I look up and the stars look different; unfamiliar constellations greet my eyes.
I hear the TOH-KAI!! sound of a lizard hiding in the underbrush, announcing it's
presence between the crash of waves on the tropical beach before me. Every part of my being is more relaxed, at peace and content than it has been in decades.
Not every part of Thailand is a tropical paradise, however, as I am soon to find
out when I start my teaching assignment, the location of which was unbeknownst tome until earlier today. I'll be in Bangkok, the heart of Bangkok in the Ekamai district. From what I've heard, this part of the city (just a tad east of the city's true center) borders some of the worst slums in the world and also some of the trendiest, hippest nightlife in all of SE Asia. I will be right on the
reknowned "BTS" sky-train line, and so getting around won't be too difficult. It's
nearby one of the bus stations, and so if I want to use that for weekend getaways, that's available as well.
The school I am assigned to is a government school, about 2000 students from what Americans would consider grades 7 through 12. Turns out, my new roommate, an experienced foreign (British) English teacher whose come for our final week oftraining to assist in assessing our practice sessions, was himself a teacher at that very same school and he said it was great. Here's one odd thing: it is an all-boys school, so he said things sometimes get a bit lewd amongst the upperclassmen.
I am excited about living in Bangkok. It's an exciting city! Like all big cities,
there are dangers involved, in both the general sense and for me personally. It
won't be difficult not speaking Thai there, then again, there will be less
incentive for me to learn. Certainly, I'll be getting a taste of one kind of
Thai culture, if not THE Thai culture.
My plan was to buy a motorcycle when I got to my final assignment, but given where I'm going to be, which is sort of the equivalent of living in Manhatten, I don't know if that's really all that necessary now.
I do need to buy a new videocamera. For those who've enjoyed watching my videos of this journey, there will be a break in the action. I did something really dumb. One night, after a late-night ukulele singalong on the beach, I left my backpack behind when I went home. My camera was in it.
So it's two more days of practice teaching, one day of Thai cultural training and then it is off early Friday morning to Bangkok to begin my new life!
I do have one video I can share, I made it for my ukulele club...