Ok so it has been about two weeks since we have been in Chachoengsao. A lot has happened. For starters we have now officially been teachers for two weeks. This has been an interesting experience so far. Thailand apparently spends 25% of its GDP on education, you would not guess that by looking at our school. The class sizes are 46 students in one room and the rooms them selves are the biggest dumps I have ever seen! Holes in the walls, trash all over the place, broken desks, and broken chalkboards in every room! It is hard to see how students can focus and learn anything in these rooms. Also the system in places really hurts the students, they can not fail. There is no fear of repercussions for their actions so they stop caring. They know they are going to be passed on and don’t care to learn that material. The grades are broken up into levels 1 being the best and 10 the worst (up to 14 in the higher grades) so the students know they are bad if they are in the higher numbers and know that people don’t expect anything from them so they do expect anything from themselves. Its really sad to see. I have grade 1-6 through 1-10 and 5-11 through 5-14 so the worst of both grades. It amazing to see how much they don’t know and don’t care to learn, Jeff has the 4-1 and they have a clean classroom with computers in the back and about half the numbers of students in the class. The differences are amazing. It is going to be a very interesting year teaching in the Thai system.
On a more fun note, we went to Koh Samet last weekend with two friends, Ashley and Susan. It was awesome! It is a small island right off the coast in the gulf of Thailand. It’s the closets island to Bangkok. We stayed at this little backpackers bungalow resort right on the beach called Jeps. It was nice a bit more expensive than we wanted to pay (650 baht a night) but everything else was booked up. We had dinner on the beach the first night and then went down the beach to this club where they had fire limbo going! It was pretty crazy, while the bar was still high everyone took turns running under the flaming bar, us too! As it got lower we left it to the bar staff to show off, and show off they did. On guy light his cigarette while he went under when it was about eight inches from the ground! It was pretty crazy to see!
The next day we walked around from one end of our beach to the next, it was beautiful. We decided to do something other than lay on the beach all day so we booked a tour of three tiny island next to Samet. It was a private tour, they took us to Koh Ku Dee a small island next to Samet where we got to snorkel around it. It was a lot of fun! The water was pretty clear and there were some cool looking schools of fish and some coral to look at. Not as pretty as some but still pretty cool. We then docked on the island and got explore it. There were about six wooden swings right on the water in the beach we could play on, it was so pretty and completely deserted, just the four of us. We then took a hike to the top of the island and had an amazing view of Samet, the mainland and the other small island near us. When we got back to the boat we took a quick tour of the other two islands and then went to the far side of Samet. There is a fish and sea turtle farm that we got to visit and feed the fish. It was so cool! It was a bunch of wooden planks suspended way out in the water on top of some 50 gallon plastic drums. The water was a bit rocky so we didn’t take our cameras out with us in case we fell in. it was a good thing we didn’t taken them because a few times we ended up crawling the waves were rocking us so much. It was so worth it though! We got to shake hands with a giant sea turtle and pet a tiger shark! Later that night we went and had an amazing seafood dinner sitting on the sand on the beach. We had crabs and scallops and clams and mussels, and then a whole red snaper. All of this was fresh caught and grilled. It was so good. We walked along the beach after dinner and saw more fire dancers this time instead of limbo they had a giant flaming hoop to jump through. Jeff decided it would be a good idea to take a turn and jump through it! I got a picture so you’ll all be able to see he did not get burned. We went back to the club that had fire limbo the night before and tonight they decided on fire jump rope! Not just plain old jump rope, but fiery double dutch! I don’t think anyone tried that except for the bar guys, im pretty sure they have been burned so many times they have lost all feeling! The next day we started our trip home. So that ends our Halloween weekend trip in Thailand!
More has happened but ill let Jeff give you his point of view and fill you in on the rest later.