I arrived in Pattaya on Saturday morning. I was picked up by a school driver and taken to the home of the principle(Linden) of the school where I would stay until I located my own apartment. In the afternoon she took me to school and showed me around. It is quite a small school but it has great friendly community feel to it.
From school one of the drivers took me out to go apartment hunting. To say that this was an absolute fail is an understatement. We were just driving around stopping anywhere that had a rooms for rent sign up. Everywhere seemed to either not have AC or not have Wifi, both of which I had deemed as necessary. The night Linden took me to dinner in town and took me to an apartment complex where I teacher had lived before. To say the apartment was perfect is an understatement, however I had already made plans to live with a couchsurfer about possibly moving into his house.
After meeting with Ben I decided that moving in with him would be a poor decision. He lived in the middle of no-where and was not very social. So now for about $300 a month(half of which is paid by the school) I am living in a single room apartment with a pool, ac, wifi and cooking space. I still need to by a hot plate but otherwise I am set to go. They complex will come in and clean and change my sheets once a week!
In other good news about the apartment, a ton of teachers live here. They are all super friendly and one girl is even a vegetarian so she is teaching me how to order veg in Thai! While everyone seems a bit older then me, they seem to be a good group of people.
While the apartment worked out quite nicely, my work visa did not go as smoothly. On my first attempt to get my work visa, I was driven to Bangkok by the owner of the school(Deepak) and his wife(Lexmi) who runs the show. Upon meeting with an officer, we were told that because I only had a copy of my degree I would need to go to the American embassy to get it authenticated.
So we drove to the embassy and found a large crowd of Thai’s with signs protesting America allowing a Visa of a known criminal to enter America from Thailand because America needs the relationship with oil. According to my boss the signs were very pg compared to the nasty things they were saying. I got to the front of the line only to find that I would need to make an appointment for the next day.
The next day I returned on a bus and happily found that the protesters had gone and I was quickly processed. The only down fall of the day was the four and a half hours that it took me to get home because of traffic and the inability to find a public taxi from the bus station.
Finally today Deepak drove with me back to Bangkok where I was able to finally get my work Visa! So no border runs for me. On another great note, while I need to check-in with Bangkok every 90 days, I can get a school driver to go on my behalf.