Near death experiences, Elephant mud slides, many mosquito bites, late night elephant city wandering, groovy music, night markets and great people conclude my full week antics.
The scariest moment in my journey so far would have to be the other night. I was going about my usual nightly routine when I realised I was locked in the toilet. Now I know this doesn’t sound like the end of the world but at the time I was wishing, “please don’t let this be the way it ends”. Once I was aware I had forced the lock too far, jammed it and therefore couldn’t open it, I banged on the door for about 5mins (felt like 5hrs) shouting helplessly. Mind you the toilet is outside the house so NO ONE heard me. There was no window to crawl out of and the walls were high, no gaps at the bottom or top. So I did what I had to do. I pulled the door as hard as I could, my legs helping me with the leverage. The lock pinged off, flinging me in the eye in the process but I was free and alive! (The door wasn’t in such great shape and the screws and lock were totally unhinged) when I got back to the main room and made my announcement, to my dismay no one even noticed I was gone, to be fair I was only gone for probably 10mins but it was the longest 10mins of my life.
With that ordeal behind me, the next day I headed off to the school to teach again, this time with mainly the younger kids. Shapes and nature was on the learning agenda. We tried to think of creative, enjoyable ways to teach the kids. So for teaching them about nature we drew a landscape on the board and labeled it with various features, ocean, flowers, cloud, sun etc then got them to copy and colour the picture. We also played multiple memory games to get them to cement and recognise the vocab. They were again extremely well behaved and respectful. One of the girls, Champoo (who is pictured in the photo 2nd to the left), was the cuties kid I’ve ever seen, I just wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home!
Back in surin, Amidst the constant pur of zigzagging scooters, eager tuk tuk drivers and bright lights we spot an elephant. It’s late at night, in the centre of town, accompanied by two boys holding bags of bamboo. This is no place for an elephant. This is exactly what my work here is aiming to prevent, the touting of elephants to tourists in order to gain money. Now this is the saddest, confused and most frustrated elephant I’ve seen. I mean this is bustling city life and the poor thing is beging dragged from place to place, in this concrete jungle letting out sighs and angry roars as it goes. It’s so heartbreaking to see, when I passed it was hard not to take it’s trunk that delicately brushed my shoulder and take him back to the village, a safe haven. I just had to remind myself I am doing the best I can for this cause, the greater cause.
On a lighter note, the other day it was pouring with rain, like really pouring. It went on for a few hours. Considering the village is constructed of predominantly mud roads this made for a challenging walk to the river to bathe the elephants. Just before we reached the river there is a slight slope that was now converted into a mud slide. A few of the elephants, the small and the large, dropped their back legs and proceeded to slide down the bank, catapulting their enormous bodies forward as their chubby legs folded underneath and tummys skimmed along the mud. It was so joyful. One of my favourite moments so far, I wish I got some photos!! You can only imagine. It even looked as if they were enjoying it just as much as I enjoyed watching it.
When the weekend rolled around it was straight to Sawadee! It was an extra special occasion as two of the Volunteers, Were leaving us on Saturday as well as it being one of the staffs’ birthday. I love these people. It is like a real big, diverse family ❤️. I’ve been teaching them great kiwi terms that I use unknowingly until they stop me mid sentence to ask, ” what are jandals?, what do you mean by Dairy?, Rubbish bin?, capsicum? 100s and 1000s? Gum boots? And you throw them for fun?”. Most of them I had no idea were called any different haha.
Enjoying one of my favourite drinks at sawasdee:
Cheers!,One of my favourite nights in surin, we danced and laughed the night away:
This weekend I also ventured to the surin night market. Here I experienced the best spring rolls ever, so fresh and coated in a peanut/sweet chilli sauce, brought some more bananas, of course, as well as some sweet corn that wasn’t so sweet. I attempted to give a banana to one of the stray dogs but he wasn’t having any of it, obviously didn’t share my love for bananas. One of the real annoying things about Thailand is there are hardly any public rubbish bins. I’m surprised there isn’t more litter in the streets. So I had to cart around my trash as I downed the delish night market food.
Yummy Bananas at the surin night market:
Something cool: the music taste of most Thai people is totally not what I thought. They listen to a lot of alt j, sticky fingers, arctic monkeys, Bon iver etc, it’s so groovy! 👌✌️Also, in quite a few of the restaurants here I’ve seen ‘New Zealand oysters or muscles’ advertised on the menu, it’s a nice little reminder of home ❤️
A few of my favourite pics from the week:
Yeah, elephants Poop. A lot:
The gang, taking a quick break to pose for a photo of course:
Me in the water with the elephants:
Planting bamboo for hungry mouths: