Ban Phe pronounced: Ban Pay, small fishing village on the Gulf coast of Thailand in the Rayong province.
After nearly 2 weeks enjoying myself in Pattaya it was time to say goodbye. I had a great time there and became a regular at one of the bars. The weather was bad during the entire stay so any island hopping was off limits as the waters were too rough for ferries. Pattaya was my last vacation stop before coming here and I did it proper, often finding myself awake at sunrise and asleep most of the day. There might have been a romance in there somewhere too. Hey, I deserved a few weeks of this right? I spent the better part of 4 years keeping myself pretty disciplined and now I got to let loose. But, it’s back to school now.
I booked a taxi to Ban Phe to head straight to TEFL International/Siam English Language School. Students are allowed to check into their rooms the Saturday prior so I wanted to make sure I was there so I could get acquainted. I was the first to arrive, which was good because there are only a few select rooms with a window and a balcony. The room for the month was included in my payment for the course. There are 7 students in this course which is great. So far, I’ve only met 4 others; two young British guys, who have already become study mates, an older British gentleman and a woman from New Zealand. There are two other guys that we haven’t seen yet.
The town of Ban Phe is just a small fishing village and a spot where tourists take the ferry across to the island of Ko Samet. There are very few tourists around the beaches here and it is real quiet. There are plenty or bars and restaurants so there will be no lack of spots to let off a bit of steam after a long day in the classroom. A couple of us went out to a few bars last night as a last night of letting loose before the course begins. There is an orientation tonight (Sunday) and then the class begins tomorrow morning at 8:30am. Staying at the school is great because there is no need to wake up early to commute. We can just roll out of bed 15 minutes before class and start learning. There is a midmorning break, a 1.5 hour lunch and then an afternoon break. The day ends between 3:45-4pm depending whether or not we’re out at a Thai school.
There are a few students from last month’s class still hanging around and they said it is very intensive but also a lot of fun. The week will be busy with lots of lesson planning and homework but they did say that it’s possible to have free weekends if we get our work done in the class and in the evenings during the week. This is good news because the Thai New Year is right in the middle of the course and is a huge celebration of water fights in the street. We may even head out to Ko Samet or back to Pattaya if time and workload permits. (By the way, two elephants just walked by while I write this)
So far I’m still not sure what to expect. You can only take what others say with a grain of salt because each experience is different. I do know I’m really excited to get it started and end all the speculation on what this is going to be like. I’m home here in Ban Phe for the rest of the month. My room is simple and the shower doesn’t work in my room so I have to use the cold water one in the hallway. The toilet leaks and doesn’t flush very well. There is no TV and no desk, but at least I have a window.
I’ll update as often as possible with a day by day description of what is going on. If it gets too much to write I’ll just clump days together and give an overview.