Traveling Asia as an English teacher

Born in Napier, New ZealandA1977
Graduated Art History and Film at university
Traveling around Asian country as an English teacher.
He says "Teaching English" is a great way to learn a lot about other cultures and different ways of life.

Travering Thailand - Bargain System!

After two months living in upcountry Thailand, I thought I had gained privileged status among the Thais because I could ask gTao rai krup (how much is it)h and could count up to one hundred.

The lessons can be harsh in this phase as you think that because you can knock out a few phrases, you are nowgsemihone of them and of course beyond rip-off-able status.

Reality check iddy check check ? this is the phase when youfll get ripped off the most, because although the Thais are generally good natured Buddhists, they are not adverse to reaping the harvest of their good karma.

Any gift from omnipresent Buddha may take any form at any time and it may just be this gnarly farrang (westerner) or non-Thai Asian who has come their way.

I make Thailand sound ruthless, which I make no apologies for because in many ways it is the reason I loved the place.

We all have our comfortable lives we can go back to but these are real people out there hustling for what they can get and maybe the extra money they got from ripping you off will go on beer, but so what. Wouldnft you do the same? I would and this is the key to understanding it, putting yourself in their grimy flip flops.

In Thailand, if you stray off the beaten path then you really are a novelty. A stop at one of the convenience stores offers a real sample of the Thai character. When I say convenience store, Ifm not talking about ubiquitous g7/11h more the low key stores you find at the side of the road. This is illustrated in, for example, a cycle tour of Ayuthaya. Entering the store you will be greeted by shy smiles, giggles and curiosity. Thais never assume that you know any Thai language unless they hear you speak any. A well pronounced hello gsawatdee krup (men) or sawatdee ka (woman)h may give them the impression that you are fluent.

Otherwise, they will either pull out the trusty Casio calculator or use articulate sign language to let you know how much you owe. After lashings of laughter and enough smiles to justify Thailand as being the only country by a country mile worthy of the title gThe Land of Smiles,h you are on your way.

Thai people, like most South East Asians are generally gentle and kind but there is a factor that creates an environment conducive to rip-offs and deceit ? poverty with a capital P. One way to get beyond this is to head upcountry. The best experiences that I had were in the small towns well off the beaten track.

I recommend spending some time in Issan (the north east) where tourists are rare. You will find a culture that has basically remained the same for the last 30 years. I also recommend a place called Ubon Ratchatarni. It is close to Laos (30 km to the border) and the people are the friendliest that I experienced in Thailand.

If possible, try to be there for the candle festival in late July. Monks carve giant intricate sculptures from wax that are paraded along the streets of Ubon. This marks the official beginning of the Buddhist lent where good Buddhists stop drinking and men in their early 20fs enter the monastery for monk hood.