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Wander & enjoy the diversity...it feeds your soul “What is more miraculous than the moment?” Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh

Koh Samui, Thailand

THAILAND | Tuesday, 11 November 2008 | Views [643]

11/2/08 - From Korea to Thailand-----
Getting from the east side of South Korea to Ko Samui, Thailand…should have been fairly easy & fast, I thought – especially since I was already on this side of the world - just a “hop, skip, & a jump” (another one of our many English ‘slang idioms’) as they say!  

Welllll…from Kelsey’s apt, it took a taxi (to the bus station), 2 busses (to Seoul), a plane (to Bangkok), another taxi (to hotel), a taxi (back to the airport), a plane (to Koh Samui) & then Chuck picked me up in a jeep to go to his bungalow – YEAH!!  Only 22 hours later – I arrived on this beautiful palm-treed sunny, tropical (meaning humid & hot) island.

Chuck describes a little bit about life here:

We are staying at “Save House” (http://www.islandtefl.com/accommodation.html) - a series of bungalows down a treed quiet lane.  A far cry from Dharmasala, India in terms of better creature comforts.  In addition, there is a nice small pool, fishpond, small intimate restaurant (had a nice Pad Thai and noddle soup), WiFi (excellent signal everywhere I've been), and very nice friendly Thai staff.
    *  The bungalow we have (#3) is near the front of the complex and has 3 large rooms: 1) A living room with TV, a big, (hard) couch and an adjoining kitchen with a 5 ft fridge, 2 electric cookers (rice/veg & water), with an overhead fan; 2) nice bedroom with a 2nd TV, a large firm but comfortable bed, end tables, storage areas, and an overhead A/C; 3) big bathroom with a large tub/shower/sink with a large counter.  There are lots of windows – some with screens (all can open, but …the mosquitoes!!!), a front porch with two big wooden chairs with table & a porch off the bedroom.  There is also a back door off the kitchen with a little porch and area where we can hang things up to dry – IF the monsoons behave themselves.
    * I met the head of “Island TEFL” and the lead instructor.  Both are very nice women, one from Australia and the other from GB.  Island TEFL is just a10 minute walk up the road.
    * After waking up WAY TOO EARLY (my inner-clock is off) and spending a couple hours organizing the bungalow, I took a walk - had breakfast at a German Bakery.  I ran into an American guy of Thai heritage doing an internship at a resort as a part of a BA in Hospitality Services.  He said when he heard me he had to speak up because it was the only American accent he’d heard in the several weeks he’s been here.  He says it's mostly Germans, Brits, Australians, French, and Koreans.  Almost NO Americans!  Interesting.
    * The area that both Save House and Island TEFL are in is called Mae Nam.  It is relatively laid back and quiet.  This morning I cut through a resort to the beach and walked about a mile up the beach.  There were virtually no developed areas except for the resort where I started.  There were a number of VERY rustic looking bungalows being reclaimed by nature.  They appear to be casualties of a transition from a backpacker crowd to a more upscale clientele.  That said, there appear to be MANY more restaurants and tourist facilities than tourists to use them.  Either it's the economy, or it's still pre-season.
    * This afternoon, after a short swim, I took another long walk the other direction (back toward the airport) & walked through an area called "Fisherman's Village" in Bophut Beach.  It is VERY much a tourist area with all the shops you would expect, including numerous opportunities for massages, scuba lessons, etc.  Tomorrow, will rent a scooter and see a bit more.

It is really quite comfortable.  It's been a bit too hot to sleep well without an A/C, but not bad.  It’s been overcast some but no heavy rain since I've been here (it is now Nov 10th & it is raining hard – the Thai’s said the monsoons may last for a day or a month – right now the forecast is rain for the next 5 days!) Does cool things down a bit!

We have made a few acquaintances, learned where to shop, eat and are ready for a prolonged stay here in Thailand.

We are still on a high from the election.  It was a real treat to see international TV coverage of the election as well as the overwhelming positive responses of all those we meet here in Thailand.  There is a genuine feeling that he is signaling a major change in the US approach to the world - a unique individual that can productively address the problems we have.

I start my class today - am more than a little nervous about it.  I ‘ll have to learn a lot in the next four weeks – rather intimidating.

11/10 – Greetings!  from the island of Ko Samui, Thailand -- Ann

The warmth feels soooo good – for those of you who know me – NO turtlenecks here!!!  BUT, sometimes the sweat pours off me – can’t tell if it is the weather at 95% humidity or a hot flash!!!  

The food is excellent, the Thai people sweet & generous (bringing us food to our bungalow or extra bananas, fruit, or treats to our table unexpectedly), the other hotel guests – many of them also English teachers are helpful, friendly & generous with their tips, food, & other kindnesses!   Marilou, a Canadian woman who is also teaching, has showed us some of her favorite beaches, restaurants, markets, foods, etc.   A couple, Jane & Phil, from Tasmania delight us with their accents & generous offers of showing us how to 'do' Samui as well!  We feel so fortunate to have met these wonderful people!

I haven’t found a volunteer or paid position yet – but so many possibilities…there is even an animal rescue/shelter.  In December, the Rotary club is hosting Aids orphans from Bangkok for a weekend – so we are inquiring.

The rains blew out the electricity (which also means no water) for a few hours yesterday afternoon & evening – so with darkness all around, we sloshed thru the water, down the lane with our headlamps on to see if the restaurant had a generator.  There were a few others taking advantage of the cooks abilities to make us a delicious dinner somehow & we ate by tiny little lanterns.   We were again given a ‘free’ bowl of their rice-cake coconut dessert to take back to our place.  It was soooo good!  

A Canadian guy asked if I had seen any cobras…I haven’t, but it seemed like a guy kind of question, meant to scare, rather than inform.  I guess the island has them, but usually in a “farm.”  What I did see last night were frogs jumping thru the water, thin or pregnant cats that claim our porch chairs for their lounging time, big snails that crawl around like our Oregon slugs, gecko looking creatures “jing-joks” on the ceiling - hopefully getting their fill of mosquitoes, big black bee-looking creatures visiting the flowers, & black birds with yellow beaks!  There are also a few cattle or bison – water-buffalo looking animals in the fields – not on the roads like India.

Other little fun things to know about living here: we still pump/filter/treat our water about once a week into 4 five-liter bottles, to save on buying water.  Something we learned in India from Kirsten.  We wash our clothes during or after our shower (in the tub)& hang them wherever we can find a spot – the back porch if it isn’t raining – to dry.  We plan on renting a jeep for 24 hrs, once a week, to do grocery shopping & to check out the island.  Taxi’s are expensive, but there are truck-kind of vehicles that will pick you up – you hop in the back, for about a $1, so I am waiting for a lesson.  

I am slowly learning…how to ‘do’ this life, but the familiar sure is nice too – delicious plain homemade yogurt (made by a lady from Israel), listening to NPR or watching MSNBC podcasts, my music, yoga podcasts, Skype – we had a Korean/Kels-Thai/us-Indian/Kirst conference call last night after the electricity came back on…so NICE to catch up with the kids!!!!  

That's all for now - thanks so much for your e-mails & comments on my blog!  I am sending some of this warmth your way!

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