Anecdotes, Volume IV: Winter in Thailand
When Thailand freezes over
The first few days of last week were very unlike Thailand indeed. I woke up to a not-uncommon brisk morning but grew increasingly shocked as the weather stayed cool throughout the day. Coming off a week well into the 90s, it almost felt like a real winter. In reality the temperature only dropped to about 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius), but you wouldn’t know that from the way the students reacted. This cold spell was apparently unheard of for Thailand and the students were not used to it. All of a sudden the school was filled with mittens and blankets. Every student I passed would ask me, “Teacher, nao mai?” (cold, no?) and I would only laugh and say nid noi (a little) and watch the shock appear on their faces. This was new for them, but I calmly showed them pictures of the snowstorm from the East coast and explained this wasn’t very cold for me at all. Overall, I enjoyed the week as it gave me that little taste of winter I had been missing so much.
That time I traveled two hours just for cheese
One thing I did not include in last week’s post was cheese, because I knew exactly how much I would miss cheese. But recently it’s been even worse than usual so I made a very special trip to the nearest large city. I took an hour long bus ride to Nakhon Sawan, bought cheese at the well-stocked supermarket, and took the hour-long bus back. I’m exaggerating a little bit, I walked around a bit and also took advantage of being outside of my town by eating two non-Thai-food lunches. But the main goal of the 6 hour sojourn was accomplished when I paid a comparatively hefty price for real, imported cheese. Verdict: worth it.
Yet another couple days this week were spent not teaching as the three lower classes had a two day scout camp on Thursday and Friday. As usual I was poorly informed and so I showed up unsure of what to do on Thursday. A Thai teacher told me that the lowest grade would walk “around the school” and I could walk with them. I unwittingly followed them on foot out of the school where it became quickly apparent that what I thought “around the school” meant was rather mistaken. Two kilometers of walking later, we reached the first checkpoint of what I was then informed was a 7 kilometer loop. I would have been mad but I don’t mind walking and it was a cool day by Thailand standards.
The students stopped periodically to do scout things such as read a compass or climb a rope. My co-worker and I were soon bored and walked ahead of the students.
The rest of Thursday the students learned to tie knots and the second year set up tents for the night. I’m told there were all manner of activities that night, but I opted not to partake. On Friday many of the Thai teachers had some unspoken pact to not show up at all. So with nothing to do I caught up on some work in my office the whole day. Unlike the previous day this did make me angry.