As potential visitors around the world frantically try to sort out their Thailand holidays due to the current flooding that has hit the North East and Central regions of Thailand, i-to-i TEFL Thailand interns had the amazing opportunity to head to Ban Phe Beach until their in-country teams could sort out their school contracts in light of this natural disaster.
One of the biggest travel destinations today, tourists are still eager to explore Thailand but have been left hotel-less as hundreds of areas have shut down as a result of the floods. It seems that whenever natural disasters or any turmoil strikes, travelers still want to board that long haul flight and carry on whatever adventure is planned. As I touched down in Bangkok last Tuesday the front page of the The Nation showed images of local Thais up to their shoulders in water. While relief networks are underway to help the local Thais, I couldn’t help but wonder what would become of the TEFLers arriving from all parts of the world.
But with an incredible in-country team, led by none other than our beloved Masako, the interns (and myself!) got a real treat as a result of the floods. We all boarded two mini busses to head to Ban Phe beach to find some relief and fun in the sun. The most amazing part about this was that Ban Phe is a lot more rural than the concrete of Bangkok, and we could instantly see this when we were greeted by a sandy coast with fisherman at work and a man taking his afternoon stroll atop his very friendly (and adorable) elephant who stopped to be fed and petted by the interns. I instantly felt like I was truly in paradise. All I had experienced of Thailand thus far had been the Bangkok airport and a city tour so the drastic change in scenery was greatly welcomed.
After a day of lounging and exploring the local area we headed for a meal where it was essentially a buffet of raw food. So raw chicken, beef, pork, prawns…. guts…. My first fear was uh oh, maybe this is a bit too rural for me …. But it actually turned out it was just really trendy! We carried our meat to our tables where we had little pans in which we could cook the meat ourselves. Being a big baby about raw meat in general, I wasn’t as adventurous as others who tried to meat and guts and got massively stuck in. The great bit about being in Thailand is that every now and again you kind of forget where you are and then something out of the ordinary happens and you get to be excited all over again. I mentioned the elephant from earlier in the day? Well as we were outside having our meal, I look up and see the same big elephant’s head leaning over the fence (don’t worry, with his owner) trying to make friends with us. I’m a sucker for elephants – absolutely LOVE THEM – so paid the 10 baht so I could feed him some mango. Meanwhile a stray dog was freaking out and howling away at the elephant as he was either massively scared or excited.
I’ve genuinely found it impossible to not fall in love with Thailand. Beautiful landscapes, ancient palaces, amazing tropical weather and the most friendly, welcoming people I’ve ever met in my life.
But in all honesty, as I write this entry I have no stopped scratching my legs which have a few mosquito bites which seem to have taken over my life and sanity. But that is my fault, in the worlds of current Teach in Thailand Intern, Yasmin Olaad, “Forget the lip gloss and bring insect repellant.” She could not be more right – I completely forgot my insect repellant and am massively paying for it now!