Monday, August 3, 2009

Weekend in Pai

On Friday, we were assigned topics for our first peer teaching on Monday. I ended up having my roommate, Andy, as my partner and our topic was Under the Sea. Although I thought it would be a blast to sing the song from The Little Mermaid, we decided that it would be better to not give our students a faux Jamaican accent. We spent a good part of the day working on drawing pictures for our lessons and had another grammar session.
The fun, however, started after class. A group of us had bought tickets to go to Pai, which is a small ‘hippy’ village three miles to the north of Chiang Mai. The ride, although beautiful, was so full of turns that one of the women in the front of the bus ended up throwing up. Not too pleasant. The rest of us, however, made it in one piece to Pai after making friends with a bus mate, Ron, who was teaching business in an international school in Bangkok. The bus driver tried to herd us to a hotel nearby, but we ended up getting a place for ourselves. We wanted to sleep in a bungalow, which Pai is known for, but we were tired and settled for a hotel. By hotel, I mean hard beds to sleep on for three bucks a night. Pretty awesome. Dinner was delicious. I need to stop saying that, because I haven’t had a bad meal. I also had one of the spiciest omelettes in my life that night.... it had about 8 chili peppers in it, and I was pretty much bent over double crying from the peppers.
The next morning, Saturday, we found the bungalows we wanted to stay in. They were amazingly cute and quite close to the river. I took some great pictures of the flora and some cute lizards, and afterward we decided to rent bikes. Not mountain bikes, but one speed bikes that had baskets. We wanted to bike to the hot springs, but in hindsight that was a bad idea. The temperature was in the 90s with a 80% humidity up and down hills without being able to change gears..... it was awesome. We saw some elephants on the ride, as well as gorgeous flora.
 However, when we got to the hot springs, it took a lot of courage to get in that hot water when we were already sweating like mad men. We hiked to the top, where the water was at 80 degrees Celsius. A sign said ‘No Boil Egg’ but there was a Thai family breaking the rules.
 The hot baths were nice, but hot, and afterwards we smelt like sulfur. It was not our cup of tea to get back on the bikes, but we biked to lunch, including coconut ice cream, and then saw an awesome canyon. The canyon was formed by some type of soft stone and red in coloring. The formation created walkways, but to each side were sheer cliffs. Some of the walkways were less than a foot wide and quite scary to walk across, but when in Thailand.... you could walk through the canyon some distance, but we wanted to get back to the bungalows and take a shower. The entire bike ride was some 20 km, or 12 miles, which would have been fine if our bikes had gears, but we were completely wiped when we got home. Back at the bungalows we met up with some other guys from the program, Nick and Anderson, and went out to see the town. We eventually ended up at a discotheque where there were some cover bands playing rock songs. The bands were pretty cool, and it was fun to chill out in another town with the new people I have met. A nice Thai guy named Sing wanted to bring us to another bar after the band finished and introduced us to some locals.
The next morning I met a really nice Vietnamese women who gave me a ride on her motorbike to show me the town. It was really random, but people are so nice here. The drive back to Chiang Mai was a little scarier on the way back because of all the rain and the curvature of the road. Oh, and we were on motorbikes. Katy and I fell, but no big deal. Nonetheless, we were able to stop at a beautiful waterfall, see a bat cave which had a horrendous odor, and saw a gas station in the shape of a lemonade stand. We made it back to Chiang Mai in one piece though!

When we did finally get back to the hotel, we had to finish preparing our lesson plan. I made a puzzle that when put together created a rainbow fish. It was sad, because the first time I cut it in a complicated manner and had to make 6 new fish. Our plan was pretty fun, but the steps were a little confusing in the model. I was exhausted and sore from the bus and had trouble falling asleep, dreaming of teaching students about mermaids and turtles.
The lesson went well today. I think. I am really excited to teach actual students, because it will be a lot different when the students do not understand the target language. The best part of the lesson was teaching a song about what the animals do under the sea. I think I might be a somewhat ridiculous English teacher. I had some yummy soup for lunch with my peeps: it was called kuay teow. Yummy. That’s it for now.

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