Monthly Archives: July 2013

Hat Yai Temples

Since I moved to Hat Yai at the start of June I haven’t really explored the area at all! Henry, my chinese friend who I met in Spain 2 years ago came to visit for my birthday, also decided to stay a while in Hat Yai so I thought it was a good reason to start being a tourist!

One evening we tried to catch the sunset by going on my scooter to Hat Yai Municipal Park, which is along the main scary road but really not far from my place. We ate an early dinner then rushed to get there. Once we reached the park we went up the mountain around windy steep roads until we found the cable car site. We got a bit lost and couldn’t find a good view point, but instead found this 3 headed elephant statue.DSCN8232

After talking/motioning to some Thais they pointed us in the direction of where we wanted to go, and so we continued on our bikes to the viewpoint overlooking Hat Yai city. This is also where a standing gold buddha statue is and a planetarium. It was dark by the time we got there, with just a tiny hint of red in the sky but it was so pretty! It was nice to look at the city and work out where my place is.

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By the time we left it was dark and the hills going back down were pretty steep too, another hairy ride on a scooter whose brakes aren’t the best!

The following evening after school we went to Greenway market, which is also nearby to where I live. It’s a night market that sells clothes, new and secondhand, toys, beauty stuff, sunglasses and jewellery and most things. It also has alto of food stalls at the back and to the right, with plastic chairs and tables to sit. It’s quite well organised so that everyone can get all different foods from the stalls then sit together. I usually get the same thing, a banana shake (25THB, so 50p) and Duck and rice (40THB so 80p) but this time next to the duck lady was a man selling barbecued chicken with satay sauce, toast and salad. I fancied some bread so I got that for 60THB (£1.20 but was 10 pieces of skewered chicken!) and it was the yummiest satay I have ever tasted!

Also at the back to the left are some little stalls that are pop up shop style, and behind these are where the pets are sold. For sale were bunnies in tutus, (not sure if you go the tutu too) baby squirrels, ducklings, tonns of hamsters, kittens, puppies and I’m sure if you wanted anything else she probably would have found it for you! I played with a baby albino hedgehog, after trying ages to pick him up without getting pricked. The prices are pretty low and I’m sure if I were staying in Hat Yai longer I would have taken something home!

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On Saturday we went sightseeing near the big Tesco area. There was a Chinese temple and a big Buddha that we wanted to get close to and we found a whole area that had chinese statues and a cemetery. Henry was able to talk to the Monks there (women aren’t allowed) and found out that there was a university to train as a Monk on the grounds too. Later in the day it was too hot so we went to the cinema to watch Wolverine and get blasted by air con!

Two statues outside the chinese temple

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In the evening 5 of us went to the Sky buffet. It’s in Lee Gardens Plaza at the top, supposedly on the 33rd floor. However when we got there it was under refurbishment so it was moved to the 10th floor. Luckily there were still floor to ceiling windows and we sat near them so we had a good view! It costs 160THB (£3.50) for all you can eat thai buffet, including salad, fruit, rice, different curries etc and coffee and icecream and jelly puddings. The only downside was that there is only water to drink with the meal but everyone still enjoyed themselves!

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Karen with the view!

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Categories: Exploring Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s my Birthday!

Well, it was, as I’m a little late posting this!

My Birthday luckily fell on a long weekend, which meant not only did I have Saturday to party, but Monday and Tuesday to recover as well as time to travel, so a bunch of friends and I went to Ao Nang (again, yes I know this is my 6th time there, but I love it!)

On Friday evening after school we took a mini van from Hat Yai to Ao Nang, which was definitely a bumpy ride! I don’t know if it was because we were at the back, above the wheels but it was definitely the worst drive I’ve had there! We arrived at Ao Nang backpackers hostel at about 10.30pm after a 6 hour drive! Koe was there to welcome us, and we got stuck in to some Hong Thong that Lesley had bought, and beer that Koe donated to me. (Both Andrea and I had previously stayed at this hostel, at separate times and we went back again because it was so clean, the beds are comfy, the girls room comes with its own bathroom with hot water, shampoo and body wash and because Koe is a great host. It’s also a bargain at 150THB a night, so I reccomend this place to any travellers!!) That night we also met other travellers and they joined in with my early birthday celebrations! At midnight (as it turned into my birthday) Koe put Happy birthday song on loudspeakers and everyone sang, and then i opened my pressies and cards that had arrived in the post from home (Thanks everyone at home!) Also Karen and Andrea bought me a gift too, a scrapbook and a cherry hairband! And Koe gave me an Ao Nang backpackers tshirt, which i really like! Shortly after everyone became sleepy so we went to bed.

The following day, my actual birthday I went to Ao Nang beach and Andrea directed us to Lilys! Can’t believe I’ve been here so many times and not met Lily before. She owns Lilys massage place, right on the beach. Theres lots of places all the way down that part and she is at number 3. We sat on her chairs on the beach and she got mats out for us to sunbathe, pillows, water, fruit and coffee, and pretty much looked after us the whole time! All the ladies had massages and painted nails and toes, so it was a lovely pampering day. We also met a kind man, who sold corn on the cob (millies to the SAs!) cooked on coconut dusted coal (thats what his sign said) which he mimed that I should read because he is deaf. He carries the barbeque around with him on his shoulders and is super smiley, and all weekend he waved hello at us. Even though he was deaf his sign said he still wanted to work and still enjoyed meeting people. After he made the corn for us and we were all munching away he did a thumbs up sign, presumably asking if it was good. We responded, hopefully conveying it was delicious!

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We nicknamed him the Millies Man. ( I was with South Africans and thats what they call corn, though I don’t know how to spell it!)

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In the evening we returned to the hostel, met some more travellers, and headed to Crazy Gringos the (only) Mexican restaurant in Ao Nang. It was a really fun evening, with a live band, lots of good food, yummy cocktails and singing and dancing. Henry, my chinese friend who I sat next to in University in Spain 2 years ago, came to my birthday too. I knew he was travelling in Thailand and we arranged it to come visit for my birthday! (Thanks!) After the restaurant we headed to Chang bar too for more dancing, until I felt like I’d drank way too much and went home.

Laughter at Crazy Gringos with Henry, Karen, Carmen, myself and Andrea.

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Cheers at Ao Nang Backpackers!

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Salsa Dancing? (Not… but we were having fun!)

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The following 2 days were spent relaxing on the beach again at Lilys. Everyone split up and did different day trips but we met up at the end of the days. One day I was with Andrea and Lesley and the other was spent catching up with Henry. It once again involved doing nothing but sitting on the beach, occasionally going for a swim and another massage! Perfect holiday bliss and a very happy birthday!

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Categories: Exploring Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memory Lane, back to KCS.

Today I had the day off from my new school (due to the students taking their midterm tests, classes were cancelled.) So because I never had the chance to say goodbye to my students in Khaochaison I decided to go back there for the day!

I was awake at 6am to get the 8am minivan (that didn’t leave till 830) and arrived in KCS at 10am. I’d really missed my babies! My new kids are great, super clever but the ones in KCS were my first students and despite language barriers i felt i had a strong bond with them. They are also younger and hug me more!

So, i arrived in school and as i walked upstairs to the office the students closest to the windows could see me and were shouting out Teacher Zo, looking very confused. After saying hello to everyone in the office I was told the new foreign teacher, Alan, was upstairs teaching my favourite class (2/2 now 3/2) so I went there to be nosey! I completely disrupted his lesson, just walked in and said hi, and the kids eyes popped out of their heads, they all cheered and came running towards me and pretty much bundled me!! When I had recovered I apologised to Teacher Alan about the interruption and introduced myself but he said it was only a makeup class for him being ill so that it was okay and offered to take photos of me and my babies.

One of the cutest girls who was always by my side in school, Namforn, came up to me and said ” Teacher Zo, kit-tung mak mak” with the saddest little face. She was telling me she missed me lots. Throughout the day this happened a lot, and it was difficult to explain to the students, that no there is not going to be 2 teachers, just Teacher Alan and that i was visiting just for the day. They understood eventually and then were asking questions about my new school and Hat Yai!

It was also great to see the other teachers. Teacher Jai and Pen welcomed me with big hugs and wanted to know all about my new life and told me I have to visit again before I go to Australia! I’ve also invited them to come see me in Hat Yai whenever they are about. Teacher Jai mentioned coming back and having a sleepover at hers because she has a new house and her son will soon become a Monk and thats a big ceremony that hopefully I can attend! Teacher Wa took me out for lunch and we caught up too, then Madam joined us for a bit. She critised my choices a lot but wasn’t too rude considering. Then asked me if i had bought her a souvenir from Hat Yai – nope! Inbetween their classes I also briefly caught up with Lee and Nonku and was good to see them too, though they are busy preparing their students for a reading competition next week.

It was great to go back, not much had changed. The goodbye letter I had written to the students telling them I love them was pinned above my desk for them to see and everyone was so excited to see me, its nice to know that I am not forgotten because these students mean so much to me. I’m glad I got to say goodbye and give them all hugs. Since it’s sports day on Wednesday the school also finished early to practice sports, so everyone was having an assembly together and they all waved me off as Teacher Wa drove me to the minivan station! Also a nice end to the day was the driver gave me the coveted front seat next to him (usually reserved for monks or old grannies) and supplied me with chewing gum after a nap!

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Teacher Pen and I

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Me and Mummy Jai!

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Categories: Teaching Thailand- Government School | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctors and Nurses

I had a fun class this week where my Year 6s are learning about accidents. I knew my lesson plan would have about 10 mins extra free time in so decided to play a fun game. I put the class into teams where 1 member was a patient and the others were doctors, and they were each given a toilet roll as “bandages.”  As I shouted out body parts the students raced to get the body bandaged and as the game went on I shouted the words quicker and quicker. It was loud but alot of laughter as eventually the ‘patients’ ended up looking like mummies and here are the photos! (Thanks Andrea for the toilet roll bandage idea!)

Look at all their smiling faces!

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I’m pretty sure I said bandage his forehead, not his eye…

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End of lesson and this is what they look like!

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The fingers are not swearing, merely proving they bandaged a finger too!

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Categories: Teaching Thailand- Government School, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Science Week

Ahhh it’s a been a while since I’ve updated, sorry!! Its because I am busy living in a city, lots to do now! Plus school has been hectic too, not only teaching English (and science) but listening exams, speaking exams, marking books and setting midterm tests too. I guess since the last post I’m pretty much settled in my new place. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the students recently and thanks to Science week their personalities are shining through. My kings class for Year 6 (the cleverest P6/4) are a bunch of actual crazies!! And 4/2 are the cutest, the ones who always want hugs and high 5s!

Science week went really well, I think Teacher Ya and I were as excited as the students for the experiments! For P4 I did the first lesson on secret codes that they had to work out and the second lesson was a secret message made from 100% lemon juice, written on paper with cotton buds. It goes invisible as it dries but when held over a flame (candles) the message appears as the acidic ink burns first. Teacher Ya and I both attempted this before hand and both burnt holes in the paper. The students were super excited to see their messages appear, and we only had one message catch fire out of 120 so that’s pretty good! (The children weren’t allowed near the flames, nor did they attempt to burn the messages either, as its a really fine line to how close you hold the paper to the flame for the message to appear and the risk of it catching fire!!) Some kids wrote lovely messages, such as I love Teacher Zo and Teacher Ya!

I ❤ Teacher Zo

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I Love my Mum.. bless the boys! DSCN7954

Teacher Ya first attempt!

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P4/2 posing!

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Crazy kids and teacher

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His message reads “Teacher Zo is beautiful!” DSCN7949

For P5s I spent the week on optical illusions. The first lesson was based on optical illusion pictures, asking if they could see the old lady or the young lady and how many feet does the elephant picture have, some really famous illusions! Even Ya my assistant had never seen them before and was impressed with them. It was funny to hear the “ahhhhh” sigh of when the students finally got the illusion then explained it to their friends. For the second lesson the students made their own illusions, drawing a picture on one side of a circle card, and another drawing on another circle card, which when put with a string through and twiddled would form one picture (eg a fish bowl on one side, and a fish on the other.)

Here is how to : http://www.pbs.org/parents/fetch/activities/act/act-motionpicture.html

And here is a video showing some of the ideas the students had; http://youtu.be/qrNZBujPbFw   21399_391980187588789_83107114_n

Playing with the left over card!

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For P6s, the students learnt about gravity the first lesson, then the second lesson they were told to bring in boiled eggs (I wanted to use normal eggs but thought boiled would be less messy when they broke) and then made bases and parachutes out of string, cups, card and cotton. We then launched these off of the school building and the students then got to see whose egg survived. There wasn’t much time to do this so even if the egg did survive the students started eating their boiled eggs as soon as the experiment was over! Some students did think outside the box and used 2 parachutes, or added more string, and one group added extra padding to the bottom of the cup, which saved their egg from cracking!

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So my first Science week was a success….yay! Since that was 2 weeks ago now, I have been preparing for Midterm tests (speaking, listening, book work and an actual written exam.) The written exam has been submitted and the students will sit the tests next week.

During the weekends I have been exploring Hat Yai. I was invited to go to the Floating Market just outside of Hat Yai with Karen and the Thai teachers from her school, who took us in an air con car! It was mainly food, being sold in little boatsand you had to lean over, order and the food would be passed to you in a basket on the end of a hook, where you took the food and gave the money back. I had fried chicken, iced tea and samosas! Last weekend I went for  a nice dinner at Gaps Garten, a german place which I think is one of the most expensive restaurants in Hat Yai and it still only cost me the equivalent of £12 for a yummy dinner of duck breast, pan fried garlic potatoes, gravy and 2 glasses of wine!! Also found an Italian/mediterranean restaurant called Basil, which is run by a lovely lady called Smiley, who really looked after us. Her most expensive pizza (italian style in an oven) is still only £6. This weekend I went to Greenway market too, a night market that runs every night from Wednesday – Sunday. Me and my friends were there for 3 hours looking around and still hadn’t seen everything! There’s lots of bargains and very cheap clothes. I got lots of nail wraps as trying to grow my nails and ate a cheap dinner there too and bought a new pair of hello kitty sunglasses. The rest of the time I’ve been at the pool as found a cheap big one I like and got a sort of membership there!

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Karen and I at Gaps

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With Karen, Alison and Rania and Thai teachers at a market DSCN8038

Floating Market!

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Karen with a Kitten for sale at greenway market (500THB – £10)

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Categories: Teaching - Science Week, Teaching Thailand- Private School | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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