Granted, we do not live in the heart of Mexico. There are plenty of tourists, we are forewarned of the spiciness of the food and we have certainly never witnessed any of the dangers that we were pre-warned of. But, we have met Mexicans who are from all over the country, learned conversational Spanish and have not only tasted all the local cuisines, but learned to cook them. We’ve embraced life on Isla Mujeres and here’s our favourite things about it:
1. The mariachi bands that play through the tiny streets attracting hoards of people
2. Waking up to Mexican music turned up so loud that the walls vibrate. Beats the standard alarm and definitely wake you up in a better mood Continue reading →
A year ago today we left home aboard a one way flight to Bangkok. Since then we’ve travelled through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia. It has been without a doubt, the most incredible, exciting, eye-opening and completely insane year of our lives.
Here’s our year in numbers:
1. Total stamps in passports (together): 31
2. Wonders of the world seen: 3
3. Properties stayed in: 72
Christmas 2012, a month before take off. All ready for the year ahead!
1. Reports on the news of shark sightings, cue Jaws soundtrack every single time.
2. The heat. “What’s wrong with the road?!” “It’s melting.”
3. Everyone’s obsession with vegemite
4. The size of the country: “What? You’re in Australia? We’ll have to meet up!” Hmm, so you’re a 68 hour drive away…
5. ‘Mate’ ‘heaps’ ‘sweet eh!’ ‘no dramas’ – still a mega novelty every time we hear them
Undoubtedly this is the best time of our lives, but with the enviable highs comes the inevitable lows. We could never compress all our highs into a top ten, but ironically, some of the ‘worst’ times are the ones we have had the most laughs over. Whilst hiilarious for us now, they were rather stressful at the time. Let this be a warning for all you full mooners out there, most of these happened in Koh Phangan.
1. Being chased in flip flops by dogs frothing and biting at our heels, only for us to fall over, have them sniff us then leave us alone.
2. The ‘sleeper’ bus from Krabi to Bangkok. Every three hours, lights on “everybody off! Off the bus NOW! Wait on road, next bus soon.” An hour later… still no bus.
3. Bed bugs, sunburn and prickly heat. Our constant frantic attempts to scratch made us look like we were doing some kind of hysterical dance wherever we went.
4. The only hotel we’d prebooked and paid for turning out to be a shed. Forced to upgrade to a hut (bigger shed but with bed) for the same price again.
5. So keen in our first few weeks to make friends, we apprehended an ‘unusual character’ for 4 days of our travels and, spurring each other on, worked ourselves into a frenzy whereby we were convinced he was a murderer. Furniture against the door that night. (N.B. there was no evidence to suggest murderous tendencies whatsoever.)
6. Hiring a boat for Charlotte’s birthday, only to discover that it was actually a rowing boat which prior to rental was used as a bin.
7. Our only early night in a hostel, discovering at 3am we were sharing the room with 6 naked Essex boys, who after one was sick in their bed, grabbed everyone’s duvets and switched, playing some kind of vomit-duvet roulette.
As you’re going about your day in Thailand it’s not unusual to come across the odd sign or two. And by odd, we mean odd. You become more and more accustomed to them but some never failed to make us smile. Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Be really careful which student you give the marker pen to when inviting them to draw on the whiteboard
2. If struggling to occupy a child, just give them a stack of paper and scissors
3. If someone brings a puppy to the class, don’t bother trying to salvage any part of your lesson plan
4. Don’t ask the students what they’d like to do next, chances are it has nothing to do with learning English
5. When gesturing enthusiastically with the left hand, don’t forget the right, which is now chucking water over a student’s head
6. Before acting out the word ‘fetch’, decide whether you’re prepared to live the rest of your life having panted like a dog with a pen in your mouth, whilst clambering on the floor in full suit attire
7. Check appearance between classes for marker pen Hitler-esque moustache
8. Don’t pretend to know how to spell something when you don’t
9. Remember to clear the board after class, especially when teaching essential body parts and someone has just asked how to spell ‘nipples’
10. Don’t laugh when hearing a student’s name. ‘Porn’ means ‘blessing’ in Thai and ‘Poo’ means ‘crab’
1. The ground floor is called the 1st, and the 1st floor is called the 2nd
2. When speaking any Thai words, tone of voice is everything – it can change a word from meaning dog to horse!
3. Most restaurants add VAT and service charge onto all list prices
4. The bread is sweet, and the toothpaste is salty
5. The women look ten years younger than they really are, or ten years older
6. Motorcycle-taxis are the only way to travel on the roads at 5pm, the city traffic completely grinds to a halt