh music on the mp3 player and squats afterwards. those tucking thighs are going to be ready!! i need to start doing snow-dances!

tonight for dinner i have satay pork and rice. this cart is driven by my hero. the satay pork is on a stick and he dips it in the awesome sauce and grills it while you wait. he also makes a nice litle cucumber, onion, and chili if you're so inclined salad. i get the rice from mgtville and pour the sweet peanut sauce over the rice. each satay costs 2 baht. rice is probably 10 baht. so i can have a great meal, cooked to perfection while i watch with cucumber to sooth the mouth for 20 baht. fifty cents. it's the perfect amount and the perfect flavour. the guy knows we like him and comes by at about the same time every night.

tomorrow i'll be getting to some observations in Pattaya because one of our teachers is filling in for a local teacher who's going to cambodia and it's the perfect opportunity to get him fully certified. he talks a lot, so we'll see how it goes because his kids should talk about 80% of the time.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Another day with wonderous food. I have been to the grocery to collect things like bug spray and a lufa as I am again peeling. As I walk home I pass the bar and decide to sit down for a few minutes and chat with Rick. We munch on the chips I bought, basil flavoured that you dip in chili sauce that he says has a hint of shrimp flavour. Then a plate of rice covered with actual shrimp and calamari appears from the place down the street. As he eats this and we chat the cook and former bar tender return from the market laden with bags full of food. I understand that they are going to make som tom and eat vegetables with something, but I can’t understand what the something is. We continue to chat and the girls emerge from the kitchen with papers to spread on the table, plates, and quite a few plates covered with various food items. We decide that this is going to be a feast and are not surprised by how quickly their end of the table becomes quiet as the eating begins. It’s a meal for at least six people and four small women dispose of everything.
I don’t participate in this meal but I watch as a Thai, two Lao and a Filipino devour a bowl of raw blood clams, two grilled fish, a bowl of noodles, a mound of som tom, and a tray of vegetables. In awe I watch as each bite is constructed meticulously. The morsel begins with a piece of cabbage to make a sort of bowl, the some other leafy green of which I’m not sure the name, then the blood clam, then a tiny bit of sauce from the end of a fork. The sauce is full of chili seeds and mashed chili flesh. It has got to be just ridiculously hot because they are even sucking air in through their teeth to cool their mouths down. I’ll try hot, but I am not tempted by this sauce, mainly because of the clam sauce carrier, but I also don’t want to spend the rest of the night in pain. Furthermore, the stuff might taste fantastic and be addictive to the point that eating it becomes mechanic, but getting it out of your system is most unpleasant. The som tom is red in colour, thus very hot as well, and they pinch bits of the papaya together with the leafy greens and chew it down. Fascination takes over and I have difficulty not staring at what each woman is doing. Plates begin to fill with clam shells and the vegetable supply is dwindling.
A cook, who probably made Rick’s dish, from the excellent Thai place three doors down stops over and sits for a few minutes consuming probably fifteen clams. Every person has a method for eating; some construct quickly and wipe their hands as they chew. Others take their time with each bite and start on a new bite as one is being masticated. Meanwhile I am savouring a very nice and safe bit of watermelon, coloured only slightly lighter than the blood spilling from the blood clams when every new one is pried open. I ask what the clams taste like and the girls say ‘a loi’ meaning delicious, as one laughs she says ‘they taste like chicken’. ‘Yeah right’ I think and dive back into my watermelon. I cannot comprehend eating seafood that is well cooked, let alone an entire raw clam with blood dripping all over the place. This meal tops my gross list even after watching the cook rip apart fried cockroaches and eat the insides. If it moves or grows it can be eaten. However despite belief, they do not eat dogs or cats. This is an interesting phenomenon given the number of strays claiming territories throughout the city. We have three that are regulars at Margaritaville. They know that Friday night is fried chicken night and they are likely to get more than one bone from us farangs who don’t clean them down to nothing and would never consider going for the marrow.
As supplies thin and the feasting becomes slower the din of chatter begins again. They are talking about what everybody is doing that night. They of course ask me because I’ve come to have the reputation of going out a lot, which I don’t. We are going to a few go-go bars and then to a night club. I invite them all and an entire evening of fun is planned as plates are cleared and shells are discarded. I write this as they sit and finish their drinks before Rick and I take the farang girls out for a nice safe Mexican meal.
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i can't write in big green letters 'go state' this week because our season has gone down the pooper. the team is like me trying to play wiffle golf and Rick and Dena's, no follow-through! come on guys, you started out so strong and now this?!

last week, so crazy and this week trying to get jobs for everybody as they take their TEFL class and decide exactly what they want to do. last week: monday night is meet and greet night where we go out to some bars and chat with the people. tuesday is market day when i take them to the nearest market and they bargain with the people and buy way too much stuff. it's a nice little market though. wednesday is food day and we go out for dinner at this place and get just about everything on the menu so they can try different things. i for one ate far too much, but it was all entirely fantastic. i find Thai food to really not be that filling, which makes dieting rather challanging. thursday they learn numbers more and at night we play bingo. we used to go to this bingo hall type place, but they closed down, so we did it at margaritaville. the problem there is that the cook wants to practice her english, so everybody doesn't get to practice their thai much. friday we learn about directions and go to the movies. it's my favorite night of the thai class week. we saw sound of thunder, a science fiction about evolution. it was pretty good, and the popcorn and ridiculously cold air conditioning were better! it's all about the atmosphere of the movie theater. it's less like Thailand, and more like the living room during the winter when the heater can't pump out heat fast enough because the seal on the windows is crap. fantastic, but remember to bring a sweater.

the weekend saw me being lazy and catching up on sleep and some writing on saturday and to the beach on sunday. this is a nice beach where you sit on mats and they serve piles of cheap seafood which everybody else scarfed up in no time. i have a little story about a meal that i'll post later. absolutely fascinating.

other than that work and life are good. things are going to get crazy in a week or two when everybody starts working and i start observing them to try to get everybody fully certified as quickly as possible. for the most part, teachers get a pay raise once they've completed their certificate, so they all want to get things done! six observations each may not seem like a lot, but for the number of people we have placed at the moment and the travel time, etc that it takes to get to each one, it's going to be NUTS. i'll be ready for a break come christmas time.

this weekend is yet to be planned, except for a promotional/birthday party at one of the discos in town. the guy is a maniac and own three gyms and a disco. my goal of the evening is going to be to convince him to take me on as an english instructor for his staff in exchange for a few gym memberships. :) go teacher team.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
GO STATE. yes i know we were again not victorious, but i still have faith. Stanton has to get ready for next year and his Heisman stance.

I have so much I could say and so little time in which to say it. When part of your job is taking the newbies out to the bar and showing them around the night life of a town so that they can feel comfortable enough to venture forth on their own and you're merely 22, what about the rest of life? The hardship will be forcing structure into my self-planned schedule. Time to run cannot be random, but time to write can be.

It is amazing how quickly the new sights and new smells have become normal. The new group comments often about all of the smells, the lights, the Pattaya scene, everything, and I think, yup, that's Thailand, no big deal. Acclimation does happen.

The weekend was crazy. Friday bus to Bangkok, train to hotel, cab to the airport. There Nang (Thai girl who works for Rick here) and I collected the first, had a rest and a refresh then wandering and dinner. After another nap and refresh back to the airport to collect two more. Then sleep for the night and up for breakfast and fielding the zillion questions that people have upon arrival. Nang gave a fantastic tour of the Grand Palace despite the heat and overcrowded confined area. I am so not a tourist. Then a jaunt through the 'biggest market in the world' as Nang says for lunch, new shoes, and fisherman pants. Markets are crowded, hot, smelly, and full of anything you could possibly imagine. I should have bought that turtle, I am going to regret it. Metal with a nifty design on it's shell and perfect for turtle lovers. Then back to Pattaya via the airport to collect the final two. They are all sleepy as we arrive and get situated in their new homes for a few weeks. Then dinner and chatting with Rick. Capping off the night with a party thrown by the previous group who nearly all are leaving on Monday for their teaching positions. I am officially the Language Corps person now and am semi-obligated to show my face and ensure not too much damage is done to the hotel room. I hit the pillow and am out. Sunday is beach day. We pile in a baht bus, then in a boat to get over to the island for a long sunny day of resting and playing ball in the water. A fantastic day all in all with Som Tom and several sunburns. Meeting and greeting yesterday when we take them to some bars to practice the Thai they learned that day. Shyness all around, but my Thai is doing all right. I might have Nang tutor me some. Out for a few dances, and again I hit the pillow after I've fallen asleep.

Toasted cheese and tomato sandwhiches. Life gets more simple.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
please go to and read what Bush has to say about replacing himself. i am sure some of you have already read this!!

and.....bring bring.......bring bring.......bring. PHONE! hey Vicari, it's your mom, she says, "YOU SUCK!!!!"

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Monday, October 10, 2005
OK, here are some images of where I live. I'll get to street pictures soon. I am much happier in this place than I was out in the suburbs. The Som Tom isn't as fantastic, and the lady is not as nice, but I can sacrifice that! There's no pizza box cart, or bananna pancake guy out on soi country club. And suprizingly I can't even see a 7-11. Rungland does not have one!

There's my favorite record and photo of the rents. My dream catcher catches my dreams and my tassels and van keys remind me where I've been. I haven't yet tackled the five sided Rubik's cube, but I think it might happen this week. Things are somewhat slow at work, so I might give it a go.

(Work is slow because schools are on holiday, therefore aren't in higher new teacher mode, so there have been few interviews for a group of 11. There will likely be a huge rush in the end of October when schools realize they are short staffed and need teachers RIGHT NOW!)

Here's my room! it's about 15 feet wide and about 20 feet long with a bathroom in one corner. The walls are pink and the ceiling is teal. I have plenty of floor space to keep up my gymnastics. Cartwheels and walkovers don't run into the walls. I like the Thai way of just a wardrobe because it's so compact, but then I have far less stuff here than I usually have!

My book supply is getting short, and I haven't been back to the bookstore, but my DVD collection has taken a wild turn up. They are incredibly cheap here. :) It costs as much to buy one as to go to the theater.

This is the window wall. The better picture simply refuses to upload properly. This is only half of the wall. It's very nice to have such big windows and when I can open the curtains, it makes the room seem much bigger. It also makes for nice breezes and quick laundry drying. Always a plus.

It does get load at night when the motorbikes gun it down Rungland, but I can hack that. I live one door down from Margaritaville. Can't really beat a 20 second commute to work! I also get little tasks from Rick that he can't leave with the Thais when he has to go for visas. So I will be somewhat involved with bar happenings here and there. Which of course is interesting to me because I want to own a bar someday!

There's my bed. I started with a kingsize, but I asked the owners if they had a smaller one because the bed filled the entire room. This one is prefect because I don't thrash around and it gives me the floor space that I want. Yes I love my alphabet pillow case.

Appliances. The TV they provided which is great as I was not expecting it, and it's a very nice flat screne. The bummer is that none of the channels are clear enough to warrent the excellent picture that it can provide. The refridge is mine, and a neccessity to keep water and left over Som Tom cool. I have a hot water pot, and am planning to get an electric frying pan. I'll be able to cook pretty much everything then. Lots of people here cook in these methods, and they have given me tips. We should really look into writing a cook book for simple appliances!
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Monday, October 03, 2005
GO STATE!!! yeah i know we lost, but only by three points in over time. sounds like my boys fought and fought. stanton is still my hero and heisman choice for next season. :)

so. new job saturday, new place sunday, new refigorator hopefully tomorrow, and new bounce in my step because of it. i 'worked' on saturday and sunday by going to the zoo, a wat, and a giant outline of buddha on a hill, and spent five hours at the gym. rough job really. though it's going to be more difficult this week as we get 11 people placed in jobs and another five on their way to placements. everybody has to decide what they want to do, get interview, we set them up, the whole bit. it's really cool to work with everybody to try to get them into something that they'll stay in for awhile and hopefully really enjoy. they are all excited and nervous to be at this stage and looking seriously at working. at least they have a few weeks because schools are out right now. the actual job for me is odd. i think there is a bit of resentment and resistence to leaving and handing it over, but it'll be all good. Rick and i are very much on the same page about a great many things.

so it's october. that's nuts. it's still the middle of july here! who said i'm eleven hours ahead? i'm either three months behind or nine months ahead! insanity when the fan is on full blast and it's still hot. oh well. i moved on sunday! i now live in a one room place one the second floor of a building two doors down from margaritaville. it's fairly spacious. i have enough room to do walkovers and handstands, so i'm all set. the bathroom is silly though. i have to shower around the toilet. it's sorta funny. i have a great view of the street and can see all that goes on through my floor to ceiling windows. i have to decorate some with an area rug and get a refrigorator and kettle, but other than that it's entirely furnished. even down to the pink sheets with outlines of fish on them. i think i'm going to break out in hives after a few nights on them. but i'm sure i'll get through it because there's a huge smile on my face when i walk in the door and feel at home. and i have the giant building that houses margaritaville and the school practically next door to accomodate me if i get restless. and the place is within walking distance of a market, a grocery store, a good coffee shop, several internet cafes, and THE SEA. this last one it a huge selling point. i can get to the beach and take strolls at night without a huge taxi bill if i wish. fantastic.

ok. i need to hit the hay. i got up early this morning to have coffee with one of the girls. we ended up in the bar district at a bar with terrible coffee at 7.15. all of the starbucks were closed! sacrilidge. :)
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