The Two Travelers at a viewing stop on Doi Suthep (all of Chiang Mai behind us)
So, it has been quite a while since our last update. Far too long in my opinion, but it really is all the fairer traveler's fault. Just kidding. We have been quite busy and to be honest, a little lazy with our down-time.The heat, which has actually been subsiding as of late, was a large contributor to this laziness. We just want to be inside with the fan cranked at our faces like bulldogs facing leaf-blowers.
The long view shot of our apartment
So, first, we've secured an apartment! It's a lovely piece of real estate to the Northwest of the Old City of Chiang Mai, and a good ways out of the way of the "tourist-y" part of the town. So, we can get good food and supplies at modest, not-jacked up prices. We're also near a mall with its own grocery store, so we don't have to run all over town for groceries, only walk about 5 minutes. The apartment itself is a condo owned by a German woman who also lives in Chiang Mai just outside the city who rents it to foreigners looking for an excellent home and I'm sure Thai's as well. The apartment is quite large with a living room, bedroom - separated by a sliding partition wall - and a bathroom, which includes a shower WITH A TUB!! From our balcony we have a beautiful view of Doi Suthep, the nearest mountain to Chiang Mai, and our pool which is only a few floors below. Funny enough, after hours of searching around town for an apartment and only finding dingy hotel rooms (priced from 7,000 to 9,000 Baht), we settled to look on Craigslist (which exists in Thailand as well), and found our gem of an apartment for 7,500 Baht per month! Very happy we were and are still as the apartment has treated us well over the past few months and we've had absolutely no problems!
The Un-Bearded Traveler on our bike coming home from the Doi Suthep Temple
Next, we've rented a motorbike! It's a nice little Honda and pretty fun to ride. In the past two months that we've had it, we've ridden it up Doi Suthep to the temple at the top, to the Lake at Mae Rim (30 minutes north), all around Chiang Mai, and to and from our jobs. So far, we've only crashed twice! The fairer traveler crashed once by herself and came out with only scratches and bruises, and together, we managed to crash right in front of the bike shop on our way to paying our next month's bike rent. They were happy to make note of the new scratches for us and charge us a few bucks to buff them out, oops!
Our friend Rimma and the rice fields, photo taken from our bike on our way to the lake at Mae Rim
Continuing on, we now both have jobs! We have finished our TEFL program and have subsequently been placed into semi-comfortable jobs. The fairer traveler is teaching 8 year old and 12 year old girls at a Catholic school to the Southeast of the Old City. She is full-time now and making the big bucks! As far as I know, she is happy and enjoying the experience if not a little frustrated with the communication breakdowns between the teachers and the administration. I on the other hand am teaching part-time, not really making the big bucks, but making the some bucks. I teach kindergarten kids every day of the week age 2-5. It is one of the most fun experiences I have ever had! When the kids want to learn, they try really hard and I attempt to keep the exercises fresh and constantly changing so that they don't get too bored. When the kids aren't in a learning mood, I just try to play games with them so they can at least work on some English skills, and aren't just laughing at the big sweaty foreigner in the front of the class (even though that is usually part of the game anyway). I also substitute at the Polytechnic when needed. The kids there (age 16-22) are not entirely different from the kindies. They all pretty much just want to talk to each other and play games, so that's pretty much all that I can do with them. I just talk and chat with them to get them to speak English! If they can make up and speak their own sentences, then I've done a good job! I'm going to attempt to find a full-time job to supplement our income a little better, but I do greatly enjoy my current classes (Here's hoping for a massive raise to teach the same kids). All-in-all, I find it quite rewarding and fun, not a permanent job in Thailand, but most certainly a permanent job for me in the U.S. "The Un-Bearded Teacher" Sounds good to me.
Gang-Kalee-Kai in all its glory with a side of rice
Also, I have discovered my new favorite Thai food. It's called Gang-Kalee-Gai, which literally means "Prostitute Curry with Chicken." I can't explain the name, but it's damn good and I'm very willing to pay for it! It's just a regular spicy yellow curry, not sweet and cinnamon-y like the "Massaman" curry (I don't know what that means literally translated). The Gang-Kalee has potatoes and carrots and chicken and spice and tasty and good all in one bowl. Typically, if aa restaurant serves this dish I will order it, and if it's not on the menu, I will at least ask the server if they can make it (learning Thai pays off!!!). I don't always eat this or other curries for lunch or dinner, I also try to fit in some stir-fried vegetables every once in a while so that I'm not always having curry, but mmmm that Gang-Kalee is damn tasty.
That's the best I can do to update our current situation! I hope I didn't forget anything!