Yes, this weekly update is a couple of days late. It is also the shortest one yet (although it is also the longest in one aspect).
While last week was mostly one of fun and games — the Old Phuket Town Festival taking up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday plus Valentine’s Day on Thursday — this week (and the next two or three) are going to find me struggling to get things done. Today was one of the biggest Buddhist holidays of the year and most schools were closed (mine was open but I don’t have any classes scheduled on Tuesdays); I spent most of it doing assessment-related tasks at my agency’s office — a taste of the huge amount of paperwork that comes with the end of a school year.
Sunday being my usual day off and the Friday afternoon announcement that local schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday for Chinese New Year — not to mention extremely high temperatures and a huge dip in internet speed caused a great deal of relaxation (err, laziness) at the Jochim household over the past couple of days. The Thais really have the right idea on how to deal with the heat: they sleep through it. I haven’t yet mastered the art of not waking up in a pool of sweat, however.
This third week of the year was a little odd, albeit rather routine.
I didn’t teach very much this past week, which doesn’t really bother me. Living and working in Thailand, you come to expect more cancellations than not. I don’t ever have classes on Tuesdays at the large municipal school where I spend my mid-mornings to early afternoons but I still journeyed to my agency that day in order to teach a two-and-a-half hour lesson in the evening. I was informed five or ten minutes before class time that the student was ill. Wednesday was National Teacher’s Day in Thailand so all the government schools were closed and the students were extremely ill-behaved on Thursday. I was quite strict with them on Friday and they settled down somewhat. My evening student cancelled again on Thursday and a young girl I’ve been teaching for nearly a year now cancelled her Saturday morning lesson. On both of these particular days, the students had cancelled at least a day in advance but nobody thought to inform me to save me the bus trip to the agency. It’s really annoying, but I can always find something to do in the office.
The week of January 7-13, 2019, was fairly active in my little world extending between my home in the heart of Old Town Phuket, Thailand, and a bit west to my office in the bowels of the Central Festival mall smack dab in the center of the island with frequent stops approximately halfway between those two locations on those days that I teach high school in the huge Plukpanya Municipal School. I rarely venture outside of this rather narrow band.
At long last, the silence has been broken! Honestly, I start too many entries in a similar fashion on this blog. The last period of activity stretched from the end of July 2018 until i posted my New Year’s Eve shaky-cam video earlier this week. I haven’t checked but I believe it to have been the longest gap in the history of Asian Meanderings and perhaps going back as far as ‘Burque Blog. Does anybody remember that incarnation?
As the end of 2018 approached, I thought that the best way to rejuvenate what was once my one and only blog was by taking a look at the year that was. I began sorting through photos taken and journal entries written each day in attempts to find something interesting to highlight. There were quite a few blog-worthy happenings throughout the year but I quickly bored of trying to find them and put them into a form that people would actually enjoy reading! I got as far as mid-March before I abandoned the project.
Phuket Town is surrounded by hills and water. The two main hills to the north of downtown are Khao To Sae with the television towers (also nicknamed “Monkey Hill”) and Khao Rang (khao meaning “hill”) with its restaurants and viewpoint. This is the view of Rang Hill from my apartment’s balcony. I hadn’t been to the top in quite some time and decided that I would walk there on a recent day off.
Rang Hill was originally known as Khao Lang. Lang means “back” in the Thai language and this was considered the rear of Phuket Town; the “front” was a place known as “Stone Bridge”, I haven’t yet found its location but assume it was in the area of Suphan Hin. Rang was renovated as a public fitness park in the 1980’s and features a statue of Phraya Ratsadanupradit, the former governor of Phuket known for his roadworks and promotion of the Thai rubber industry. The statue was actually my main reason for wanting to reach the summit.