Sunday, May 25, 2014

Travels In Thailand: Trang

Earlier this month I had a teaching gig in Trang.  That's in the southern part of Thailand, the peninsula on the way to Malaysia.  If you know where Phuket island is, move your finger east to the coast, then south, and you get first to Krabi and then to Trang.

It's a nice place, with good weather.  It's not quite as hot as the main body of Thailand, because of the peninsula effect, large bodies of water on both sides of a narrowish strip of land.  It's a beautiful place, with pleasantly shaped green mountains (not very tall) and very nice beaches.  Not many tourists, for some reason.  All of the tourists go to Krabi, right next door.  There are a lot of snakes, bad ones, but you're not likely to run into one unless you are staying way out in the woods. 

There's a sign at the airport that says:

"A warm welcome
with a hospitality
and friendly smile"

Those articles are always trouble for English learners whose native language has no articles.

Dim Sum is breakfast choice number one in the peninsula provinces.  One of my students picked me up to take me to school on the day of my class, and on the way we stopped for breakfast at a good place.  It was a big restaurant, with fifteen tables inside and another fifteen outside, and the Dim Sum was great.  Every table was full.  All of the wait-staff wore uniform t-shirts that said on the back:

"I am server
we served fresh!"

Another case of English, served Thai style.

I stayed in a nice hotel in town, about thirty dollars.  There was hot water not only in the tub, but also in the sink.  The sink part is rare.  The TV was good, about forty channels, but very light on the English.  There was the Universal Channel (the "Law and Order Channel"), SyFy, and two sports channels.  The sports channels were a bust, one seemed to feature only rugby and the other one was showing the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament from the year 2000.  I'm always happy to find SyFy, but really there's almost never anything on SyFy that's worth watching.  A lot of those low-light ghost search shows, "there's something on the other side of the door!"  I got lucky and there was a good movie on the night that I was there to see it.  Most SyFy movies are unspeakable, but this one was pretty good.  Lucky.

Did I say, "not many tourists?"  Really, I've never seen any.  I talked to the only foreigner that I saw, at the 7-11.  She was English, and she was on a one year English teaching contract.  It's strange to me, because Krabi is literally crawling with foreigners.  I stayed there for one night a couple of years ago and the six dollar room had about twenty channels of foreign TV.  Lots of English, CNN, good sports, the Voice of America military/propaganda channel, plus channels in Dutch, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Italian and French.  It was a lot of fun listening to various young foreigners, all European, trying to talk to the manager in English.  The manager could speak English very well, but the tourists only thought that they could speak English.  Pure comedy gold.  That room had no hot water at all, but it was air-conditioned.  They kept the prices down by making the rooms so small that if you got off the bed in any direction you smacked your knees into something.  The TV was hanging on a wall.

I like Trang, the absence of Farang tourists is a big plus for me.  The more Thais know about foreign tourists, the less then like them.  I feel the same, most of these European tourists are young, have little money, and are very impolite.  (Americans can't afford the time or the money to travel.)  It was a good trip. 

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