Sam Thompson

Science department camp

A fun school outing to Samut Sakhon

Apparently, once per year my department goes on some kind of a retreat. I felt quite honored when I was invited (more like coerced) to attend the all-Thai getaway. We went to Samut Sakhon and stayed in a nature-oriented resort by a river about two hours south of Bangkok. It was a lot of fun!

We took the "school bus," a quite nice coach that I didn't even know our school had, and stopped by a sustainable farm for lunch on the way. I presume that whatever the chap went on about for an hour while holding various fertilizers was highly educational, but being that I speak very little Thai, I mainly watched dragonflies attack the various geese, ducks, chickens, turkeys, and peacocks the farm hosted.

The resort, Bankungnam Resort, had lovely bungalow-styled rooms surrounding a little pond with more on the river across the street. It certainly was nice, reminding me a lot of the Okefenokee Swamp on the Georgia-Florida boarder in the USA. For nature lovers, the area could likely entertain for weeks. For me, it was a great getaway from Bangkok for a night... but I prefer the beach.

The teachers in my department entertained themselves by making a multitude of somtum, playing cards, and drinking various beverages. Have I mentioned how much I love teaching in Thailand? This is a school-sanctioned event where the teachers are literally there merely to relax. No hidden agenda, no required meetings... just a celebration.

The one night we were there, we had a little retirement party for one of the teachers due to step down this year. It was quite interesting; I followed the Thai teachers in some kind of ceremony whereby we crawl by the teacher (sitting in a chair) and scooped a cup of flower-seeped water from one little jug to another sitting in front of him. I'm not exactly sure what this signified, but it seemed to be a nice gesture.

Afterwards, this being Thailand, the teachers (even the older ladies) sang karaoke for hours... until well after midnight. And I don't think I was the only one who woke up with a hangover. Again, remember that my Thai is extremely limited and most of the teachers in my department speak very little English, but it was quite a good time.

All in all, even though it was a short "workshop," it was quite an enjoyable experience.


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