Days 26 – Tues – 30th June:
I requested a taxi to the study centre before breakfast and the hotel said ok for 9.30am. They have their own car it turns out and one of the hotel staff drove me and then didn’t ask for any money when I tried to pay. This was really nice of them, but I guess I have been there nearly a week and also it was only a five min drive.
So I asked in the office and the lady there directed me to her sisters office across the path. At the door to the second office I was barked at by a cream Labrador type dog. It was guarding the door, I think a lot of Thai people genuinely keep their dogs as guard dogs. The lady came out and laughed. She said it especially didn’t like men and that it look it a few weeks to get used to new students.
She introduced herself as Sherry (this is her nickname not her real Thai name) and asked me what my goals were regarding learning Thai. I explained how felt about it being hard to connect to the people but also that I just wanted some vocabulary to travel with for the rest of my time here (till the 9th Sept).
In the end we decided I should have around 1.5 hrs private lessons each day and then join in with the group class with the other students. The week would cost me 5,000 baht, which is about £92 GBP. This was no more than it would cost me in England and it was something I really wanted to try so I figured it would be worth it.
I went off for around 40 mins to get lunch from a local cafe and to draw money to pay the centre. I also hired a bicycle for a week so I could get to the study centre every day easily.
At 11am I started my first lesson, which actually ended up being around 2 hrs long.
Sherry started with a printout called ‘Lesson One’ and explained the basics of the language.
-Thai has five tones (to say a word correctly you need to use the correct tone, you can still be understood from the context but you may be staying the word incorrectly) for example ‘maa’ means ‘come’ but in another tone it means ‘dog’.
-There are no tenses in Thai and you say ‘today’, ‘yesterday’ etc to determine the tense.
-There are no plurals, you say the number of items rather than adding an ‘s’ for ‘dog’ ‘dogs’, you say ‘one dog’ ‘two dog’ etc
Ok so there are many more rules but it was very interesting but a lot to take in the first time. We also moved onto ‘Lesson 2’ printout and ‘Lesson 9’, with the aim to give me enough info to understand the first group class. She also went through how to pronouce each individual letter.
I also attended the group lesson which was fun and I’m glad that the ‘group lesson’ only has around 3 to 6 people in it so it is still a very tailored learning experience.
In the evening at the hotel I chatted to the Australian family that arrived yesterday. They were off to the full moon party and had been in Thailand for a few weeks already. The son only looked about 15 but I’m guessing maybe he was 18 or 19? But either way in England you wouldn’t go to a party like that with your 40 year old dad! I think it is a lot more causal in Oz though, that is the impression I got from the Australian couple on the Geckos tour (a few weeks ago).
Day 27 – Weds – 1st July:
Today I had my second set of lessons at the language school. I had an early breakfast at 7am and then cycled to the study centre. It only took me 15 mins so I was very early, to kill some time I rode around the lake area for a little while, an area that seems popular for its inflatable obstacle course on the lake.
I cycled round some shacks which were people’s homes and there was a strong but pleasant smell of wood burning.
I had a group lesson from 8-9am and then went back to my hotel and sat and read in my hammock until 3.30pm, when I went off for the 4pm lesson. Directly after I had my private lessons from 6-8pm ish and then Sherry took me to the kitchen and I ate a meal with her and her sister Marie (again a nickname not her Thai name).
One of the foods I tried was bamboo. It was very waterey and not unlike celery, with some stringy chewy bits. I thought it was freshly broken off just above the ground but I have since learnt you have to boil it for several hours to get the soft texture.
They were so friendly and it was very nice for them to host me for dinner. One reason of course it that they are also a Thai cooking school (Cuture & Massage centre) and they always cook more food than can be eaten.
Below are a few pictures that I sole from their official facebook page because I forgot to take my own when I left at the end of the week. You can see the dog in there too!Next up: days twenty-eight and twenty-nine.
Previously: days twenty-four and twenty-five.