Wednesday 10th: Constitution Day
The longer I stay here, the days seem to fly by, and the weeks are getting more and more strawberry-jam-packed. Last week saw the bump to reality of Monday morning after an amazing trip to Khao Yai, but I don’t even know where the days between then and Wednesday went. Constitution Day fell on Wednesday this year, commemorating the adoption of a constitutional monarchy in the 30s. This meant that once again, the school was closed for the day (hoorah!). Mr. Mattheu and I seized this opportunity to do some exploring of Korat, and decided to go to the zoo. I generally avoid zoos like the plague, but after a bit of research that suggested Korat Zoo uses natural habitats and as one of the few attractions of Korat (and apparently one of the better ones in the north of Thailand), I decided to see for myself what it was like. The layout and space of the zoo is quite educational, but at the end of the day, a zoo is a zoo and I really struggled to see how a penguin house could be considered a natural environment. Word on the street was that there was a water park there, but upon arrival to “Korat Lagoon”, there are in fact two slides and some water sprinklers where the oldest looking person there other than us was about 12, so we decided to give it a miss. In truth, Korat has some more interesting features around it than the zoo, and wouldn’t rush back there anytime soon, especially since my moral fibre feels a little tainted!
– At this point, I should probably mention that if you ever decide to do TEFL, when you go exploring, take your teacher ID! At both Khao Yai and the Zoo, admission as a teacher would have got us in for the same price as Thais. Without it, we were just tourists, and the fees automatically lifted up from 30 to 150 baht each (40 to 400 for Khao Yai!) Just a handy hint.
The rest of Constitution Day flew by and finished off with perhaps the best curry I have ever EVER had from our very own Ate Archna. Using solely a rice cooker and the equivalent of a camping stove, she impressively cooked enough for eight of us. We’re currently pressing on at her to open what would be the only Indian restaurant here in Korat so watch this space.
Saturday 13th: The Return of The Ko, Go-Karting & Korat’s Barbeque Festival
To say our thanks for taking us to Khao Yai, we asked Ko to come go karting with us on Saturday after he’d said there was a place to do it in Korat and drunkenly asking us “DO YOU COMMIT?” We did indeed commit, and unknowingly drove the 80km back to Khao Yai, to have a ten-minute go-kart race. I’ve never been go karting before, but it was a lot of fun – even though I did have a spin and spent a while faffing around to get back the right way! There was a mini farm on site too, so we spent some time feeding goats with other people’s stray grass before hopping back into the back of Ko’s pick up truck for another hour-and-a-half journey back to Korat, most of which I spend bellowing out Queen songs and being constantly hit in the face by wind.
The evening was even more of a treat. Ruby and Desmond, who we’d got to know at our two-day orientation in Bangkok, came up to Korat – and are now working with us at Assumption! It’s funny that nearly all of us have ended up here, regardless of where we’d been originally put. Ruby came earlier on in the Eve so Mr. Mattheu and I showed her around Yamo, which is a statue of Lady Suranari, Korat’s very own heroine who prevented a Laotian attack in the 19th century. You’ll always find people praying here and offering tributes to the statue.
Further up the road was a barbecue festival, with a theme of “Cowboys and Indians”. Along with a few clothes stalls, there was a huge space filled with all sorts of treats for foodies. I managed to stutter together enough Thai to ask for a 25 baht veggie kebab. Aloy ma (very delicious!) In the middle of the big square was a huge stage, where people were dressed up Cowboy style, dancing and playing instruments to suit the Country Western mood; there were hay bales, saloon set ups and props all over the place too. After spending the first couple of weeks in Korat thinking “merrr there’s nowt to do here”, there’s always something coming up!