My last day at school was March 18, and I officially moved out of my apartment March 22. My work visa expired March 31 so I decided to go traveling a bit before leaving the country. One thing I forgot to mention in the last blog post were my job interviews. Through my connections at the dive shop I was able to get a job interview for teaching swim lessons to primary students at an international school in Pattaya. The first interview went well and they asked me to go back so they could see me teach. When I went back to teach the pool was broken so I had to go back again. The students were working on backstroke. Not to brag or anything but at the end of the lesson there were students floating at the end of the lesson who were not floating at the beginning of the lesson. The head of the PE department was impressed with me, her only criticism was for me to speak louder. I am waiting for them to make a decision, which will be made after the Thai new year. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
I started off my adventures going back to the gem markets in Chanthaburi. I almost didn’t end up in Chanthaburi. The man at Athens can stand kept telling me the van was going to Trat which is past Chanthaburi. I kept telling him I didn’t want to go to Trat, and he put me on the Trat bus anyway. They let me off at Chanthaburi. In Chanthaburi, the gems are so beautiful and the market is so interesting, I may have missed my calling in jewelry. I broke down and bought two beautiful rings for $50. I figured even if they are fake, two good peices of costume jewelry would cost that much.
After spending a day in Chanthaburi, my plan was to go to Trat just to check it out, and head to Koh Chang for some beach time. When I got to the van station in Chanthaburi the man at the desk asked me if I was going to Koh Chang, to which I said yes. Thus I ended up in Koh Chang. Through my guidebook and the Internet, I was able to find a place to stay. My plan was to go diving one day and take a cooking class the next day. Unfortunately, both those things fell through and I ended up sitting on the beach for two days. I met a nice Norwegian guy who was my beach buddy, we were both solo travelers on a beach. It was a relaxing get away until the last night.
I was staying in bungalows in the jungle, when I first arrived I noticed my room had a trail of ants running through it. Fine, it’s the jungle, ants are fine. I put my backpack one the bed away from the ants. My last full day there the staff came in and cleaned the room, taking my backpack off the bed and putting it into the floor, right in the ant trail. I came back from the beach to find my backpack and clothes swarming with ants. Not jus a few ants but hundreds of ants. I took a moment to cry before starting to evict the ants from my things. I had to go through and shake out everything and squish the remaining ants; it took an hour and I still found ants in my suitcase later.
In order to get to the ferry, you have to take a special songtaw which only comes once an hour. I stopped at a smoothie shop to wait and got a mango coffee shake. The shake wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good; I think the mango wasn’t ripe so the shake was super bitter. Every time I saw a songtaw, I would get up to see if it was the special one to the pier and the owner of the shake shop would tell me to sit down because it was the wrong songtaw and to wait for the one with the yellow sign.
I made it to the ferry and called a hostel in Trat for a reservation. Once off the ferry you get assaulted by drivers asking you where you are going and trying to get you in their vehicle. I kept telling the drivers I wanted to go to Trat and they kept asking me if I was going to Bangkok. It took a long time for me to get it across to them that I wanted to go to Trat and stay there. It was actually a long ride to town, again the town looked bigger on the map. When we arrived at the city’s bus station, the songtaw driver asked me where I was staying and he took me there.
Trat was nothing spectacular, I could have skipped it and been just fine. But my hostel was nice, the woman who ran it was great and she also did laundry so I was able to get laundry done. The ants were all gone. I decided to walk to the bus station since there were no nice songtaw drivers this time. I thought the bus to Pattaya left at noon and I just made it before noon; the bus actually left at noon thirty so I had some extra time. My guidebook said the ride would take four hours, and I didn’t want to sit on a van for four hours. The bus ride actually took six and a half hours. I was not prepared for that. The bus stopped at every town, and it had a half hour stop about halfway in for a toilet break. When I finally got off the bus I was not a happy camper. I used Pattaya as a stopping point before going to Bangkok and going to Cambodia.
Note: since I am traveling there will be fewer photos on these blogs since I don’t have my laptop with me to get the photos off my camera and I don’t know how to use the photo wifi on the camera either. After my travels I will have to do a few photo blogs.
Another note: I know I said I would not post advice on my blog but I have had request for advice so I am working on travel tips posts.
Joyce and I look forward to reading of your adventures, pictures or not.
Our Spring outing was a not so exciting 600 mi round trip day. The flowers we supposed to be
especially beautiful in Death Valley due to the moist spring. The short version — they had a storm the day before we went, the flowers were pretty sad. If you like bleak and barron, that is the place to go. Bill