Living in Ubon: Food Pics, Mafia, Karaoke and Movie Nights

Of all the things I've missed about ATYAP, communal or dormitory-style living would have to be the highest thing on the list. Sure I miss the 35 baht pad thai (< $2 AUD), the 7/11 Thai milk tea and like, the world famous sights and stuff, but nothing really beats knowing that if you're bored or lonely, all you have to do is walk across the hallway and knock on someone's door. I've already mentioned this a couple of times but because I am who I am (and a topic isn't exhausted until I've uploaded twenty photos and churned out 1,500 words), I'm going to write a blog post about living in Ubon Ratchathani  #sorrynotsorry. I'll try to chuck in a couple of food pics to keep you happy.
Previous Thailand posts:

The alleyway to T3 House, our hotel for the three weeks in Ubon. It smelt like piss and decaying old men but it was home.
For the three weeks we were teaching in north-eastern Thailand, we lived at T3 House, a comfortable, homey hotel with exceptional service. T3 House's owner was a kind, humble old man who would often be seen sweeping the courtyard in the early morning hours. We would say hi to him every morning before heading off to school and I remember him dropping his broom in the middle of sweeping just to wai us. (The "wai" is the traditional Thai greeting with palms together and a slight bow). He was so cute.

Considering that there were 35 of us rowdy university students and we took up two entire corridors, the staff at T3 House were astonishingly patient the whole time we were there. God knows we were LOUD - constantly screaming at each other to get ready and blasting Taylor Swift from laptops with the doors wide open, not to mention that one night we made full use of the karaoke machine in the conference room. We also asked to borrow the weirdest shit from their kitchens and they never batted an eye.

Photo credit: Austrie Calizar

Sunset from T3 House
We stuck to a routine while we were teaching - one which I didn't know I missed as much as I did until we left Ubon. We would all get up at about 6:30 am for teaching and have breakfast together in the conference room at 7:00 am until our rides to the schools. Depending on how long our school days ran for, we would get back at different times in the afternoon but would end up grouping up again to go to the markets or a restaurant for dinner (usually the markets because there was more choice and a higher chance of finding something wacky).

Photo credit: Samithy Heng
If we were feeling lazy or just extremely exhausted after a hectic day of teaching, dinner would just be a quick 7/11 run. But then again, 7/11's are kind of freakin' amazing in Asian countries and have just about everything you need so it wasn't like you were settling for less. And holy flaming flamingos guys but you've got to try the Thai milk tea from 7/11 next time you visit Thailand! We bought that shit out every single night we were there, I'm not even kidding. The owners of the local store must love us to bits.

Anyhow, this is the part where I inundate you with food pics.

The famous 35 baht pad thai - this store did it and pad see ew so well. We came back so frequently that they started giving us discounts on our meals haha. High 5 team!
Thai milk tea in a bag. Literally. 
I tried to be adventurous in my food choices but I never really got into the crickets and maggots...

Coconut juice.... so much coconut juice, smoothies and desserts on this trip, I don't even know where to begin.
An Angry Bird-shaped pancake! So buttery and warm
The mango sticky rice club!
I would've taken a lot more photos of the food I ate there if Thai food was more photogenic but even though it tastes amazing, I can't say it looks the part. A lot of it consists of rice, curry and fried eggs and even though the flavour is spot on, it kind of just looks like....well, rice, curry and fried eggs. My favourite dessert was this sweet coconut rice topped with some sort of sauce and wrapped in green leaves but to be honest, I never took a picture because it looked like a large, smushed, white grub.

Before leaving for Thailand, I remember downloading a shitload of shows and books to keep me amused throughout the month. I didn't touch any of them. Not even once. It wasn't because I was too busy but more the fact that any "free time" we had, we would spend hanging out with each other or exploring Ubon. Some random things that we got up to include:

1. Going to the exercise park.

No really. It was a gigantic park dedicated to all forms of exercising. Located in central Ubon, just 10 minutes from our hotel, it had nightly aerobics and zumba classes, basketball courts, skate ramps, soccer fields, jogging lanes and even a gym for the boys. I have never seen so many people exercise in one spot in my life. Is this the reason why Thai people don't get fat despite the disproportionate amount of sugar that's in their food??

There was a ginormous candle in the middle of the exercise park...because, why not?
2. Playing lots of mafia / memory games 

Although we did stop doing this after the teaching got too intense and everyone only had enough energy to do room hangouts. But it was fun while it lasted and a great way at the beginning for us to all get to know one another. Even now I still associate Roanna with certain lewd actions...

3. Dance lessons, movies nights & karaoke

And just fun things in general to keep us sane. The amazing Charlene, who we found out is a dance instructor from the USYD hip-hop society, gave us a dance lesson on one night and it was so much fun. We failed epic-ly of course and didn't even have one-third of her swag but it was nice just being able to do something active whilst laughing at ourselves.

There was another night when we brought down our pillows and blankets (as I said - patient hotel staff) to have a Big Hero 6 movie night in the conference room. We made a bit of an ATYAP nest and it must've been too comfortable because I fell asleep and can't remember the second half of the film at all.

Nutbush training in preparation for Australia Day
There was also karaoke night, thai massage night, nutbush dance-practice night, KFC-party night, spontaneous jam sesh's with Gloy's guitar, gossip-room night (always in mine for some reason), cards against humanity night, hallway paper planes night, impromptu judo demonstration night, folding hearts for the hospital night and just a whole bunch of other random things. We kept ourselves occupied. And I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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