Well, Jaime and I are entering our last full month of living and teaching in Thailand… and what an adventure it’s been. The last day of work at our school will be March 30th and from then on we’ll spend just under two weeks travelling and getting our last glimpses of the country we’ve called home for the past six months. Then, on April 12th, we’ll be heading home to the US.
With the little amount of time we have left, we’re trying to make the most out of it. We shared an interesting moment several weeks ago when we realized that we were getting a little too negative about our hometown of Chonburi and our situation here. It seemed to dawn on both of us at the same time that we simply aren’t the kind of people who sit around griping and complaining about things… we’re the kind of people who get moving making the situation better.
So… we bought BIKES! When we first arrived in Thailand, we thought for sure that we’d buy road bikes for getting around. But we somehow talked ourselves out of it, since bikes around here can be expensive and public transportation is so readily available. But there is something way more enjoyable about biking your way around a city than being crammed into overcrowded buses and song-tows. So we finally bought our bikes and immediately found ourselves exploring parts of the city we had never ventured to before. We went to the new local markets, tasted new foods, found beautiful places to watch the sunset, and generally found ourselves enjoying our city way more than we had in months. It gave us a brand new attitude and new appreciation for our town.
But that didn’t mean that we were curtailing our travel plans, though. In fact, last weekend, we took one of the most enjoyable weekend trips of our entire time here. The destination was Kanchanaburi, a town about 3 hours west of Bangkok. Jaime & I had actually been to Kanchanaburi twice before (once for our CIEE orientation, where we road elephants for the first time, and another time right after New Years). But on both these trips, we were unable to find time to explore the best attraction Kanchanaburi has to offer: the gorgeous seven-tiered waterfalls of Erawan National Park.
We were joined on this excursion by a motley crew of wonderful friends. First, Hannah and Alana, two fellow CIEE-ers who we met at teacher orientation our first week in Thailand, plus their awesome friend Katherine, another teacher from Colorado. Second, a new friend Peter, who is a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend of Jaime’s, who happened to be travelling around Southeast Asia. Amazingly, we also met up with two other teachers, a couple named James and Laura who are originally from Boone, NC… and Laura actually went to high school in Summerville with Krista & Grayson Dorr, who of our good friends from Charleston. It’s a small friggin’ world.
We found lodging in Kanchanaburi at the delightful Jolly Frog hostel (pronounced “Jorry Fog” for motorbike taxi and song-tow drivers), located on the river and a short walk from Kanchanaburi’s awesome restaurants and fun bars. We hung out the first night, trading lots of teaching stories and enjoying the wonderful company. The next morning, we headed out early for Erawan National Park. We spend the day hiking up seven tiers of waterfalls, each more incredible than the last, jumping into the clear pools of water, escaping from fish trying to bite our feet, watching monkeys run around in the trees, and enjoying being in such a beautiful natural place. And we weren’t alone: the park was packed with Thai and Europeans in their bathings suits, looking for a reprieve from the hot temperatures.
We spent another night hanging out with our awesome group of friends at our hostel, before heading back home to Chonburi the next morning. Since then, we’ve been continuing to make the most out of the time we have left here in Thailand. Case in point, we’re taking off this weekend for another visit to the island paradise of Kho Samet, which we first visited last October. Then a weekend in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand. Then a weekend in Khao Yai, the biggest national park in Thailand…
So next time you want to complain, don’t. Instead, get movin’….