For Chinese New Year, I had a little over three weeks off, and it was everything that I hoped for! The Maldives was beyond incredible, Sri Lanka is a place that I know I'll be returning to, and Koh Tao was relaxing. I didn't even realize how much I needed a break until I was on vacation. Sadly, last week our time outside of China came to an end.
Scott and I left our resort in Koh Tao at five in the morning and took the earliest ferry over to Ko Samui so that we could catch our flight to Pattaya. We had about a 15 hour layover, which we basically had to do to ourselves or else pay hundreds of extra dollars for a different flight. Scott wanted to just stay in the airport the whole time. I wanted to leave and get a hotel room so that we could take a nap and shower, but once we got to Pattaya, we both agreed to do an excursion instead. We hired a driver to take us out to The Sanctuary of Truth in order to kill some time. Even though we were dead tired by the end of the day, it's safe to say that both of us thought The Sanctuary of Truth was a worthwhile attraction to visit even though the admission price is a steep 500 baht. A rich businessman came up with the idea to construct The Sanctuary of Truth as a way to honor and promote Thai culture. It looks like an ancient temple, but construction started in the 1980's and it's still not finished being built. You are even required to wear a hard hat when touring this structure.
The wooden sculptures are intricate and detailed. Most of them are based on Hindu or Buddhist principles. The content reminded me a lot of what I saw in Angkor Wat.
The Sanctuary of Truth is located right by the water, and there are several restaurants on site. We were also encouraged to watch the cultural show at no extra cost. What was the most fun was that we just decided to do this on a whim and neither one of us had even heard of The Sanctuary of Truth before we landed in Pattaya.
We arrived back at the airport and waited in there for about 5 more hours before we could board for our flight back to Shanghai. Once we made it back, we were a little bummed out because the pollution was bad, we were exhausted from traveling, and the weather was cold, drab, and a little rainy. Everyone was telling us how nice the weather had been, so it really was a bummer to come back to that.
This past week, we had three days of orientation, which I found a bit strange because we already attended an orientation at the beginning of the year and our primary school did not get any new teachers. What I did like is that we got plenty of office hours and time to plan and prepare for the upcoming semester. I put the time to use and took down the students' old work, decorated both of my doors, and planned my lessons for the next two weeks. The students came back on Thursday, so we had a short week with them.
Life has started to go back to normal here--on Monday I went out to Liquid Laundry for my dear friend's birthday, a group of us got pedicures/manicures and dinner at a kebab place one evening, I had a Netflix night with Scott, tried a new restaurant and bought a ton of new movies, and I got eat at some of my favorite local spots in the area. Even though my vacation being over was a downer, I have to admit that life in Shanghai is not that bad. :)
Do you get the back to work blues after a big break? What do you do to pass the time when you have a long layover?