my travels, pt. 1
Ubon Ratchatani Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
When the school year ended in March, I thought I would be spending the bit-term at home- developing lesson plans, working on life skills cirriculum, maybe visiting a friend or two...boy was I wrong. I have been home a total of 6 days in the last 6 weeks.
First off there was a teacher training I volunteered for. It was out in a province I hadn't been to and wouldn't be able to visit if I didn't have a work related reason for going. Ubon Ratchatani is on the boarder of Laos and Cambodia- and nothing like my part of Thailand at all! For one thing, I can't understand the dialect the people were speaking to save my life. I never thought that the dialects were so completely different; it's not just an accent, it's a totally different vocabulary and stresses on words, sometimes even different tones! But the teacher training was in a national park and it was gorgeous.
The office that sponsered the camp then took us on a gem of a sightseeing trip- the Prah Preah Vihear, Khemer ruins right on the boarder of Cambodia and Thailand. Technically they are in Cambodia but you can only reach them from the Thai side because they are up on a plateau. The ruins are beautiful...large scale and moderately restored. They were being finished as Angkor Wat (largest religious structure in the world), in Cambodia, was beginning. I've been visiting Khemer ruins from all different time periods and it's awesome to see the prgression of the architecture and the statuary.
While in this section of Thailand I took the opportunity to visit one of my friends who is posted there. He has a great site in a fairly big town (way bigger than my village- he has a 7-11!!!). The best thing about his site is that he has an orphanage to work with. The orphans are kids who have been affected, either they or thier parents, by HIV/AIDS. They are the sweetest kids. It took about 30 minutes for them to open up but once they did it was no holds barred. My friend spends many days a week with them and has taught them how to play dodgeball. So we played with the kids and I let the oldest girl (11years old) mess around with my camera- she's pretty good. The girls and I got tired of playing dodgeball so we sat and watched the boys and made fun of them; eventually I ended up with 4 little girls playing with my hair or napping in my lap...it was awesome.
The training was great, working with my fellow PCVs was fun, visiting friends I hadn't seen a a few months was really nice...it was a great way to combine work and play and come out in the positive at the end.