Tonight’s “Sunday Salon” will be rather short as I’m using the laptop on battery power with about an hour’s charge left (the guesthouse in which I’m staying tonight has two-pronged outlets while my computer’s plug is three-pronged). It’s been a whirlwind couple of days and I’m currently staying in a historic Sino-Portuguese shophouse on Thalang Road in the heart of Phuket Town. In fact, Sin & Lee’s — Phuket’s first grocery is right next door. More on my lodgings a bit later.
The big news is that I start work tomorrow. Originally, I was scheduled to teach six lessons tomorrow but the school director wisely decided that we should meet in the early afternoon and then I can tour the school and observe a class or two before committing. This will give me a bit of additional time to prepare (and find out exactly where in the syllabus the previous teacher had reached. This all came about through a telephone call I received last night while in Chalong looking for apartments. It was only by sheer luck that the phone rang when we’d stopped to ask for directions or I would not have heard the ring. I met with the agency director earlier today, right before paying my former landlord for the privilege of leaving ye olde house of no water and iffy electricity.
Let’s backtrack a bit more while I still have some battery power. As of this past Thursday I was still a bit undecided as to what my plans would be for July. Should I find a less expensive apartment and make a last-ditch effort for Phuket-based employment or should I just quit the island and head for Hat Yai? I decided I could at least start looking and my frequent “chauffeur” offered to drive me to Rawai and see what was on offer in that area. It’s become much more built-up than the last time I’d visited — there are plenty of new condominiums and fancy shophouses going up as well as many more bars than I remember. Of course, the old after-hours dance hall, Laguna, is still looking it’s sad old self sitting alongside a no-name hotel I lovingly call the “Bates Motel” after the run-down place in Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. Our primary target was the nearby Rawai Condotel but the rents were double what I’d previously heard. We then drove down numerous side lanes, made a pit stop or two, and eventually wound up dining at The Deli in Kathu (see my review).
In preparation for a possible move, I’d been slowly packing small boxes as a friend had offered to store them for me. Late in the week, I accepted my ex-wife’s offer of some help. She arranged for her daughter and son-in-law to provide the use of their pickup truck and they finally showed up just before midnight Friday night — the constant downpour we’d been experiencing stopped just long enough to load up the pickup truck and take them to my friend’s apartment. He’d offered to let me sleep on his floor for up to a week until I could figure out where to go but unfortunately had to cancel this in the middle of this move because an unexpected guest appeared at his doorstep, forcing a new plan for the following day.
Saturday began late. I didn’t call my friend early because he usually teaches private lessons until noontime on Saturdays. Our first stop was Head Start School where the Navy League was holding their annual American Independence Day celebration. Soon after arriving we ran into my two of my favorite teachers from my old school. Neal and Chynkee, both from The Philippines, were there with their lovely daughter. I also talked to a few parents of my former students and I bought an outstanding beef taco and chicken buritto for 50 bath each (they were the tastiest Mexican food I’ve had since leaving Albuquerque!). I believe we left the picnic shortly after two o’clock and finally headed to Phuket Town to start the apartment search.
[To be continued tomorrow from an internet cafe or after I find my electrical adapter…]