Daily Phuket #29: 30 March 2021 – Slow Internet

My ISP rather optimistically claims to provide “unlimited 4G” service but it is rarely close to that. Over the past few weeks, there has been a distinct slowdown to the point that I found it very frustrating trying to do anything online over the past four or five days. While I can access some sites, the images often fail to load and uploading has been next to impossible. There is usually a general slowdown during long holiday weekends or whenever it rains heavily but it has become downright ridiculous as of late.

However, this morning I was finally able to upload photos (and some video) from the latter part of last week as well as Saturday’s special event and I believe I can put together a fairly decent summary of what has occurred since my diatribe on the dismal state of reading in the Land of Smiles.

For today’s photo, I present a blurry image of the traffic circle at the intersection of Ratsada and Yaorwrat roads, newly painted with lines and crosswalks. I was hoping there would be a large billboard or video advertisement of my ISP’s purported service. As I stood there, a motorbike taxi driver spotted me, thinking I was a tourist (!) he began to yell at me. An ambulance also sped by, I was in a hurry and so did not take a second shot as is my norm. Oh, well. Also, my Phuket reference books are at home and I am at school so I cannot tell you the exact name of the circle (they ALL have names) nor the reason why the center is decorated with old tin-mining water cannons. These used to spray water during special occasions but I have not seen that spectacle in a number of years.

When I last wrote on the morning on Thursday, 25 March, we were preparing for the school’s annual Open House. I assisted in some set-up and then went over to M4/2 to teach my last lesson in that classroom. Only five students (out of 19) bothered to show up and they were more interested in sleeping than anything else so I simply left after a few minutes, an option I had never exercised before. When I informed the Thai coordinator, I was just invited to further assist in the Open House performances. I took a number of photos and another teacher asked me to film his students’ show (a variation of “Samson and Delilah”).

Afterwards, I ventured out to the games & activities area and managed a booth that featured a tub filled with water and plastic eggs. Students had to fish for an egg and then I would open it and read the question inside. Sometimes, there were waterlogged images the kids had to identify. I was very generous with my distribution of prizes.

We were informed that our afternoon lessons would proceed “as normal” but my M3 lessons were all cancelled so they could have a meeting about Friday’s special event (for which I had already been informed would preempt their classes). Thus, I only ended up teaching for about 15 minutes all day Thursday. Friday was much the same; my early morning class happened as usual but the M3 and afternoon M2 lessons were all cancelled.

I had been asked to help man a special event for my agency on both Saturday and Sunday and arrived uncertain of what my role was. It turns out I was to sit at a recruitment booth to assist in signing up interested students for summer phonics courses and to play a jigsaw puzzle game with them. In all, there were eight different learning centers with booths placed in a rather untraveled area of the mall. We had just two curious parents talk with us in the three hours I spent there on Saturday (and my Sunday participation was cancelled). After the first hour we were there, a skateboarding school took over the space in front of the booths which further limited traffic but at least it gave us some entertainment to watch while we sat.

I taught a two-hour class at the mall on Sunday, did some shopping and headed home. I was happy that the park near my apartment has finished its remodeling so my shortcut from the bus stop in now restored. It’s much cooler walking amongst a few trees than it was along a very hot and dusty street of shuttered shops.

Monday and Tuesday this week sees the last of our lessons for the school year with final exams being conducted the remaining three days. I also did my last Gate Duty yesterday morning, dressed in the Monday color of yellow. During my classes, I conducted one-on-one interviews with the students and distributed candy as a reward for work well done. Today will be much the same with the addition of one fill-in lesson for an absent teacher. We will just sit in the foreign teachers’ office for the next few days as the Thai teachers invigilate the exams. We will spend most of next week marking all those exams and recording the scores for submission to the school. I designed my tests to be much easier to grade than the mid-terms (which took me nearly 10 days to get through).

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