Hello all. It has been a long time since my last post; this has been due to very poor internet and also a lack of exciting things to post about haha. But I shall fill you guys in as to what has been going on over the last week…
So the last time we chatted I was just about to write my teaching exam; I can now gladly say that I managed to pass it (with a mark of 94% !!!) and am now a qualified TESL teacher. With this accomplishment I would just like to say thank you to everyone who helped me get this far, be they in Cape Town or here in Hua Hin. I would also like to say thank you to TravelBud who so expertly helped put this all together – you guys were truly amazing and if anybody reading this is interested in doing the course, I would urge you to go through Travelbud, they make it the easiest and must painless experience possible.
Back to graduation, everyone in the red team managed to pass the exam with great easy and so we decided to celebrate the occasion with a standard South African fines session. As is the norm, it got slightly out of hand and a number of individuals had to tap out early for the night, and the rest ended up wishing they had haha. This all went down on about Thursday and Friday last week, then we spent the remainder of our time in Hua Hin just packing, chilling and trying to organise a place to stay as well as flights for our week away (more about that later).
Group graduation selfie
After leaving Hua Hin on Saturday we completed the 2 hour drive through to Bangkok (which I shall be calling home for the next year) where we were to meet up with our agent. There were 11 people from my course who have the same agent as myself and so we all travelled together. We met up with our agent at roughly 11am and following a food break we got stuck into orientation. Now this orientation consisted of basically relearning everything we had just been taught into a new format. This was rather irritating and hard for us, but it had to be done as this new method is the one that we will have to use when we start teaching (it is a specific style that the agent and school have agreed upon). In many ways this new style is easier as all it requires is us to follow a plan from a Teachers Guide while the kids work in both their student and work books. In short everyone is just given a workbook and you have to follow the steps depicted within it; this dramatically lessons the amount of time it would us to prep for classes which of course is great for us, but this also means that our ability to alter and adapt the work into a fun environment is slightly harder. However I am faithful that we can all make this new style work. So after arriving in Bangkok on the Saturday morning and spending the rest of the day learning our new teaching style we headed to bed at our resort across the road.
Sunday began with a great deal of excitement as it was the day we were flying to Phuket for our week away. For some unknown reason we had to be at the airport 3hours before our flight (in total we spent more time at the airport then we did in the air) and still our flight was delayed by about 30minutes haha. Eventually though we made it to Phuket, when I say “we” I am referring to about 6 of us, and once there we actually headed separate ways. Katy and I managed to organise some free housing through my wonderfully generous father and so we headed to a place called Absolute Bangla Suites, while the rest headed to a different venue. Now this Bangla Suites place is amazing, we not only have a lounge but we also have a kitchen with a stove, oven, kettle, toaster and a complete knife set !!! That’s not all, we also have a jacuzzi for a bath (it really is, it has lights, bubbles and water pumps) so as you can imagine it has been fantastic so far haha.
For the last couple of months I have been wanting to do my PADI open water divers course. In Cape Town I just never managed to get around to it (mainly due to the cold) but when we began planning to come to Phuket I decided that this would be a great time to get it done. And so, on our second day here I ventured off to the best dive shop I could find on Trip Advisor; this landed me at a dive centre called Super Divers Phuket. These guys have been great so far, they not only charge a decent rate but they include all transport, food, equipment and you get 2 extra bonus dives.
Getting set up for dive #1
I have just completed my second day of the course, the first day covered all the admin and theory sections as well as about 3 hours of pool time so all in all it was a very busy but not very exciting day. Today (being day 2) however was fantastic, we travelled across to Phi Phi and some surrounding island and while there we completed a total of 3 dives. As this was my first diving experience it really was amazing, all three dives had great vis (scuba lingo for visibility) and many sea creatures were spotted except the rare and elusive sea turtle. However I did manage to see a number of puffer fish, barracuda, nemo’s, eels, sea cucumbers and a wide variety of fish I cannot name haha. The highlight though was during the second dive were we swam with and spotted about 10 black tip sharks. Luckily they weren’t very big, with the biggest being maybe a meter and the smallest about 35cm. Although I almost needed a new wet suit after spotting my first shark, I was fascinated by their grace and power as they moved through the water. The barely even noticed us and just continued their daily schedule as per normal, there was even a family of three shark who came swimming by at one stage and it was awesome to see the little baby shark swimming about.
School of hundreds of little yellow fish
Tomorrow is the third and final day of the course and again consists of three dives throughout the day. These dives will be taking place at an island with a name I cannot spell off-hand and so will give you the name in my next post haha. During these dives I hope to see some more sharks (at a distance) as well as some giant manta rays and hopefully the elusive sea turtle.
I do have a great number of more photos and videos from my diving adventures but due to the on going monsoon outside, my internet is too slow and intermitent to allow me to post said photos. However I am in the process of creating a gallery page on the blog and will either post the pictures there tomorrow or just create an entire post dedicated to my diving photos and videos. So please stay tuned for my amazing under-water photography skills and also to hear about my final day of diving.
Thanks for reading