After six months in Chiang Mai I was offered an ESL position at a Thai government high school in Samut Sakon province about 45 minutes south of the Thai capital. The town of Mahachai is a fishing village next to the Bangkok bight which houses many of Thailand’s frozen seafood factories. Fresh seafood is available at the markets at wholesale prices. Although, only a short ride from Bangkok, very few westerners live in this part of the kingdom.
From Mahachai I moved to the southern province of Surat Thani where I worked at two Thai government high schools over an 18 month period. Both schools were located in the countryside. This area of the mainland is mostly rural surrounded by rubber tree and palm oil plantations. Surat Thani city is a travel hub which includes Thai Rail, long distances buses, an airport and ferries. It’s a jumping off point the Thailand’s southern islands. Samui can be reached by a bus then a ferry in about two hours.
After my time in Surat Thani I was offered a position in Xuzhou, China, Jiangsu Province to teach seventh grade ESL. The main city of Xuzhou has a population of 2 million people. Beijing and Shanghai are both a four hour high speed train ride away. The city of Nanjing is only one hour away. I lived and worked in the new city of Xuzhou which was a 30 minute taxi ride from the main city. The new city was somewhat of a ghost town. Very few people actually lived there. Most of my students were bused from the main town. Altogether, I spent 14 quiet months in Xuzhou. The Chinese people were friendly and very eager to learn English.