Weekend in Phanom

Hey all,

Long time no talk. So instead of getting my travel on, I stayed in town this weekend. There isn’t much to do in my little paradise of Phanomsarakham, but there’s at least enough for a few days and there are always books to read, so yay. Here’s a recap:

Friday – 9:13am: While teaching my M1s (7th grade) about sports, they name a few popular Thai sports, including Sepak Takraw. Sepak Takraw, which roughly translates to “ninja volleyball,” is a popular Southeast Asian sport that is similar to volleyball, except that…you have to be a ninja to play. Seriously, look:

Anyway, one kid raises a Sepak Takaw ball into the air, which I assume is the formal way to challenge someone, so I have some of the desks moved and ITS ON! About thirty seconds later, I’ve accidentally kicked the ball out of the second story window and the game is over.

Friday – 10:15am: On to my next class of M1s, where I’m also teaching sports. This time, no one has any sporting equipment, so I assume I’m safe. And I am, until I ask for a volunteer to demonstrate a sport. The students assume that I’m asking for a volunteer to, instead, fight with. Their choice of combat? Sumo. So the room harasses the class fat kid (there’s one in almost every class and it doesn’t seem to be a particularly shameful title) until he agrees to sumo the teacher. We sumo, he wins (I only kinda let him. Kids be strong, yo) and the class seems a little disappointed that I didn’t use my farang strength and launch him from the second story window. Life isn’t fair kids.

Friday – 8:09pm: Me, Adam, Amy and Emily went out to our town bar, Tam Tams. It’s a pretty cool spot and there’s live music every night, courtesy of the bar owner (who used to be one of our coordinator’s students) and his band. We had a good deal of fun and discussed a lot of important issues, such as Kurt Cobain’s street fight record. At one point, Emily accidentally proclaimed that Kanye West and Kobe Brant are the same person, just in different fields and I had to inform her that Kanye West is the voice of a generation, something Kobe is most assuredly not. Also, Adam proclaimed his love for our waitress for the evening, only to be turned down with a smile (because, Thailand). Turns out that her name, Ice, was also a descriptor of how cold her romantic sensibilities were. Life isn’t fair, indeed.

If it was fair, Beyonce woulda won. Just sayin'. U mad T-Swift?

If it were fair, Beyonce woulda won. Just sayin’. U mad T-Swift?

So that ends Friday. Earlier in the week, our instructor offered to take us foreigners to the local floating market in Bang Khla. The plan was to meet up at school on Saturday morning at 10:30am.

Saturday – 11:00am: Our instructor arrives and we head off to the floating market. I’d forgotten that I’d actually been there a few weeks earlier, but it was a different experience this time, especially with a Thai person to explain things. We started off with a several course lunch, then hopped on a small boat for a nice river cruise. From far away, we saw the massive statue of Ganesh and the gold covered temple, and stopped at a different temple that I don’t know the name of but assume that it must be called “The Bat Cave.”

Bats on bats on bats.

Bats on bats on bats

Ajarn Sompit (our coordinator) explained that the bats only stay on the temple grounds. There are the same types of trees right outside the temple, but the bats don’t perch in them. Strange stuff.

That's our fearless leader, Ajarn Sompit, in the life jacket. It's more to protect the river from her than to protect her from the river.

That’s our fearless leader, Ajarn Sompit, in the life jacket. It’s more to protect the river from her than to protect her from the river.

A really nice river mansion.

A really nice river mansion.

Thus ends Saturday.

Sunday, I met up with Pee Nut (my Muay Thai trainer. Pee is a title that means elder brother. We’re not related and, yes, I call him Peanut) in the afternoon. All semester, the rumor mill had been churning that there was a muay thai gym in Phanom, but we hadn’t found anyone that had any further info on it, other than that it may have possibly existed in town at any point during the last fifteen years. Well, after some top level sleuthing, I managed to get a lead. We hopped in Pee’s truck and drove about fifteen minutes away from town central and into the jungle. Lemme tell you, we were pumped. All this private training was good and dandy, but I wanted to get to a gym with other folk and do some damage (read: get knocked out by a Thai teenager six weight classes below me)! After stopping to ask directions a few times, we found it. Not only did it definitely exist, but it was still in use!

Unfortunately (read: fortunately), all of the fighters except one were asleep and the awake one couldn’t train on account of a broken rib. Still, I got to do a bit of bagwork and took their info so that I can go back, which I fully intend to do once I’ve done some serious cardio training. I was panting like Spongebob after about 20 minutes of bagwork.

SQUAREpanting, that is! Ba-dum-tsssshhhhh!

SQUAREpanting, that is! Ba-dum-tsssshhhhh!

After practice, I went home and ate all kinds of delicious, unhealthy stuff. I’ll start my cardio tomorrow or something.

Till next time!


What I’m Reading: Striking Thoughts by Bruce Lee and After Dark by Haruki Murakami

What I’m Writing: Short Story and Flash Fiction revisions

What I’m Listening To: Ivy League: Kick Back by CyHi The Prynce


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