Nan, Saithong and Nam Ngao 2011
Friday 14th January by Charlotte
Today we got up early and took a crazy Bangkok taxi to the Wat Pho, the temple with the reclining Buddha. We paid our 50baht entry and walked around the temples taking in the beautiful architecture and decorations; the temples are absolutely astounding and it is almost impossible to comprehend just how they would have been built all those years ago without all the building materials and technology we have nowadays!
(14 Jan 2011) » More about Friday 14th January by Charlotte
Wednesday 12th January by Michelle
Today we arrived back in Bangkok and set off to spend a short break on Koh Larn, an island near the city of Pattaya. The night-bus from Nan arrived in Bangkok at around 5am. We had managed to get a little sleep on the bus but not much so we curled up in the bus station for an hour or two and tried to sleep. Tip and her husband, Tak, arrived and eventually so did the minibus that was to take us to Pattaya, which was about 2 hours from Bangkok. We got the ferry from Pattaya to Koh Larn. The sea was very choppy and the ferry was very busy; by the time we arrived on the island we were all feeling rather seasick!
(12 Jan 2011) » More about Wednesday 12th January by Michelle
Friday 11th January by Yasmin
Today was a particularly sad day, as after a morning of teaching marked by a limited level of concentration and resembling more a session of games and fun for the children, we had to say our final goodbyes to the village! Part of me is so sad because of the limitations on language and our limited time with the village, I wish so much more that we could have gotten to know the villagers better as even from the limited time we have spent here it is evident that they have some pretty interesting traditions and rituals!
(11 Jan 2011) » More about Friday 11th January by Yasmin
Monday 10th January by Jessica
Today was our penultimate day in the village. This morning we only had two classes because in the afternoon Yim told us that the teachers were having a meeting so there was no school.
(10 Jan 2011) » More about Monday 10th January by Jessica
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th January by Duncan
Saturday 8th was our last full day in Nan, which is definitely a sad moment. Nevertheless we had a fantastic day. Five of us rented bicycles to further explore the town and its surroundings, whilst Joe and Michelle decided to get some academic work while we had a (relatively) decent internet connection.
(8 Jan 2011) » More about Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th January by Duncan
Friday 7th January by Charlotte
National Children's day 2011 is not until tomorrow but it was celebrated today in schools all around Thailand. Schools celebrate with the children and then the students are given the afternoon off from school to spent time with their families.
(7 Jan 2011) » More about Friday 7th January by Charlotte
Thursday 6th January by Michelle
Today we went to visit a different hill tribe village where there is a Nurses' Association school. We were picked up by a few of the nurses from the hospital at 8.30am in the hospital bus. The journey to the school was about an hour in the bus and we stopped for sticky rice in bamboo before setting off into the twisting, pot-holed hill roads. The village seemed to be quite a bit bigger than Nam Ngao; the school itself had over 400 pupils, however, only 50 or 60 had come to school today as the others were at home celebrating New Year with their families. All of the children had come in their traditional tribal dress and performed a beautiful dance for us.
(6 Jan 2011) » More about Thursday 6th January by Michelle
Tuesday 4th January by Yasmin
We rose that morning to the usual baffling noises in the village, noises that contrast so much to the usual kinds of things you hear in the morning in England. Rather than the sound of cars on the street, of beeping horns, casual conversations and the kettle boiling, we have become accustomed to the squealing of pigs, crying of babies and cuckoos' of just about every cockerel in the village; that is not to say that we do not enjoy such noises, they do seem to remind us of the lovely place we are in (even if they do all begin at around 5.30am)!
(4 Jan 2011) » More about Tuesday 4th January by Yasmin
Monday 3rd January by Jessica
After a lovely weekend in Chang Mai, we were all very tired and not particularly looking forwards to the long bus journey back to Nan. However, it was wonderful to see La aied again when she greeted us, and the bus ride proved to be not too much of a strain. We were able to watch films on the van and we also had a couple of stops along the way.
(3 Jan 2011) » More about Monday 3rd January by Jessica
Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd January by Duncan
After the new year's festivities, saturday was a somewhat relaxed day in Chiang Mai. We took the chance to explore Chiang Mai a little more and visited the prison's rehabilitation centre. Female prisoners are taught skills such as traditional Thai massaging which they can then use upon release, which the team universally felt was a great initiative.
(1 Jan 2011) » More about Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd January by Duncan
Friday 31st December by Michelle
We started our New Years Eve at 5am, getting up at Tip's house to leave in the van for Chiang Mai at 6am.
(31 Dec 2010) » More about Friday 31st December
Thursday 30th December by Sian
The longer we spend teaching in Nam Ngao, the more apparent the cultural differences between here and England become. This is particularly so with regard to teaching at the school, where the attitude and behaviour of both the students and the teachers is completely different to what we are used to at home. Lessons are far more relaxed and timetables seem to frequently change due to various activities taking place - it takes a little getting used to and certainly keeps us on our toes but has given us the opportunity to do and see so much during our stay here.
(31 Dec 2010) » More about Thursday 30th December by Sian
Tuesday 28th December by Yasmin
In Thailand it seems that there is very little concern over routine and timings. Just as we seem to begin to settle into the school a new event arises and interrupts the original plan, and this Tuesday it was sports day. We were carted by Yim to another school just inside Nan city to spectate for the day up to ten different schools compete in the most popular national sports; particularly volleyball, football and what we observed to be a Thai version of volleyball played with a bamboo ball using only the feet, and of course there was the usual confusing presence of karaoke if you felt that way inclined- few of us did. After mastering the Thai art of cheering which differs greatly to that of England and relates more closely to high pitched screeching than anything else I've ever heard, we headed back to the village.
(28 Dec 2010) » More about Tuesday 28th December by Yasmin
Monday 27th December by Jess
After this weekend's very hectic Christmas celebrations returning to Nam Ngao school today was a refreshing change of pace.
(27 Dec 2010) » More about Monday 27th December
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th December by Michelle
Merry Christmas! In a predominantly Buddhist country with 30 degree weather, it's not easy to find the 'Christmassy feeling'. There may not have been siblings jumping on my bed, turkey or a Christmas tree, but waking up on the top of a mountain to watch the sun rise was consolation enough; the view was fairly breath-taking. After politely declining a breakfast of watery rice with dried prawns, peanuts, anchovies and salty egg, and opting for bread and jam instead, everything was packed up and we headed back down the mountain.
(25 Dec 2010) » More about Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th December
Friday 24th December by Charlotte
Christmas Eve! Today we went into school and spent the morning celebrating Christmas with the students by playing lots of different typical party games - musical bumps, musical statues, pin the tail on the elephant and pass the parcel were all featured!
(24 Dec 2010) » More about Friday 24th December
Friday 24th December by Sian
It's hard to believe a week has passed since I last wrote my diary entry. We have met so many people, seen many places and done so many things in that short time period, it feels as if we have been here much longer already.
(24 Dec 2010) » More about Friday 24th December
Tuesday 21st December by Yasmin
Today was such an amazing day. Arriving in Nam Ngao we were greeted by a number of village officials, schoolteachers and a few village elders bearing babies on their backs. The house is great even if a little basic. Nam Ngao is a beautiful village, isolated in the hilly jungle near Nan city. Littered with small wooden houses and young families we understood immediately it's welcoming environment and relaxed pace of life. After greeting the villagers and practicing our most well-rehearsed Thai phrases we were whisked off by Yim, to Nam Ngao school; where she teaches English. Probably one of the most overwhelming experiences so far was our arrival at the school, which consisted mainly of large groups of young children squealing and running around announcing the arrival of the "farang" whilst we were greeted politely by the teachers and directors of the school.
(21 Dec 2010) » More about Tuesday 21st December by Yasmin
Monday 20th December by Jessica
This morning we went on a bus tour of Nan. For what we thought was going to be a very small town, Nan is surprisingly big and very beautiful. We also stopped to look around a temple, which Thai people call 'wats'; it was exquisitely decorated and we were shown how to offer flowers and incense to Buddha.
(20 Dec 2010) » More about Monday 20th December
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th December by Duncan
Saturday was our last day in Bangkok so we decided to go slightly further afield aboard the extremely slick, modern and, most importantly, air-conditioned sky train. We arrived at Chatuchak market, also known as the JJ market, and were once again overwhelmed by the sheer scale of everything in Bangkok. This outdoor market is simply gargantuan and swarming with locals and tourists alike.
(18 Dec 2010) » More about Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th December
Friday 17th December by Charlotte
After a slightly distorted sleep due to jet lag, we got up and made our way to our British Council meeting grabbing a breakfast of pineapple and watermelon from the side stalls along the way.
(17 Dec 2010) » More about Friday 17th December
Thursday 16th December by Sian
After an incredibly long and somewhat tedious journey, we finally touched down in Bangkok at 7.10am this morning; extremely sleep deprived and most probably in need of a good wash, but ready to start our Thai adventure! Having successfully made it through customs and reclaimed all our baggage, we were whisked away to the Chulalongkorn University where we were warmly welcomed by our two guides - Paul and Sukalin.
(16 Dec 2010) » More about Thursday 16th December
Wednesday 15th December by Joe
We all arranged to meet at Heathrow on Tuesday evening - which despite a little delay on Yasmin's train, all went to plan. We all grabbed a sandwich in Heathrow before the flight, this was the start of what was going to be a very long day!
(15 Dec 2010) » More about Wednesday 15th December