Ok, its Rach here, currently boiling to death while I write this so hope you appreciate we are suffering for this blog! haha. So we left Bagkok again, after a spot more shopping, to get the night train to Nong Khai. Decided to indulge in some beer on the journey to help us sleep, although not much sleep was had by me as it was so noisy and I kept thinking we were going to crash! Never fear though parents, its perfectly safe, just me being a baby. Got tuk tuk to Open minds training centre, had a lovely welcome by the staff, some thai, some french, boss man is swedish. Got our own room with 2 matresses, both sleeping on the double as the single appears to be stuffed with cardboard. Nice. Got free internet here and an outside kitchen which is cool, on the first day (after me and Al had visited the giant tesco lotus and stuffed ourselves with bread and crisps,) they had made us a welcom lunch of Isan food, so sweet. NongKhai is in the Isan region of thiland, boardering Lao. Have spent last 3 days donig our volunteer training which has been intense, hard work but also great and very useful .we know lots of thai words and phrases now, can order our food, shop in the market, ask for discounts, count to 1000 (although Al is much better at this, ill rely on her for the numbers), and use simple classroom phrases.
Training has been very hands on, learning in the centre, then going out and using what weve learnt in real situations like shopping for our own food in the market and making our own Thai food then eating it hurrah! We have enjoyed lots of chicken fried rice, Kaao Pat Gai (sounds just like cow pat so we can remember that one!) Visited the Buddha sculpture park, temples and have been out in the evening 'enjoying' local food. The enjoyment has been hit and miss, the first night we had Isan hotpot which included intestines and bits of stomach. Needless to say me and al went a bit hungry that night. But otherwise were being good and trying to get in the spirit of it. Its been hard though, a total culture shock and weve had to buy some new clothes for teaching that are 'appropriate'.
Birthday was an experience... After a very long day of cultural sightseeing, traipsing around markets and sweating a lot - we were ready to celebrate the birthday by having a few beers and then sleeping! But afetr we had cooked our own Thai cuisine we were shocked to find 4 lady boys outside our room. So as usual we ran to the internet and wrote it on FB lol! We then jioned the rest of the volunteers outside and enjoyed the food we had cooked and were ready to go back for seconds to find the food had been taken away and we were shocked to have the ladyboys perform traditional thai dance for us... (they were wearing boobtubes which annoyed us a lot as we were in skanky clothes because it is not acceptable for farang (foreigners) to show skin as they all think we're slutty but apparently its ok for boys to looke slutty). Then they brought out a cake for Rach and sang her happy birthday. we were then giving a lot of goodwishes bracelets from each of our new friends and a flower garland thingy... and the ladyboys taught us how to dance and then we all did kareoke - well not me. and went to bed hungry and not drunk. but it was definately an experience!
Other volunteers are nice, american girl, german guy and a lovely french couple and their gorgeous little girl Zaya who is 2 and sooooo cute so shes keeping me from missing Mo too much. Had to plan our own mini lesson on Thurs and go nito a school on Fri to teach it to a class which was an experience! Looking forward to starting on Monday and getting stuck in. Its very informal, and apparently half the time the teacher wont even be there half the time which al is a bit stressed about. We have completely and utterly given in to looking au naturale... and we are embracing our new hairstyles and sweatyness! In other words... we look FIT!!!
Went swimming today and it decided to thunder and lightning and piss it down all over us, never been swimming in a monsoon before! Its all an experience. Al has some lovely photos. Right, too hot now. Yes thats another thing, the heat here is incredible, mum you would have melted long ago. But were gradually getting used to the humidity. Otherwise were ok, and will email again soon. Love to everyone back home, missing you all and hope you are all good. Thanks for all birthday messages I cant text back as no credit.
Loves, Rach and Al xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx