Linen & Things

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I have begun my teaching career.  Yes, it was under the pretext of a trainee teaching prescribed lesson plans under the supervision of various adults for only one forty minute session per day with no regard to the degree of knowledge acquired by the students, who themselves were not even in school but in fact dragged back on campus for something called “English Camp” to do The Hokey Pokey and have their principal enter class amidst a lesson, only to privately crack jokes to one student without acknowledging the teacher or her lesson.  Yes, those things are true.  Still, the fact is that I did teach – four days of ridiculously structured forty minutes, and a final session that I had to plan myself.  Imagine me: wearing tweed pants, wrinkled, ivory-coloured linen short-sleeved shirts, a frayed and worn striped tie of silver, black and gold, with hair slicked in gobs of gelee and eyes bespectacled in antique half frames of white gold and pearly plastic.  Yes, I looked the part.  Yes, I looked the part, and did so in 142 degree weather (Fahrenheit).  During the week, I had no life.  Teaching is tiring work, if rewarding, and to all you teachers out there I doff my nonexistent cap.

After a week of the grueling work, done at the foot of a paradise that, like a stubborn little puppy of sun and sand and water, yipped constantly at the classroom window — tempation distilled — this remarkable program, who, with our deposit of $750, holed us up in a rather nice area 15 minutes from the beach in villas if not luxurious completely and shockingly replete with convenience, also opted to drag the entire program into this jewel scam house.  Yes, this American corporation was part of those infamous tuk-tuk scams, fleecing us in a time when we could have been celebrating (amd under the pretext of taking us to the “market” or whatever their fib).  Oh well.  Apart from that, and from the constant disorder and shocking mismanagement and underqualified/overworked group leaders and instructors, and the frustrating lack of ability and charm in one of the two teachers (the other lacked in mostly the charm department), it was a program in which I’m glad to have participated.  Now I’m heading into teaching and I’m swallowing my tongue with anxiety.  That’s not true, actually…I’m just starting a new job and it’s a little nerve-wracking.

In other news, I’ve made some truly wonderful friends out here from various parts of the globe, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.  There are about 5 people from outside of the States that participated in the program, but anyway, who cares.  What have I done of interest since last time?  We’ve had Ultimate Frisbee games on the beach at sunset (game-winning, diving catch in a game of 30 people, thank you very much), I’ve eaten chicken hearts and pig guts off of a motorcycle grill at 1AM, I’ve driven my little scooter into and around Phuket Town with Kelly in tow (probably the dumbest decision I could have made, but no problems…not the Kelly part but the flood of gnat-like bikers envoloping me, cutting me off, blowing exhust into my face at all times, and in the rain, no less).  I am having a difficult time thinking of what I’ve done…oh!  I have fleas.  That’s a fun one.  I also, while walking to a little local bar owned by “Meow” and her 60something Austin Powers Clone, John (who I must still credit as being very friendly, regardless), saw a little mangy and moon-loving puppy cross the street gingerly and absentmindedly, only to have two Thai fellows, armed with the moral fabric of a Bush, slow down and steer into the middle of the street just so they could, accelerating, flip the yelping canine into the sky with the front tyre of their cowardly dirt bike.  That was evil in pure form, I would confidently say, and I just stared at them, stunned, as they drove off, emotionless.

Beyond this, the other night the folks congregated at a reggae bar, of which there are many (and the nearby guy, in fact, gave me those fleas from the cowboy boot I was inspecting, I think).  This one, in particular, is really a treehouse of patchy floorboards built precariously over the edge of a cliff (precarious is always the word used in that situation, isn’t it?), affording the average, lucky alcoholic one of the most breath-stealing views conceivable, over the water and sand of Kata Beach (also the location of my ill-advised surfing sojurn of days past).  I met up with them late, after treating myself with a dinner at a local, crusty little Italian restaurant (“L’osteria”…wonderfully creative name), a surprisingly nice meal of Spaghetti alle Vongole and bad-but-not-cheap Montipulciano d’Abruzzo, and a nice conversation/practice session with the hideous and friendly Napolitano owner, Frederico, who was casually impressed enough with the level of my Italian (or perhaps the stewed in the fact that I brought a handful of friends who, like me, were spending ridiculous Thai prices on his non-expert cuisine), to buy us a round of amaretto.  Ha.

All the predatory expats living out here with young Thai girls – disgusting.  All the local businesses are owned by these people, kind fellows that claim to be in love, but are obviously just drinking up in the dreamy delight that Phuket offers in the face of their presumably lacking childhood.  The bar/restaurant next door admitted to me the other night, drunkenly, that he lacked fingerprints for all the times he had to burn them off with an iron in anticipation of his latest “job”, whatever that means.  It’s a strange place, as you can assume.  I’ve also managed to see Patong only twice, and really only for one night, so you can be either proud of or disgusted with me.  It’s been a nice month and now it’s onwards and onwards.  Today, my last day here, will find me hopefully bungee jumping over an old tin mine, perhaps riding the ol’ hog up the mountain to see the giant Buddha and his accompaniying monastery, and finally packing all the sundry up to begin my week and one half traveling around the south, here.  I’ll be going to places like Krabi and Trang, relaxing in cheap bungalows on the beach, drinking watery beer and snorkeling, kayaking, chewing the insect fat, whatever might be ahead.  It’s time to jut relax.

I hope you are all well.  I need to get out of bed once and for all.  All I can say is that the Dodgers better win tomorrow…my dad and brother are going to the game and if they don’t bring home a win, I’ll go straight back to Italy from Australia without so much as a hello!  Grr…

Love you all,

Eric

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~ by nearhelsinki on October 12, 2008.

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