The end of this month really snuck up on me! June was full of surprises and spontaneous decisions and most of it was pretty damn incredible. I wrote in last month’s post that Thailand was slowly stealing my heart and it’s true; after two months here, I’m head over heels for this country. But to be honest, I don’t think I would have come to love it nearly as much if I’d only had a few weeks of traveling through it like a tourist. Having the opportunity to live like a local really made all the difference in getting to know the real Thailand.
Here’s what I got up to in June!
Wrapped Up Teaching in Chaiyaphum
I finished my last two weeks of teaching, although I didn’t have many classes since there seems to be a holiday every week in Thailand. One day was Teacher Appreciation Day and two days of classes were canceled to celebrate. The students spent one day preparing intricate floral arrangements and the following day there was a big ceremony during which they presented them to staff. It was a pretty incredible sight!
The English department also hosted a welcoming party for staff with lots of food, beer, and some intense karaoke. (ok, maybe I was the only one feeling intense about it).
Visa Run to Laos
Because I would be staying in Thailand longer than the 30 days stamped in my passport I had to go to the capital of Laos to apply for another 60 day visa. It was a quick and fairly uneventful trip; Vientiane doesn’t have much going on, although we found some amazing live music and I spent a stupid amount of money on a glass of wine and chocolate mousse. Because sometimes you gotta treat yo’self. Also, there was a rooster in a box on the bus ride home.
Indonesian Visa in Bangkok
I left Chaiyaphum feeling a bit sad to say goodbye, and had to spend a few days in Bangkok getting another visa sorted. I did of course have one wild night out in Bangkok to make it worth the while and made some new friends along the way.
Volunteer at Elephant Nature Park
I arrived in Chiang Mai unsure of what to do. I knew I wanted to do something with elephants and I happened to check out the Elephant Nature Park’s website. They are usually booked months in advance but they happened to have a few spots open for the week long volunteer program starting in a few days. It was obviously fate, so I jumped on it and it was definitely the highlight of the month!
ENP is a sanctuary for elephants that have been rescued from abuse. They have been used for riding, logging, circus acts, or other human demands and they are usually blind or crippled as a result. We spent a week helping with tasks around the park like chopping corn for food, unloading watermelons, scooping poo, and other glamorous deeds. We also got to feed and bathe the elephants and take walks around the huge park to watch them roaming freely and living a safe and happy life as they should.
After an amazing week with the elephants and an awesome new group of friends, I spent two more nights in Chiang Mai. We went to a Muay Thai fight and watched people kick the living daylights out of each other. Somehow I am still planning on doing a Muay Thai training camp for a week, so hopefully I’ll still have a face the next time I write. I also found some delicious craft beer and paid through the nose for it. Worth every penny!
And bugs. If someone could please just eradicate mosquitoes, I don’t even care what the impact on the ecosystem would be. PLEASE JUST KILL THESE EVIL MOTHERF——S.
Oh, and Mexican food and craft beer.