Children are exhausting

Chiang Rai Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 9 › view all entries
Currently needing to catch up on some sleep after three days at a school. However, lets start from the beginning.
On Friday morning, we planned all our evening production then in the afternoon we went to a large superstore in Chiang Rai. Here we bought 150 soap, 150 toothpastes and 150 toothbrushes for the promotions plus tonnes of paper, coloured pens, pencils and balloons for teaching. We did get odd looks at the check out! We most of the group bought tonnes of junk food to feed their cravings for western food. It was amusing seeing how unhealthy some people can be! Unfortunately the shop didn't stock camera film which was what I needed. That night we chillled out at Mirror playing with a tennis ball we had discovered.
On Saturday morning we set aout planning lessons. In an attempt to get me more accustomed to talking about sex for sex education lessons, I was told to join the group planning these. In short I was completely unhelpful. I can talk about the topics but neither I can't come up with games associated with it nor do I really get some of the jokes associated with the topic. I tried to be useful doing jobs like writing the lesson cards and tidying the existing materials.
After lunch we visitted the white temple. Its a modern take on a temple, with white buildings amd small mirros adorning much of it. Some of the figures decorating the fountains that are still being finished were slightly modern too- crabs with wings and creatures more commonly seen in computer games. Inside the main building was a glorious bronze Buddha statue set against the back wall with an orangey backgroud I suppose depicting Nirvana (though I could be wrong- I must admit ignorance about much of the Buddhist belief). However, on the wall of the main door was a far more disturbing mural: it depicted thousands of demons descending on American icons (yellow taxis, coca-cola trucks, skyscrapers) and demolishing them with fire and violence. Neyo from 'The Matrix' even made an appearance. Buddha sat at the top of the image above a flaming skull, and faithful Thais and monks were lifted up above the carnage towards him on clouds. Whilst I can understand hy someone would wish nothing but death upon Americanisation, I thought it a violent image for the tranquiliuty of a temple for a faith that I'm sure says to do no harm in some form or another.  Managed to get hold of the camera film outside the temple, in the tourist village that has sprung up around the attraction which condemns such Westernised ideas.
 Instead of going back to Mirror we were dropped off at a luxurious hotel where we stayed for less than 10 pounds a night. During the late afternoon we swam in the pool then in the evening we ventured into the night bazaar for dinner. We went to an Italian I must confess (not my descision alone) and then in the market we shopped and bartered for souvenirs and gifts. I bought a few bits and bobs for my family but there was so many beautiful objects there (along with plenty of junk) but money, sense and packing space meant I didn't buy any. Also bought my sisters birthday present for when I get home.
Back at the hotel I was so grateful for a comfortable bed. The next morning we swam, breakfasted at another hotel's restaurant before getting picked up at midday and spending the afternoon churning out lesson materials. Copying the Thai provided much amusement because of its complete dissimilarity to English but by th end I began to recognise letters and form them much faster. Jo and Mark's cards were admittedly much neater than mine.
Monday morning we travelled to a school about an hour and a half's drive away. It was a pleasant little primary school where we set up a living quaters in the ICT room. We then met the director who was very keen to see us and asked reassuringly few questions. FOllowing this until today it was teach two hours mornign and afternoon and then perform in a village in the evening. Te children were dleightful and I spent a fair bit of free time playing with them. They enjoyed all our lessons but were a little young to teach sex ed (we prepared for 16+ years olds and taught 10-12 year olds). All the same, they learnt a lot, we learnt a lot of things from them (games, thai, how not to say english words). The villages where we performed in the evening provided different size audiences but we enjoyed ourselves. We lured the children in using a parachute which they could run under then the adults came to collect their children and we tried to make them stay with our production that went really well both nights. However, Gee's Thai videos become dull after one viewing- especially given we don't understand them.
We left the school after lunch today. The children gave us little notes and cards and clammered for photos with us. Then they chased the bus down the drive as we pulled out. Now I'm showered and clean and waiting for the Buddhist holiday tomorrow. I'm shattered so I'm sort of glad i don't have to teach. Plus we have the excitement of an elephant ride to on of our translators villages followed by a homestay there and the tribe are going to perform some dancing, then the next day we will wlk down the hill and go swimming in a waterfall, then see the hill tribe museum before coming back to Mirror in the evening. In two days I will get to do two of the things I have always wanted to do!!!
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Chiang Rai
photo by: Pearl510