Peter Quest of www.lovelyplanettv.com tries out his skills as a volunteer English Teacher at the UV English Club in Trat, South East Thailand
Peter takes a look around a few of the local beaches near Trat in South East Thailand with my friends Thip and Yohann.
Most tourists and backpackers hardy spend much time in the town of Trat in the south east corner of Thailand near the border with Cambodia. They come through the town to catch the boat to Koh Chang or one of the many other beautiful islands nearby. But the quiet town of Trat has more than a handful of bars, hotels and hostels catering for the traveler. It`s also surounded by some magificent tropical countryside and there is a lake nearby. Peter Quest of Lovely Planet TV takes you on a little sighseeing tour with Meaw, owner of the UV English Club and Thip, one of the clubs adult students. Also in this video, Peter explains why the Thai`s have little spirit houses outside many of their homes.
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Peter`s update from Trat, Thailand. Wednesday 20 May. Local Time 11.50am.
Well... it looks like facebook has well and truly scuppered my profile as the won`t accept my ID and the account remains locked. So I`ve now reverted to my old Peter Quest profile and have now tied it to this website and the lovely planet tv twitter page. It`s a long story why I had two PQ profiles but there is a genuine reason for it and to be honest, it`s a good job I had another one to fall back on. Not nearly as many friends on it tho but hopefully it will increase in time.
Anyway... it`s another hot and humid day here in Trat but we had a little rain this morning. The rainy season is approaching, by the way, so I`ve got that experience to come. Fortunately Trat has a lake and a good drainage system so I don`t think I`m in any danger of flooding here. Time will tell.
This morning I cooked an English breakfast for Meaw (the owner of the English Club where I`m staying for now), Yohann (one of the volunteer teachers here), Thip (one of our adult Thai lady stedents), Magda (a Polish friend of Meaw`s and local English teacher here) and myself. It`s ages since I cooked one but all went well and I think it was enjoyed by all. I forgot to buy some bacon though but the sausages were big ones so there was plenty on the plate.
Needless to say we`re all petty full up right now. I was however just about to do the washing up. But I see Thip and Meaw are over by the sink so I may as well leave it to them. :)))))))))
At the UV ENGLISH CLUB in Trat, Thailand. From left to right... Yohann (France), Braxton (USA), Peter (UK), Sandra (Sweden/Egypt).
Lovely Planet TV`s Peter arrives in Trat, Thailand and takes in a little look around.
Join Peter Quest of Lovely Planet TV on a bus journey from Phnom Penh to Koh Kong in Cambodia and then on to the Thai Border. (Part One of Two. In the next video, Peter arrives in Trat)
Today I met Meaw for the very first time.
She`s the founder of the UV English Club here in Trat in South East Thailand. And what a delightful lady she is. Her English is superb and after a half hour or so chat about this and that, she took one of the other volunteers here, Sandra from Sweden, and I out for lunch to a local restuarant. We even met a few of the locals. She then took us on a little journey in her car around the beautiful countryside which is easily accecssable as Trat is a smallish town.
The local countryside is wonderful with a lake surrounded by tropical plants, the odd restuarant dotted about, a few Thai homesteads and a magnificent Thai Temple on a hill overlooking the town.
Meaaw suggested that I can take the pushbike anytime I wanted to cycle around the lake which is great news as I can already see a video unfolding in this lush green tropical paradise.
The town itself is fairly small with not many tourists as most of them just come here enroute to one of the nearby islands, just off the nearby coast. And the locals seem friendly. Well, this is Thailand, afterall.
I already feel at home here, whch is always a good start and have spoken with Meaw about how I can assist in various roles here, including making a film about the English Club, designing a website and, of course, the odd informal English lesson for the locals.
Also, when I arrived here early this afternoon, I recognised the guy who was giving a one to one lesson to one of the mature adult students who attends the club. I had met with Johan from France on a previous occasion, just a few weeks ago, at a hostel in Bangkok.
It`s a small world.
I think I`m going to like it here! In Trat, South East Thailand, just over the border from Cambodia. A bit of a shaky start as you`ll see in my forthcoming video of the trip here from Phnom Penh.
Quite a sizable town but quite with few tourists
However, I`ve found a bar called the Seahouse Cafe. A bar, come restuarant, come art gallery. Quite a quirky little place. And live music too! Caught an accoustic music set over a spicy Thai curry and a beer early this evening.
If all goes well at the English Club here when I introduce myself tomorrow, I reckon the Seahouse Cafe will be a regular haunt for me during my short stay here.
Watch out for the video about my journey here and why I ended up in a 600 baht hotel for the night instead of a 300 baht hostel. Coming soon.
What are the chances of meeting someone in a village in rural Cambodia from a small town in the UK you had lived in? Previous to living in Darlington in the North East of England, I spent many years living in a town nearby called Stockton On Tees. Imagine my amazement when, just before leaving the CPOC Orphanage on Friday afternoon, a guy, Lenny, arrived to volunteer who lives in Stockton. It really is a small world!
Today I`ve been sitting for most of the day in a pleasant bar, open to the street and so watching the world go by, in a busy, mainly touristy area of hot and sticky down town Phnom Penh.
I arrived back here last night having spent a week at the orphanage a couple of hours south of here in rural Cambodia and spent most of the evening in the company of the delightful Lenka form the Chezch Republic who had also been at the orphanage and was now on her way to Siem Reap for a few days and then on to a beach resort in Thailand. She left for her bus at about 8.30 this morning after we had breakfast in this very same bar.
Shortly after she left I came back here this morning with my laptop to do some work but before I could open it, I noticed a European looking guy with fairly long, white, turning grey hair stood talking to one of the girls behind the bar. I think he struck up the conversation first.
Udo Konig is from Northern Germany. He is 72 years old, looks a little to me like Richard Branson and has lived a fascinating life.
In our 3 hour conversation over a beer or two this morning he told me about his travels, his work, his life. Little, often amusing, stories about his experiences in the Amazon, in Dubia, in the United States, in Vietnam, where he now lives with his young Vietnamese girlfriend, and in many other countries. I warmed to him immediately.
It turns out Udo is an architect. He has designed projects the world over, from Sports Stadiums to Univesities and from Airports to luxury resort developments in Dubia. He says everytime he went back home to Germany as a younger man they wanted him to join the army so he kept escaping and eventually didn`t go back there until he was older.
His reason for being here in Phnom Penh was to meet up with former colleagues at a local office but it was a public holiday here, of which there are many, and so he wasn`t meeting them until Monday morning when they returned from their families to work in the city.
And this is another one of the many reasons I adore this travelling lifestyle. You`re never lonely. You meet and have conversations with fascinating people as well as the many likeminded travellers from all over the world.
But it`s not all a bed of roses for me over here in South East Asia. In fact the last 48 hours or so has certainly provided it`s far share of disasters. But you learn to deal with any problems you encounter. You have to. You learn to accept the squat style loo`s, the flies, the style of food which occasionally looks unpalitable, the often humble way of life we sometimes take for granted in the west.
The first probem I encounted recently was at an ATM which I had to travel around 10 miles to visit in the next village to where I`d been staying in rural Cambodia.
Everything appeared to be going to plan. The cash machine whirred away as it counted the $70 I`d asked for, spat my card out and even gave me a reciept. But where was my money? I waited a while but all was now silent. As far as the ATM was concerned, it had done its job and I`d drawn $70 out of my account. But of course I hadn`t.
Needing an injection of cash, I made a second attempt with fingers crossed. With much relief, this time the cash machine injected my cash out of the slot.
When I got back to base and looked online at my account, I was not suprised to see that the bank in question had indeed registered both transactions so I am now $70 plus $5 transaction fee (approx £50 in total) out of pocket with little I can do about it. Redress would be with the bank where the ATM was situated and this being in rural Cambodia there was little chance in communicating my problem to anyone at the bank. So, I guess I`ll just have to live with it.
My next problem occured when I fell over a couple of times. Once whilst getting up from one of those old style desks at the orphanage. It was getting dark and I had forgotten about the peice of wood that attaches the desk to the bench seat at each end. I tripped over it and landed on the floor with a thud. Getting up I saw that I`d took a small chink of skin out of my right wrist. And then, the following day, I slipped on the wet tiled floor whilst attempting to squat above the hole of the orphanage toilet and grazed my leg just below the knee. Both incidents could have been worse but I have made a mental note to be more careful. I certainly don`t want to have to end my adventure due to a careless accident.
The final problem I had concerned my facebook account. And if you`re reading this on facebook as opposed to my reading it on my website, you`ll know I`ve got it sorted.
Due to a problem with my laptop, I had to perform a recovery operation which meant I had to download a new browser. When I attempted to log into my facebook account, up popped a message from facebook warning me that my account may have been hacked. Rather than asking me to answer security questions, the only way to unlock my account would be to download and send to them a copy of an official photo document proving my identity such as my passport or driving licence. Well, there was no way I was prepared to do that. The only other option, according to this facebook message, was to log in using a previously used browser. Well, mine was no longer availalable becuase of the recovery. How then could I do that?
Then I remembered that back in the UK, my friend Gill had a computer at her home that I regularly used to log into facebook before I came to S E Asia. I skyped her and have arranged for her to log into my account from the UK computer... Will it work?
I`ll know in about 5 hours time when I again skype my friend Gill in the UK.
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