Hoa Hin…Day 2
Day two in Hoa Hin started with another 6:30am wake up ( partly due to the sweat inducing heat and partly due to our 7:30am meeting time) and, like every other day a cold shower was had before our healthy breakfast of coco pops in a tea mug ( hotel room does not include bowls). After meeting down stairs we all boarded the big taxi and headed to our school/office to begin our week of orientation. This week includes a number of cultural outings, history lessons as well as language lessons, however we started the day with an overview of the rules and regulations concerning the next month and were also introduced to all the wonderful staff members at Xplore Asia🙂 This was also my first time in a Thai school and classroom, my first thoughts were that the building looked more like a block of apartments as apposed to a school, but once we were inside it started to take shape. The school is shaped in a U fashion with a nice courtyard/play area in the middle and a little jungle gym type setup in one corner for the little kids, the classrooms are also very nice, lots of windows and they are all decently sized. The desks however are another story, they are tiny, uncomfortable and pretty much impossible for a left-hander to use haha, but other than that everything is wonderful and it looks like a perfect place for us to learn how to teach:)
Day one in the classroom, course rules
After 3ish hours of class we decided that was enough work for the day and choose to head out on a cultural excursion. The first point of call was the Khao Tao temple, this temple is set on the side of mountain overlooking the ocean and the rest of Hoa Hin. I can easily say it is my favourite temple for a number of reasons: firstly it’s name somehow translates to mean turtle ( best animals in the world), secondly the mountain upon which it sits looks like a turtle head ( apparently- I just saw a normal looking mountain) and lastly it has been the only temple I have visited. The actual temple though is a wonderful thing, it has amazing views and a number of levels each containing differing aspects of the Buda religion, there are statues representing each day of the week and are meant to portray the characteristics of people born on that specific day. These statues differ in their postures with some standing, some sitting and some even lying down. On our tour each one was explained and certain aspects of Buddhism were also explained ( although I cannot recall them right now). The best part about our temple tour however was when we all sat in front of a monk and were given blessing of good karma and fortune. This monk further enlightened us as to the 5 main pillars of Buddhism and proceeded to ask questions about what we thought about our own lives and religions and compared it to his own faith ( although I am not very religious I found this discussion quite interesting; Buddhism is a pretty cool religion). After this lengthy debate we were given 5 minutes to mediate ( or in my case power nap) during which we were meant to clear our minds and become in-tune with our breathing ( I still believe this to be the best aspect of Buddhism; they pretty much believe that one must power nap/meditate for +-3hours a day) haha.
Entrance to Khao Tao Temple
The different Buda statues
After the lovely temple excursion we headed to Rescue Paws. Rescue Paws is a wonderful organisation which was started by the owners of XploreAsia. Their aim is to assist the large amount of street dogs living in Thailand. To do this they sterilise and vaccinate as many of the stray dogs as possible with the goal to lower the number of street dogs every year. The shelter at the moment is too small and under-funded to actually serve as a kennel for these dogs and as such they just hold the dogs for the time it takes for the surgery and their recovery before they release them again. Although this seems like a sad story, the kennel is in fact a great place and we got to meet a number of fun, active dogs and puppies. There was one dog who was actually paralyzed in the back legs, but some of the shelter volunteers are designing a set of 4×4 wheels for the dog 🙂 All in all Rescue Paws is a great place and helps many of the helpless street dogs in Hoa Hin. I urge anybody reading this to give them a follow on insta G and perhaps share their https://www.facebook.com/RescuePawsThailand?fref=ts”>FB page or donate money.
All in all it was a fantastic day here in Hoa Hin, many things were learned, many photos were taken, many laughs were had and many a forehead was sunburnt 🙂 If this is anything to go by, then the rest of the week will no doubt be amazing. To hear about day three and the activities of pineapple picking, elephant feeding and art admiring then come back tomorrow 🙂