Kanchanaburi still and just riffin…

KanchanaburiView outside our room…

(journal excerpt): January 14th or 15th? Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Our last few days in BKK were good.  We met a woman from France working with an organization assisting Burmese refugees and we talked about the situation there and ethical travel.  She invited us to some kind of BUddhist ceremony to honour the teachers of her organization, including her, which will be tomorrow but we already left to come to Kanchanaburi yesterday.  The ride here was better than the last time we were here which was completely miserable and despite the fact I was totally going out on a limb and guessing the name of the place we stayed last time, we drove into the familiar parking lot in the early afternoon.  The place has changed a lot in the past four years and for the first time on our trip, it’s been a change for the better.  Our little room by the river still exists but now has air con and the place is also now outfitted with a swimming pool and wifi.  All for 70B more than we were paying in BKK for, well…a bed.  We were initially disturbed by the presence of mattresses in the sun as we drove in (good indication of bed bugs) and the unfortunate wooden bed frame in our room (also more susceptible to bed bugs) but we passed that initial first nervous night bite free.  Our sitting area outside our room is just as perfect as I remember it, although a lot more overgrown.  Our guesthouse sits on a narrow, shallow canal off the main river (that’s the River Kwai by the way) and we are fortunately separated from the main river by a wide jungle covered sandbar.  I say fortunately because there are only two annoyances to the tranquility here: one, the vacationing Thais and their hideous karaoke barges that float up and down the river and two the rampant and obvious prostitution everywhere.  However, apparently there has been a big crackdown in the karaoke boats recently (can’t say the same about the prostitution, which limits the hours they can cruise up and down the river and to be honest, we rarely hear them.  The prostitution, thankfully,  is mainly unobtrusive.   European men with women at least remotely in the same age bracket and no children or anything like that.  They shack up with them here and play house presumably until they’ve had enough of one another and then go on their respective separate ways or in the case of the couple in the room by the pool today, have a massive blow out fight and scream at each other until one checks out.  However, luckily our room is not by the pool, it’s by the canal and so apart from the occasional boat, it’s perfectly serene.

KanchanaburiView of canal and jungle-y sandbar

We have a coconut and papaya tree on the banks, shallow water with koi and other fish and a million chattering frogs at night.  It is a bird lovers paradise with an innumerable amount of strange jungle birds, some that sound like cats and another which sounds like a metronome…

…if we don’t want to sit by our room we can go upstairs by the pool where it is so beautiful.  The whole area is basically a garden with orchids of nearly every colour, frangipani, coconut and jasmine trees.  In the jasmine above the lounge chair at the pool, a little dove has a nest and every once in a while she adjusts herself and jasmine fall down from the tree.  Yes, it’s that sickeningly perfect…

KanchanaburiMore view of canal outside our room…

January 16, 2012-Slightly hazy morning here in Kanchanaburi and it poured rain yesterday for about an hour.  The mornings right now seem to start off cloudy and burn of throughout the day.  I don’t know if it was the weather or all the junk food I’ve been eating but I felt pretty shitty yesterday evening, mentally speaking.  I think it is also because I have another Skype interview with a Japanese company today and it’s made me feel weird.  Not at all nervous or anything like that, but just weird because it feels strange to try to prepare for a future that I don’t even know if it exists.  I guess that’s what we are always doing though, isn’t it? I am trying to get comfortable with uncertainty as Pema says.  This should be a good lesson for me…

KanchanaburiOrchids!

January 17, 2012-Sitting in the restaurant after breakfast-tummy not the greatest yesterday and today.  Too much spicy food I think.  I’ve had red curry three days in a row and then I topped it off with the spiciest glass noodle salad I’ve ever had.  Had a western breakfast of omelette and toast and really turned off eggs and fish lately in general.  Maybe I’m reading too many books on Veganism.  Had the Skype interview yesterday and got positive response back within an hour.  Basically what I got was provisional acceptance for a position in Japan.  What that means now is that after I email them back a form agreeing to some points (kind of a preliminary contract), they send my profile out to some suitable schools and then come back to me with an offer from a school board somewhere which I will either then accept or decline.  I should be elated about this.  An ALT job is exactly the kind of teaching job I was applying for and hoping to get but we aren’t 100% sure if we are going back to JP or not so I am happy but reserved.  Not to mention, because it’s a provisional acceptance, I’m not yet sure what the actual offer will end up being and if I’ll like it.  SO what I’ve decided to do is send back the paperwork tonight and wait for the job proposal.  As even my interviewer said and of course I know, I’m under no obligation to take it if it is not what I am looking for.  But as far as a job goes, it looks pretty good on paper at the moment …(removal of boring details)….a bit different than what I was doing there last time, that’s for sure…something to think about…

 KanchanaburiThis pool (at our guesthouse) is shaped like a wiener and b’s…seriously.

January 23, 2012-Monday again and still no reply to my JP email.  I’ve actually decided to stop caring or at least to start telling myself I don’t care.  If it is meant to be it will happen but at the moment I’m sceptical.  Still in K.Chan and although little happens from day-to-day, a lot is happening in terms of our travel planning or at least a lot has to happen very shortly as we only have 13 days left on our Thai visa.  We have, not entirely, but mostly, abandoned our plans to go to Laos for now.  Perhaps abandoned entirely for this trip.  I know it sounds awful but we are just not in the mood for the getting there at the moment.  Our options for getting to Luang Prabang from Chiang Mai have not been very attractive to us but we are still looking into it.  One option is to fly into LP on Lao Airlines (dubious reputation at best, although apparently not horrible and only 1 hour!) but it’s over $300 on the dates we have been checking.  For a one hour flight, this is ridiculous and they pretty much have the monopoly as far as I can tell.  Option 2 involves lengthy land based travel and a two-day horrible sounding slow boat with an overnight stop over in a nameless riverside village (okay, it has a name but …) Option 3 is the fast boat-allegedly terrifyingly dangerous (they make you wear a helmet!?) and notoriously overcrowded.  So Laos isn’t really selling us so far.  We aren’t the type to do the package tour thing, I won’t be getting up at the crack of dawn in LP to line up with the hordes of other tourists to take photos of the monks collecting alms and I have no desire to go tubing in Vang Vieng with all the pissed up gap year twats (sorry, that’s harsh but the truth).  Laos has a tonne more to see other than that, but perhaps our time is better spent elsewhere for now.  We’ve started calling all our alternative plans and ideas “just riffin'” to amuse ourselves and stop ourselves from going crazy.  Don’t ask me why.

“Just riffin’ but we could go to Chiang Mai by overnight train and then come back to BKK and travel overland into Cambodia…”

“Just riffin’ but we could go to Chiang Mai, come back to BKK and get a visa for Vietnam and go back to HCM and Mui Ne for surfing…”

So far we have no less than 5 “just riffin’s…some of them more likely (go to Vietnam) and some of them just totally out there: “Just riffin’ but uhh..we could fly to Paris for a month, rent a flat and then go to JP from there!” This one is particularly tempting except there goes ALL our money in one month and umm…it’s January and I have tank tops and fisherman pants…just riffin’...sorry, I know this is funny only to us…

KanchanaburiFrangipani, wilting in the heat…mmm my favourite smell…

I’m trying to approach this all with graditude.  More: “the world is our oyster-we are so lucky!” than: “Oh my god, what the hell are we doing?!?!”  We like staying here and could stay here for months probably, but our visa situation means we have to plan somewhat.  This one is expiring February 6th and if we go to Vietnam we’ll need a few days to apply, plan and wait and it is also Chinese New Year today which makes the flights go up, things get busier etc.  One thing I have learned though is when we try to plan too much, things tend to backfire or change so it’s a good lesson on being flexible and open to possibilities.  But wow, lots of internet research to do tonight on flights and whatnot.  Stay tuned…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s