Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So long sweet summer ...

I'm back at school finally. I returned yesterday after 3 weeks of English camp at another school, 2 weeks vacation and 2 days of extended quarantine. Let's just say that my first full working day in over 6 weeks was not so easy ... I was in bed by 9pm last night! It was so great to see all of my students again .. I missed them over summer vacation.

I'm sure by next week I'll be back into the routine and it won't be so bad.

So, a follow-up post on Thailand. I've told you what we did, now here is what I thought of everything!

Things I loved about Thailand:
- the weather ... it was hot hot hot!
- the food ... every meal we had was spectacular. I'm missing it so much.
- the water ... so blue and so warm
- the scenery ... Phuket and Koh Phi Phi were gorgeous
- the fact that I didn't get stared at everywhere I went (which is the case in Korea)
- once again being in a culture where there were many different lifestyles and true individuals ... I loved it!
- Ladyboys - so funny
- the shopping ... so many good deals (if you bargained hard)
- there were great drugstores ... I've missed going into Shoppers Drugmart at home and emerging an hour later with $100 of hair and makeup products! Boots Drugstore in Thailand is awesome

Things I didn't love:
- the fact that it was so touristy - everyone was selling something, you had to really argue over prices or you'd get ripped off, even little kids were out selling stuff late at night. I didn't like the feeling that I was being hustled all the time, but I understand that tourism is THE major source of income for many Thai's, so I can accept it!
- the heat ... anytime we stepped outside I was drenched in sweat ... fine when we were by the beach, but was definitely something that was hard to get used to

So in general, I fell in love with Thailand. I would love to teach there in the future. Being back in Korea has been hard, and I seem to be seeing many of the flaws after being away. I need to switch back to positive mode, and instead of being frustrated by things, try to find the humour in them. This strategy served me well for the first 5 months here and I have to get back to it for the next 7!

A lot of my frustration has come from recent problems George has had getting a rabies vaccine. He was bit by a monkey in Thailand, and was able to receive his first 2 (of 5) rabies vaccines while there. Since we were unsure of the health of the monkey it was just a precaution. However rabies is a very serious disease, and if contracted by a human has a 95% mortality rate. When the time came to get George's 3rd rabies shot we went to three different hospitals in Busan and were informed at each one that they didn't have any rabies vaccine. One of the things I was warned about at the travel clinic in Canada before I left was rabies, and it seems bizarre to me that the vaccine would not be available here when there are so many random street dogs roaming around. By the time we were at the 3rd hospital we were both frustrated, and asked the doctor on call to find a hospital that did have it. He broke the news that there were actually no hospitals in Busan that had the vaccine, and told us we'd have to order it through an internal medicine doctor. This was on a Saturday and we wouldn't be able to see an internal medicine doctor until Monday. Since the vaccines are supposed to be administered on a strict schedule we were both worried and quite angry. On Monday George was told he wouldn't be able to order it, which was not the answer he was looking for. Finally on Tuesday his co-teacher found him a doctor that wrote him a prescription for the vaccine, but informed him that it could not be shipped, he'd have to go pick it up in Seoul. The company would not ship it because if it is not kept at certain cold temperatures it loses it's effectiveness. So Tuesday night we frantically searched the city for a cooler bag (not available), and George finally got on the KTX with a Jumbo Thermos, hoping it would allow him to get the vaccine back to Busan. Luckily everything worked out, and he was provided with a big styrafoam cooler by the doctors in Seoul. He got it back to his doctor in Busan who gave him the 3rd shot yesterday, and will give him the remaining 2 shots as well. The whole ordeal was completely frustrating, especially when all we heard before coming was that Korea has a great health care system.
I guess the animals here don't have rabies?!

In more exciting news, I've been surfing twice since returning from vacation and I think we're going again tonight! Definitely something I'm really excited about. There's also a surfing competition in Haeundae this weekend which we'll be going to watch.
Who knows, if George and I get in some good practice tonight we may even enter the beginners division ... mostly for the free t-shirt and free drinks at some local bars on Saturday night ;)

1 comment:

  1. Maddie - the athlete in you is coming out...just entering a surfing competition for the free t-shirt!!! love it!!