Angry Birds: The Fad

If you’re coming to Thailand to teach English – bring anything Mickey Mouse or Angry Bird related. They LOVE that shit!

At a parent presentation, I (and my fellow TEFL teachers) had to watch about 80 kids for a couple hours while their parents got schooled and ate a posh dinner. I saw at least 3 of the same Angry Birds shirts being worn by kids. And probably a couple more that were not matching, but still Angry Bird related.
If you ask kids what their favorite cartoon is… most likely they’ll say Angry Birds! Or Mickey Mouse.

It’s not just the kids – it’s the adults too! On my first day in Thailand I saw a guy wearing a huge Angry Birds tshirt. In a tuk-tuk the other day, I noticed a woman wearing a polka-dot dress with a mickey emblem on the front… upon a closer look, the polkadots were actually mini-Mickeys. Then she left the tuk tuk and it was a giant Mickey on her back also!

I gave a class of 12(between ages 6-8) the option of choosing between Angry Birds, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, and Harry Potter.

Hello Kitty – 0 (even though one of the little girls was wearing the necklace!)
Harry Potter – 2 (one of the boys copied the other)
Mickey Mouse – 4 (again, a couple of them just copied what I drew on the board)
Angry Birds – 7! (The last kid didn’t put anything at all because he was trying to get away with napping)

Don’t underestimate the power of the Angry Birds! (Kids can draw them exceptionally as well)

 angry birds for dinner?

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Thai Thaime

I now live in Surat Thani, Thailand. ((For those who haven’t caught on.. the ‘th’ is pronounced like a regular ‘T’))

Originally, my housing situation (set up by the school I was hired by) consisted of 2 English brothers and myself in a sweet house. Another American girl decided to stay at the house as well in a make-shift room. It’s cool for now.

Upon arrival, I went up to my room and was greeted with my welcome/birthday presents: an angry birds balloon (which I think will last forever), a clock with the Thai King, and a small bag of horrible gummy bears. Written on the plastic around the clock was the following:

Now you can tell Thaime!

Brilliant! And thus, I have adopted this fun saying into my blog’s title. And I use ‘thai’ in words as often as possible, ie: Both teams finished the race, it was a thai! I think I’m hysterical… others disagree.

The Flight

My flight situation was ridiculous.

I came over from Florida so I knew it was going to have a few legs of the trip. I didn’t get hired by my school until two weeks before I was supposed to be there. Naturally that was going to make the flight expensive. I also purchased my tickets one way.

Faregeek.com and kayak.com had some of the better deals to purchase tickets all together. However, the layovers were in places I was advised not to go to (Bahrain, for example). So I opted for the direct purchase instead.

The first ticket I bought was from Singapore Air. It leaves JFK on Tuesday night at 8:35pm, layover in Frankfurt for 2 hours, layover in Singapore for 3 hours, lands me in Bangkok on Thursday 11am(Thai time). It was rumored to be a fantastic airline I figured it’d be comfortable for the long legs. My WellsFargo bank wouldn’t let me purchase the ticket though because it was international and I hadn’t forewarned them I was buying the ticket. Chase was okay on the purchase.

My second ticket was Delta from MCO to JFK on Tuesday at 2:52pm. $123 one way with a 3 hour layover (enough time to get my bags switched and get to my gate)

Third ticket was with Thai Airways from Bangkok to Surat Thani (where I am staying). It was about 2,660B (aka $85 USD). The layover was 7 hours (11am Thursday until 6pm Thursday) though and that was going to suck.

Naturally I got the emails saying ‘Check in online!’ but I ignored them because I wasn’t sure how many bags I was going to have with me until the morning I left.
At MCO, I checked in with Delta and they said they can send my bags all the way to Bangkok since Singapore Air was a partner airline. However, they could not check me in with Singapore. They said not to worry because I had 3 hours in JFK and I will have plenty of time to check in at the airport.

My 2:52pm flight on Tuesday to JFK was delayed 30 minutes. 3:20 comes along and suddenly departure isn’t until 4:30pm. This was going to cut it close to my next flight but they said Dont worry, you’ll make it on time. We will have a car waiting to get you to your gate and the plane will wait for you. (So sweet, right?)
That 4:30pm departure shows up and now the departure is going to be around 5pm.. but nobody has even boarded the plane. So they send all of us that have connecting flights at JFK on another flight. We get there and I RUSH off the plane and practically run (with my 30lbs of carryon) to the check in counter.

Nobody is there. A lady said told me to try going to the gate directly. I head to the gate and encounter the security checkpoint. The lady says ‘Sorry but go to the checkin desk.’ Obviously that doesn’t work. By some crazy chance, a Singapore Air person comes around radios the plane to see if they can wait. But I am not on their list. At all. I have not checked in. “You must checkin 2 hours before departure.” What. a. bitch. I told her I tried but Delta was delayed and caused me to miss it. She says “Go see delta. You’re not getting on this flight.” – My heart falls to my feet.

There was still 45 minutes before the plane was technically leaving so I ran to Delta and tried to talk to reps. They said ‘We cant help you get on the plane. You should have gotten here with enough time planned.’ I informed that fukker that I was late because of DELTA! So “supervisor” comes over and says “We have a flight tonight with Delta at 10:55 to Amsterdam, then straight to bangkok. I’ll get you on that flight.” Liar. Singapore Air will not relinquish the ‘rights’ or ‘control’ of the ticket to Delta and therefore I had to wait until the next Singapore flight left.. which was 8:35pm the next day. I begged and pleaded and he said “Let me get you a hotel room and food vouchers.” Well what about my Thai Airways flight that I’m not missing because of Delta? “Here’s the number, give them a call.”

I cry as I call my family to let them know I’ve missed the flight. ((Side note: I had planned on getting to Thailand on a thursday because my birthday was Saturday and I didnt want to be jet-lag-hungover. My birthday plans were looking shabby now. And YES i tried to use the birthday excuse and they didn’t play on it))

I found my way to the hotel in 44F NYC (in my florida capris and tank top with barely a sweater). I check in around 10:45pm and head to my room. The door wont open. They give me another key and it still wont open. A security guy comes up and opens the door and reprograms the whole thing. I go to order room service and all food at the hotel ceases service at 11pm. I finally look at my breakfast and lunch food vouchers.. Each for $6. HELLLL NO. I couldn’t get a pretzel for $6! This is New York people!

After a bit more crying, my awesome attorney brother gets on the phone with Delta to see if they can help rectify the situation. Even the rep said it was bullshit that I had a $6 voucher for food. She told me there was another Delta flight at 2pm the next day and to go into JFK and talk to a Delta rep in the morning.
((As it happens, my “brother”/awesome pilot friend Andrew happened to be at JFK the next morning, so he was my breath of fresh air for the day. We had a lovely cup of coffee together before the rest of the chaos began))
*Taking a breather here.. it’s stressful just recalling it*

So, I arrived at JFK around 10am to see Andrew. Around 10:45am I head upstairs to the Delta desk to speak to a ‘red coat’ aka a supervisor who was supposed to know about my situation and help me out. Instead, a nice lady asks to help me until the red coat shows up. I tell her the situation and show her the ‘ticket’ (aka piece of paper with a bunch of numbers printed on it). She pulls up the ticket number and it was for the flight with singapore the night before. Then she pulls up my ‘file’ and says ‘Oh you were supposed to be on the flight to amsterdam last night’. I almost flipped.But she can offer me another food voucher. She prints it out and it’s for $7.   She says ‘Go find a singapore rep in arrivals and see if they will give us the rights to the ticket.’ So I go downstairs and the singapore lady says ‘We cannot help you.’ I said ‘Delta said you will’ She says ‘What? Do you WANT to pay thousands of dollars more to switch your ticket? You cannot just wait until the flight you’re supposed to be on tonight?’ I explained the situation and she sent me back to delta desk and they said ‘not our problem, talk to singapore’. I go back and shehands me a walkie-talkie and asks me to speak with David, the Singapore rep. I said, let me talk to him in person. 20 minutes later he shows up and explains that it is not their concern that I missed my flight. Go back to Delta. So I go back upstairs on the verge of tears and the lady says ‘Let me grab a redcoat for you.’ The redcoat says ‘I’ll be right back. I have to find this lady a wheelchair.’ That was about 12:30pm.
At 1:15pm I ask nice-delta-lady Crystal if she has seen him. She says no and calls the delta office. He went into training at 2 and wont be back. But if another one comes along she’ll send them my way. At this point, I’m not going to be on the Delta 2pm flight. So, I continue to sit. And wait. And sit, and wait etc. about 3pm a “supervisor” comes over to talk to me. She says I may as well wait until the singapore flight. But she can offer me another food voucher. She prints it out and it’s for $10. Now I’m up to $29 in food vouchers.. a proper meal at least. I explained the Thai Airways situation and she hands me the phone to speak to the Thai Air rep. He says ‘Dont cancel the flight because there’s a chance you can still make it.” Okay, this guy is a fucking idiot too. No point in that.. I’ll just eat that one. After much haggling and useless banter about my situation and how Delta can do nothing but offer me food vouchers, I finally get 2 $100 delta vouchers. As if I want to fucking fly with those assholes again. By now it’s 4pm and I haven’t eaten since the day before.

I go downstairs and enjoy a petit filet and a glass of wine. With proper food in my stomach, I’ll be a little less emotional and bit more sensible. All I have to do now is check-in with Singapore and I’m on my way.
At the check in counter they all know about me and my situation. Rather than offer an upgrade or a way to help me out, they stick me in an exit row with a window. I love windows, not a fan of exit rows: you cant keep your carry-on with you. The check-in girl says ‘I’ll block out the seat next to you so you have space.’ The rep says ‘No. You cant do that for her.’ What. a. bitch. The rep also says they can only get my bags to Bangkok since I don’t have a flight to Suratthani official anymore. After more attitude about how it was MY fault for missing the flight the night before, I get my ticket and walk away before I say something that will embarrass me. (It’s hard not to say ‘fuck you’ every few minutes after being in the airport since 10am waiting for an 8:35pm flight).

Just before my flight, I treated myself to an airport chair massage. It wasn’t bad. But it was much deserved after that fucking hell of two days.
I board the flight and two large french ladies sit next to me and take over whatever space is left between us. The adorable little boy behind me is playing a recorder/flute. His dad somehow manages to pry it away and just before take-off, little boy says “If I was a airplane driver, I’d get us into a crash.” Brilliant child. He also asks repeatedly if we are going to go past the boom (sonic boom, i assume?) and will we be able to fly to the moon? Also..apparently this plane should fit 1,479 people. He was cute. He was especially cute because he fell asleep about an hour into the flight. His dad also tried to hit on me a few times. Old German man. (No thanks).

The rest of the flight was fine. The food was exceptional on Singapore. There were cool individual tv screens to watch movies and tv shows, play games, listen to music, etc. I played poker a bit.


I watched a few movies, and got maybe a few hours asleep. I changed in Frankfurt, the flight to Singapore was 12 grueling hours. Again, good food, watched movies, slept a bit here n there. Singapore airport was fine. Tried to call Thai Air or Asia Air to book a flight to Surat Thani. Didn’t work.
Upon arrival in Bangkok I found my way to Air Asia and got a flight for 2pm.  I hung around Bangkok airport for a few.

Got my flight to Surat (the seats are so small that I couldn’t even fit in them.. i’m 5’2″. and there literally was no leg room. the asshole in front of me leaned back and i lost feeling in my legs.).

And here I am. In Thailand at last.

 

Feet

Everyone’s favorite area to get massage. It’s probably the most requested area (aside from happy ending areas) to massage.
And I hate them.
Feet are dirty and often neglected.

There are so many disgusting stories about people and their feet. But I’m only going to share one that is short and sweet.

Of course, being from orlando I worked for a very popular mouse… Correction: worked on property. People from all over the world come here and walk around with their heavy backpacks and obese children and the overly clunky strollers. Naturally a massage is what they want. But few consider when booking the massage that it takes forever to get to the spa on a mouse-bus.
To boot (heeehee: boot-feet? Get it?), this couple is running late. They have been at Animal Kungdom all day and booked an hour massage plus 30min reflexology. After showing up nearly 30 min late they rush to drop their monster sized bags in the massage room rather than the locker area provided. Mr Whateverman is on the table and expressing how excited he is to get this massage. “We’ve been at Animal Kungdom since 9am. Sorry we are late. We came straight from the park”.
Me: no shit Sherlock. I can smell the rhino and bird crap on you “oh wow! Long day, huh?”
Mr Whateverman: “yea. Do you mind just working a few minutes on the back then focus on feet?”
Me: of course! (enter Disney smile)

After less than a minute of massaging his back I notice my hands are feeling dirty. His back is covered in the chunks of the mixture of dirt, sweat, and lavender massage oil. I literally had to wipe him down with washcloths. More than one. Each effleurage stroke rubbed the dirt off his nasty back onto my precious hands. (If you don’t understand then put some sunscreen on your arms or legs and go camping then rub your skin before your shower and see what peels off. )
After his darling back massage I pulled the sheets back from his feet. (I literally had to pause writing this just now because the memory of his feet is so appalling).
The bottom of his feet were black. Not just a little dirt. It looked as if he walked around Animal Kungdom’s shitpile wearing charcoal socks in shoes with freshly painted black soles.
The smell emanating from it caused me to silently gag.
I used without exaggeration 10 wet/warm washcloths just to clean his feet. Two of the cloths I had poured lavender and peppermint oils onto. The first half of the foot massage was just cleaning his feet. I think I started to actually massage them when I reached a pale pinkish gray hue.
I sat as far as I could reach from the feet.
I don’t recall the rest of the massage or if mr Whateverman liked it. But please people: do not go to Animal Kungdom in flip flops for 9 hours then go straight into a massage. Take a damn shower. Or at the very least clean your feet.

PreThailand

You’re moving where??!

That’s the first question I and anybody get when informing friends, family, and/or strangers about moving to Thailand (as if they didn’t hear you properly). And then expect them to not have heard you properly because then they will ask “Do you even speak any Taiwanese?”
Hopefully you will just smile and say “Fluently.”
Of course you don’t speak Taiwanese or Thai or anything else but English most likely. Will it help if you learned some? YES. but it’s really difficult.
Why are you moving to Thailand? That is a question only you can answer. To each his own.

I am moving to Thailand because I get stuck in a rut in Florida and I am not happy there! I have a passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures and such. Teaching English is a great way to do it..and so I am.

I knew I was moving to Thailand about a month before I actually did. I didn’t have a job officially until about 2 weeks before I moved. This does not leave room for scatterbrain-ism. It also doesn’t leave time for a visa.
The school I have been hired at is helping me with my visa application. Until it is complete, I needed:
1. A copy of my passport
2. A copy of my degree
3. A copy of 3 months of statements (to show I had money in some form or other)
4. A copy of my transcripts
5. My TEFL certificate

Just in case I had a copy of my birth certificate, my social security, my driver’s license, and a few extra passport photos.

I found out AFTER I moved that I need my ORIGINAL diploma… I did not expect that.. so my darling mother will hopefully send that my way (along with some more Icebreaker mints.. those are pretty popular amongst other teachers).

Any blog will tell you that things are pretty cheap here. It’s true! But for those of us ladies who are blessed with curves, it is wise to come prepared. Be prepared to sweat. A lot. And often. When I heard people showered 3 times a day, I thought that was because they had a sweat issue. Being from Florida, I thought I could handle it. Nope. I sweat just as much and shower accordingly.

Ladies: I recommend packing some moist towelettes and baby wipes. Keep them with you at all times (not all bathrooms have toilet paper. and the bathrooms are a whole other story.. please read that entry when it is written.)

Getting back to PreThailand. Make sure your bank and credit card companies are understanding COMPLETELY that you are MOVING to Thailand..not just visiting. They will not hesitate to freeze your account after buying one plane ticket. Also, for those with Wells Fargo, they can send you Thai currency (Baht) before your trip so you have some money already. You can always exchange at airports and banks, but sometimes it’s nice to see the denominations and have them ready.

  • Bring a pair of bathroom slippers… you never know what you’re stepping in.
  • Mold and mildew are especially prominent. Prepare accordingly.There are mosquitos! If you are not used to mosquitos, the best plans are to have plenty of mozzie repellent (I’ve been using a lemon-eucalyptus combination that works magic), bug bite lotion, and unscented lotion. Perfumed bathroom lotion and body wash will attract mosquitos.
  • loose clothing is appreciated more than tight fitting (all the sweat is not pleasant with a shirt or jean shorts clinging to your skin)
  • Shirts that cover shoulders are popular here. The girls wear tiny shorts and skirts but ALWAYS have their shoulders covered. (See the fashion entry when it’s out)
  • Makeup is nice, but almost unnecessary with all the sweat and humidity.
  • Vegetarians: this is a very difficult feat. Especially in the beginning. I’ll explain more in the food entry.

    You are going to stress before moving… this is normal. You most likely won’t know much about where you’re moving to except what you read in Lonely Planet and other random blogs. That’s okay! You’ll learn more when you get there.

Remember, you’re going to the Land of Smiles… so smile! Thailand is a pretty cool place.  (so far)

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