This post will be quite short because although a lot happened this week I am not going to describe the job fair in tons of detail because for those not involved it is probably a boring experience. After I finished yacht week, I took a cab back down to Phuket town. At the end of yacht week, I realized that I had about 4 days until I had to be back up to Bangkok for the job fair. So, I messaged Nate to find out where he was to see if I should meet up with him. He was meeting up with his friend Ashley from home so I decided that I would join them for a couple of days back on Koh Phi Phi. During yacht week, this is where the fire party on the beach was and I didn’t spend much time on the island, so I wanted to see it again. It would have been difficult to go straight there so I wanted a day to myself to sleep and relax and recover from the craziness of yacht week.
In Phuket town, I found an amazing hostel called At Night Hostel. It wasn’t busy at all and the front desk was really nice. They had a female part of the hostel with our own dorms and bathrooms which was really nice. I had a 6 person dorm all to myself and I slept most of the day. I went out and got some pizza at a restaurant and came back and went straight to bed. My body really needed sleep after the average of 3-4 hours during yacht week.
The next morning, I booked a ferry over to Koh Phi Phi. A van picked me up and brought me to the ferry terminal and then I hopped on the ferry. The ferry was huge and even served free coffee! The ferry drove us by Maya beach (the beach from the movie The Beach) and stopped to let us take photos and then on to Phi Phi. Once on Phi Phi I wandered around a bit because our hostel was very new and was not on maps.me which is the App that I use to travel because its basically like google maps but you can get all the maps offline. Finally, I found the hostel and Nate and Ashley were there checking in as well which made it perfect! The hostel was called J.T. House and it was a gem on Phi Phi because they were comfortable quiet dorms, but very close to the beach and all the parties at night.
We walked and got some lunch together which took forever because service is not the islands strength. Then, we walked down to the beach and laid out for awhile. This was nice because I haven’t had much chance this trip to just lay out with a book and read. When we were hot we went into the water. The water here is funny because you can walk very far out and it will still remain waist level. At night, the tides go out even further and there is very little water to go in.
For the sunset, we climbed up the stairs to the lookout point. You have to pay a small fee to go but it is definitely worth it. You can see how the island comes together in the middle and the two beaches on both sides. The water is even different colors. There are two lookout points and the second one is definitely a better view. There were a lot of people there for the sunset as well and everyone was just chilling on the rock. There was even a proposal while we were there.
After sunset, we went back and showered and then walked to the other side of the island for dinner. We ate a a restaurant right on the water and the food was pretty good, yet a bit more expensive. Ashley was tired to she went back to the hostel and Nate and I went to a fire show that was nearby. It was a really good fire show and they had little seats and tables set up on the beach. So, we had a beer and watched them twirl fire for about 2 hours. On the way back you could see and hear all of the parties, but we were pretty beat so we just went to bed.
The following day we booked a half day boat tour to the spots around the island. We grabbed some smoothies and pancakes from street vendors and then headed to our long boat. I was very surprised because I had never seen them pack so many people in a long boat that I thought we may sink once we got out there. First, we stopped at monkey beach which was a pretty hilarious experience. It is called monkey beach because many monkeys live there and tourists stop on the beach and take pictures and give food and water to the monkeys. Our boat told us not to feed the monkeys because they get aggressive but instead gave us a bottle of water. So, with the bottle of water I just knelt down and started squirting the water and the monkey very gently drank the water and had his little hand on mine and it was cute. Then, Nate tried and while giving the monkey water he accidentally squeezed too hard and sprayed the monkey in the face with the water. It was hilarious and I can’t believe I didn’t get it on film but the monkey did come back and drink.
Some boats did bring food and the monkeys fought over the food and the biggest ones tended to win out. Though it was really cute to see them eating fruit. Then, we were leaving and there was still some water so I wanted to feed one more monkey. So, I knelt down same as before but the monkey was grabbing the bottle and I couldn’t get it high enough for the little water left to come out and then the monkey took it out of my hand. I didn’t quite know what to do because then the monkey was trying on his own and couldn’t do it so I wanted to help. Note to self for later: let the monkey struggle on its own!! I reached in carefully to try to help and the monkey attacked me and scratched me a bit. I was very taken aback. Though after I think the monkey was a bit ashamed and stopped trying to drink the water and walked away slowly. It was just a tiny little scratch and didn’t break skin or anything, but it was quite an interesting experience and I am glad it wasn’t worse.
Next, we went to a cave that had all these wooden structures built inside. I am not sure what the cave is used for or if people lived there, but it was quite bizarre. After that we went to an inlet of water which was only about chest deep. It was a gorgeous inlet with cliffs on each side and the water was very blue. We got out of the boat and were just standing around the water and watching other boats come in when a fish (I think it was a fish, I really have no idea) ran full speed into my leg. If freaked me out! So, I got back in the boat.
Our third stop was snorkeling. The combination of the seas being a bit rough, lots of longboats parked with their motors in the water, and tons of people in the water made it a bit of a difficult experience. Yet, it was worth it because there were some very beautiful fish. There was a lot of fish right around out boat because our captain kept feeding them. As you explored further there were some gorgeous blue fish and lots of parrot fish which I also saw in the Galapagos. I love just staying still above some coral and watching because once your eyes become accustomed you see even more fish! At times it was hard and I ran into the propeller of two long boats and Nate almost drowned me while I was taking a picture, but all in all it was a good experience.
Then, back in the boat and we went to Maya beach which was my third time here. I still have never been on the beach because it doesn’t seem that special and its crowded and they charge $15 just to step foot on the beach which I didn’t think was worth it. Our boat stopped here and only 2 people got off and then rest of us remained on the boat for about 45 minutes. It was fine because it gave us an opportunity to take in the sunshine and the beauty of everything. Then, we were taken out into the bay in front of Maya beach and we snorkeled there. The water was deeper here so we saw different fish from before. I saw lots of fish gathered together in schools and moved together as one.
After our final snorkel stop, we headed back to Koh Phi Phi. It was around lunchtime so we grabbed some food and walked around a bit. Nate and I went shopping because I needed new flip flops because I had left them on a boat during yacht week. We walked all around and tried to barter for a good price on flip flops. Then, we were tired so we showered and took naps. We got ready to go to dinner, but Ashley hadn’t showered yet and said she would just meet up for dinner. So, we left and went to find a restaurant which was on the busy beach, but a bit further up overlooking the beach. We found a cute little spot where they had basically put a table in an old boat and it was very nice. We waited about an hour for Ashley but she never came so we just ate without her.
Then, we walked down the the beach to join the party. We saw them playing all kinds of games such musical chairs and the limbo. I participated in the limbo a bit, but it was just really fun to watch. There were several parties along the beach and we just party hopped around. Then, we walked into town and danced a bit outside of a bar with live music and witnessed three drunk guys get matching bamboo tattoos on their butts. I wanted to go to the bar in town that had a boxing ring so that is where we headed next. Basically, to go to the bar you need to buy at least one overly priced drink and they have a boxing ring in the center. They get tourists to volunteer to fight each other in the ring. They try to match up ability and weight as much as possible, give them some equipment, and have them fight it out in the ring. The winner gets a bucket of alcohol. Such a weird experience, but very fun at the same time. Finally, we walked back to the beach and danced because the party was now in full swing. It started raining and everyone just kept dancing. All in all it was a great night and I ended up back at the hostel soaking wet, but very exhilarated.
The following day I caught a ferry over the Krabi and then a flight to Bangkok. Since I was coming right back to Krabi to see Veronica, it made sense to fly and just get a round trip ticket to avoid at 13 hour bus ride both ways. I got to Bangkok and made it to my hostel called Oldtown Hostel which was only about a block and a half away from the hotel where the job conference would be. I got my own private room, which ended up being a double bed and bunk beds which was hilarious and I made this my room for the next several days.
The first day in Bangkok, I headed to the weekend market because I needed to buy professional clothes and shoes since I obviously was not going to carry professional clothing all over Southeast Asia. The problem with trying to buy your clothes in a market in Asia is that you are not allowed to try on the clothes and you are much bigger than the average Asian person. So, it was tricky to find places that did allow me to try on the clothes and to find ones that fit and looked ok. The clothes I bought I probably would not buy at home, but they made due at the conference and I gave them away at the end of it. The shoes I really did love though and I was sad to part with them.
The following day was the first day of the conference. The first day and a half of the conference was just schools giving presentations about their schools. I was kind of disappointed about this at first, but I took the list and cross referenced it with schools that had math opening and went to the presentations. I was happy I did this because it opened my mind up to lots of other options and I even found schools that I didn’t even know existed like the one at which I am going to work. I went to the presentation, fell in love with the school, and then put my resume in their box.
I am not going to go into much more detail, but job fairs are crazy experiences. You are high on nervousness and excitement and when things are going right it is exhilarating. I felt like I had drank 5 cups of coffee at all times though I didn’t drink any the entire conference. I made a ton of new friends in the candidates room and just around by just talking to people and I felt that I had my own support system. Many of them were even staying at my hostel. At the banquet, it was nice to see a lot of friendly faces and I met another lady I will be teaching math with and she is so nice as well. The interviews are nerve wracking, but I do believe in fit and that some schools fit you better than others.
In the end, I received offers from the Anglo-American School in Moscow and Branksome Hall in Jeju South Korea and chose Jeju. I am so excited for the new adventure because Jeju looks like a beautiful island and there are lots of sports and outdoor activities there. Though I am getting a bit away from the city life, I think I will be happy. My social life and dating life may suffer a bit, but there are 3 other international schools on the island.
After the final day of the conference, I went out with an Aussie guy named Aaron and another guy from Curacao and we went to the main bar street called Khao San Road. It was good time and it was fun to talk to the guys. We had dinner and even found a bar with live music. The guy from Curacao was a bit gross and a womanizer, but it was fun to see how far he would go when talking about women. Aaron was really nice though and I hope to keep in touch with him. At the conference, I had also met a guy named Andy as well who was a math teacher and I hope he and I will keep in touch because he had some great math ideas. Finally, I hope to keep in touch with a girl named Amanda because she is teaching quite close to me in China, she helped me make my job decision and I think she and I would get along great. We already plan to visit each other. I guess job conferences are also about making fiends and not just about getting jobs!
I am glad that experience is over and I am so happy to know where I will be the next 2 years! Come visit!!!