Time Capsule Letter
Dear Trip Two,
Hope you’re all enjoying your air conditioning and rest. Hope you’ve recovered from the jet lag.
Hope school is treating you well, and that your dogs and cats are as cute as ever.
This trip was a huge bonding experience for you—we expect some of you will be friends
forever, even if that just means the random elephant pic showing up in your memories.
Some of you pushed yourselves to your limits and we couldn’t be prouder. Those of you who cut grass like there was no tomorrow, dug a salt lick like you were trying to get to the other side of the world, got your hands dirty and held onto that rope bridge despite everyone pushing and pulling it every which way.
The community service we did was hard, but who else can say they helped Ourland Kuiburi
mere weeks after it was founded? We dug a lake, guys! Or at least, we started one. Elephants
will drink out of it someday, and maybe wherever you are you’ll know that they’re getting the
water they need because of that hard work you put in during the summer of 2019.
We’re excited to see what you do and where you go—inevitably you’ll have to face some hard
ideas, some difficult truths, participate in conversations that make you uncomfortable.
That’s Ok-that’s how we grow. That’s how we move forward as individuals, as a community, as a
species. We hope the program has helped you face some of those truths, because if we work
together to conserve and live sustainably we can make this planet a better place not only for the cute elephants that charged at us in Elephant World, but also for the banteng, for the gaur, for the Siamese cobra, for our fellow humans.
And don’t we all deserve a better world?
Some moments we’ll remember forever:
-The cabaret show
-Saying goodbye to Alisia
-Tying each other’s hair at Erawan Princess
-Staring down the Milky Way from a water tower in Kuiburi
-Matt’s bat facts
-Amber the spider whisperer
-The meditation after we built the dam
-Kaidan making it across the rope bridge!
-Floating down the river
-Phoebe and Sydney riding bikes for the first time!
-Dancing to make mud bricks
-Izzy’s strength at the hospital
-Imi and Phoebe blessing us with serenades
-Pinam’s fan club
-Written by Kira
Thursday July 11, 2019
Welcome to Thailand! After some seriously long flights, a couple baggage errors, and even a missed flight, all students have finally arrived and are thriving. Orientation is complete and the swimming tests have been passed. After creating a group contract, our group will be ready to go north to Kanchanaburi. Our first stop along the way of course is Our Land.
In the past day we have talked about the ethics and rules of our program, with an emphasis to create a safe space for students. Along with this we also talked about the cultural do’s and dont’s of Thailand.
Tonight we will take a boat to Asiatique market for dinner and our first round of shopping. It’s been a busy day but all are well and excited for the journey to come.
Friday July 12, 2019
After a long 2 days of traveling, today was the first day in which the entire group was together. After a delicious breakfast with selections from tofu pad Thai to watermelon and rambutan fruits, it was time for orientation.
One of the main purposes of orientation was to become educated on the cultural norms that exist here in Thailand and acknowledge the differences between here and our home countries. With a wonderful presentation from Vijo, our trip leader and Thailand expert, we learned how to do the signature hello and goodbye here in Thailand : The Wai.
The Wai is a sign of respect to the natives here, and by us doing the traditional bow, we are showing our appreciation of the culture while also furthering our immersion into the culture. We also learned how to say certain phrases such as “thank you” and “excuse me,” as we will be using these a lot throughout our trip.
An interesting difference that exists between Thailand and where we all come from is feet are a very big deal in regards to respect. You must take off your shoes before entering certain buildings and be conscious of the way your feet are facing. During orientation we also went over the basic rules of the trip to make sure everyone was on the same page.
After a long day of listening, we got to cool it off in the pool with our swim test! Thankfully, everyone passed and will be ready to swim when it comes up later in the trip! We finished off the day with taking a boat ride to Asiatique where we had a traditional Thai dinner followed by a walk around an impressive market. We bought everything from clothes to fruit and even tried durian, the smelliest fruit. Then we headed back to the hotel for bed so we can rest up and reset for a fantastic day tomorrow!
Happy birthday Claire!
Saturday July 13, 2019
Today we woke up, ate breakfast, and visited a bunch of Thailand’s beautiful temples! I’ve never sweat so much in my whole life, but it was beyond worth it! 99.8% of the people here follow the teachings of Buddhism, so this is a ginormous part of Thai culture. It was so special to get a peek into something so near to Thai people’s hearts and culture, and I felt so privileged to have this opportunity.
We had lunch between temple visits at a local restaurant, where we got to practice some of the Thai we’ve learned thus far (hello, thank you, delicious, etc), and eat the most wonderful thing ever: MANGO STICKY RICE!!! It was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever tasted, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.
After our visit, we hopped back into our vans and went back to our home base for some swim time before dinner. The restaurant we went to was walking distance from the hotel, so we walked single file down Thailand’s streets taking in the night life: neon store fronts selling fragrant fruits like mango, dragon fruit, and guava, Thai people sitting and laughing with one another on sidewalks, and motorcycles wizzing by. We stopped at a fruit market and a convenience store on our way home to pick up some Thai snacks before going to bed. For many of us, our jet lag had finally begun to subside, so sleeping has become less of an obstacle!
Sunday July 14, 2019
Today was day 3 of exploring Thailand! Everyone woke up early for a delicious breakfast at the hotel, then we packed our bags and prepared to leave the city of Bangkok. It was a 2 hour drive to Kanchanaburi, where we stopped to eat lunch at a restaurant overlooking a beautiful river. We ate an assortment of soups, vegetable salads, fish, and fresh fruit.
After lunch, we went to a bridge next to the restaurant, The Bridge over River Qwai, and learned some of the history about it. Then we loaded back into the vans, and headed toward the river we would be floating down.
When we got to the river, we met some of the staff that worked at Our Land, who taught us a few species of birds to look out for on the water. We separated into two groups and put our life jackets on (diaper style) then got into the water. It was a beautiful 40 minute float down, in which some moments were very peaceful.
When we arrived at Our Land, we swam to the shore, and took a 20 minute walk through the jungle. On the way, we learned all sorts of interesting facts about the plants and animals that lived there, and how deforestation harms them. When we got there, we were given a tour of the place we would be staying at for the next few days and ate another wonderful meal that was prepared for us. After dinner, we sat around the campfire, singing songs, and playing instruments. By now we were all very tired from the long day, so we headed back to our rooms for a good nights rest!
Monday July 15, 2019
Today was by far the most eventful day so far, so be ready to join in on this adventure. As always we started off with an early breakfast before heading off to Ourland for our snake course. I was surprised to hear that more people in the group were interested in the snakes rather than scared. Both Vejo and Randi educated us on the snakes of Thailand combined with a bit of general information, much more than I’m about to share.
There are 200 snake species in Thailand and 60 of them are venomous. Within a year there are 15,000 snakes bites, but only 20 to 40 deaths. There are many reasons as to why the deaths are so low, but if you were to be bitten by a snake you would perform pressure and immobilization. The first step in pressure and immobilization is DO NOT PANIC!
After you avoid panicking you will, starting at the bite, take a sort of ace bandage and wrap it up the limb. Following the first wrap you put a stick on the limb and wrap a second bandage around it to prevent movement. You then avoid using the limb.
Following the snake course we learned about the human wild elephant conflict. The human wild elephant conflict is in short a fight for space. Farms take up a lot of land in Thailand and Elephants try to cross the land whether for water, food, etc. The farmers usually scare them off by using firecrackers, shooting firearms in the air, or electric fences.
Recently they have been changing their tactics. Farmers can hang beehives tied together, so when elephants try to cross the hives are pulled together, the bees will get irritated causing them to sting the elephant and irritate the elephant in return.
After learning about human wild elephant conflict we headed over to the tree nursery. At the tree nursery we first learned that there are 60 tree spcies, most of which are endangered. The trees take 6-8 months to grow enough to be replanted in the wild. We learned about the amount of sunlight the trees need to grow in their different stages and how you transfer them from one spot to the other.
Next up, the dam. We trekked off into the forest where we found a stream damned up into several water holes. The water was down due to the lack of rain, but nonetheless very important. The “water holes” help animals, such as elephants, and trees to easily access water. So, we lined up in what could be known as an assembly line to pass many rocks down the hill into the wire fence that creates the mold for the dam.
When we successfully moved hundreds of rocks into a dam, we proceeded to hike further into the forest. We stopped in a beautiful spot of the forest where we sat to meditate, appreciate where we are and the goals we’re accomplishing. At the end of the day, Devin seperated us into groups for an interesting debate, to say the least. We enjoyed our dinner and grouped by the fire to relax before our next earth changing adventure.
Tuesday July 16, 2019
Today was a really interesting and fun day! We first started off our day with some great breakfast of rice, bread, and eggs. Breakfast is really fun for everyone to hang out and talk before starting the day. After breakfast we headed over to sanctuary for a critically endangered species of cow called the Banteng.
At the sanctuary we had a crash coarse on the animals and what is being done to repopulate the species. We found out that, since most of the Banteng are bread and kept in captivity for the majority of their life, the best way to reintroduce them to the wild is by gently taking away human contact and getting them used to the idea of finding food by themselves and being alone in the wild.
After our crash course we went to actually see the animals up close. They were really beautiful. The women have lighter skin and horns that point upward a bit and the males had dark skin with horns that pointed directly at eachother. While we were looking at them it started to rain a bit. It was actually really nice rain. It was warm and made all the plants around us pop.
After we went to see the Banteng we headed over to make seed bombs and salt licks. This was a really fun and cool activity. To make seed bombs we used clay, fertilizer and seeds. We flattened out a tiny peice of clay, put fertilizer on it, put a seed in it and then rolled it up into a ball. We made about one-hundred of these up to the point where it stained our hands red from the clay. After making them, we set them aside to dry and moved on to make the salt licks. To make a salt lick we smashed a block of condensed minerals and a bag of salt in this big stone bowl with a giant wooden paddle. Making these was a really good activity that taught us new ways that we can help the environment.
At about 12 in the afternoon we started our hike. It was really long in the beginning. A lot of us kept getting bit by fire ants. On one part of our hike, we stopped and grabbed slingshots to shoot the clay seed balls into random parts of the jungle. This was such a cool and interesting activity that was fun and taught us something. After our little break of slingshotting, we continued our path to a river. At the river, Vijo showed us how to best take in the moment and live in the present by meditating and listening to the sounds and smells around you. It was very relaxing and nice to just stop for a second and take everything in.
Once we finished meditating, we sat down for lunch next to the river. Lunch is always a really fun time for our group. It allows for everyone to talk and play and talk about the day ahead and what we look forward to. After lunch, we stopped at some dirt patches where we turned up the dirt in a circle and poured our salt lick mixture into the dirt and mixed it around. This is so different animals can get the minerals they need from watering holes like these when it rains. The hike ended pretty quickly after that at which point we headed to the river to zip line and climb ropes. Everyone got really muddy and wet, it was so much fun.
When we were done at the river, we finally got back in the vans and started to head back to Ourland. On the way we stopped at 7-11 and some outdoor markets where we got food and clothes. At Ourland, we ate a really good dinner of noodle soup and celebrated Phoebes 18th birthday with an amazing cake. After, we all went around the bondfire to play cards, talk, and hang out. It was a really fun and adventurous day that was super exciting and taught everyone a lot of things.
– by Dylan
Wednesday July 17, 2019
This morning we woke up and ate breakfast at the erawan princess hotel & enjoyed some good food to energize us for the day ahead. We then travelled to the Phra That cave where we hiked up 600 meters of stairs (a killer workout) and we were able to explore the huge cave. We learned about limestone, stalagmites, stalactites, and more. The cave was filled with incredible formations and the bats were ubiquitous, as was their guano.
Next we went back down and got a delicious Thai lunch in the Erawan National Park before looking around the nearby shops. Afterwards we started up to the Erawan waterfall which has seven different levels to visit. Some groups went all the way up to the seventh level, where a monkey was spotted, and other groups stayed near the third and fourth levels. We let the fish nibble at our feet as if we were at a spa and we slid down natural rock slides.
After having our fun at the waterfall, we hiked back down and headed to OurLand. There we had an interesting discussion on eating ethically and the questions that come along with it. Then we enjoyed a delicious vegetarian dinner and later relaxed by the fire. The day was filled with adventure!
– by Annie
Thursday July 18, 2019
Challenges. Today was full of challenges. But it was also full to the brim with rewarding moments. From biking 8 miles through the beautiful Thai country side to floating down the river Khwae to doing volunteer work at the Thai military sustainability facility.
Today started bright and early, like usual, we charged up with breakfast and headed out to take on the bike trails. Many of us were afraid and skeptical about the long trek, but most of us powered through it, and everyone who finished agreed that it was well worth the physical strain. We couldn’t stop smiling at the gorgeous sites surrounding us. A few of us may have gotten a bit of sun on our arms and cheeks, and a couple of us took some diggers. But we all made it to the river one way or another.
The float was much needed after all that expended energy. We geared up and set sail on bamboo rafts made by our guides. And then jumped off the rafts only to find out just how brutal lifejacket wedgies can be.
We were greeted by our first downpour of the trip as we sat in a beautiful open air restaurant that served us some absolutely delicious Thai food! The rain stopped by the time we left the restaurant and headed to the military base! What perfect luck!
Tiredness may have been circulating through the group but once we were put to work, we all seemed to get our second wind. We were split into groups and assigned to three different stations. Mud brick making, charcoal deodorizers, and another, different type of brick making using cement and dirt. I think I speak for all of us when I say it was so humbling to make something like a brick from scratch. The soldiers were kind, and showed us around the facility. We got to see some of their farm land, pet some piglets, and learn a little about water buffalo.
Just as we thought the day couldn’t get any better, Vijo brought us to one of his favorite view points where we saw an incredible sunset. We learned about the history of the spot, which used to be a vantage point for Thai soldiers to spot invaders.
Our mentors practically had to drag us off the mountain, but then Vijo treated us to dinner at his house which was an authentic Thai style fried noodle dish, and of course, Phi Nom, was there cracking jokes, and making us smile. Now, back to the hotel for some much needed rest and recharge for tomorrow!
Friday July 19, 2019
Hi GLA families, it’s Claire!
Today was a packed day!
Waking up bright and early this morning, everyone remembered it was laundry day. So exciting! With our laundry in tow we headed off to breakfast. After breakfast we headed to OurLand nature reserve for the final time. Everyone gave %100 on the service.
We had three different projects, we split into three teams and everyone was able to rotate through the projects. My group worked in building the tree nursery first. We dug a small trench along the border of the nursery so the next group could build the wall. After that, our group headed over to learn how to properly plant trees, then we took off into the jungle looking for spaces to plant them. Finally, we finished cleaning the salt lick of mud and rocks, so the elephants passing through OurLand could enjoy it more. We ate our final meal of rice,tofu, and vegetables with the OurLand staff, then we said our thank yous and goodbyes.
After that we loaded into the vans and took off for our kayaking expedition. Kayaking was so fun! Me and my partner Sydney tipped over twice and it was such an arm workout.
Then we headed back to the hotel for dinner. It’s pizza night!
Very fun day!
Saturday July 20, 2019
Day ten was quite eventful. After eating breakfast, Vijo talked to us about captive elephants, and why they aren’t domestic. Next, we took vans to elephants world. On the drive in, we saw Asian elephants in person for the first time on the trip. We put our bags at one of the dorms and moved to the observation deck, where we watched elephants followed by their mahouts, and were able to feed pineapples and watermelons to the elephants that came closer. The elephants preferred the watermelons.
After feeding the elephants, we walked down to the river and saw elephants being bathed, then met and fed two baby elephants and their mothers. We then cooked banana sticky rice for an elephant to eat. We ate a filling lunch, fed our cooking to one of the elephants, and then made our way down to the grass farm, where we cut bana grass. I managed to take down an entire cluster with one swing of my butcher’s knife.
After what seemed like only five minutes (but was probably much longer), we made our way to the river. We began giving one of the elephants a mud bath, but this quickly developed into a mud fight. As soon as we moved to the river to wash mud off of the elephants, it started raining, and the fight continued, but with water instead. After we finished washing and brushing the elephants in the river, we jumped into the water from the two diving platforms. Some people also decided to use the rope swing to swing into the river.
The weather cleared, and we met the sanctuary’s founder, Dr. Samart, and asked him questions about the sanctuary and it’s history. We had some down time after we settled into our rooms. At approximately 5:30, we were called over to have a discussion about elephant sanctuaries. It revealed some of the sad realities of the lives of domestic elephants. We discussed how much human contact elephants should have, the situations they were in before and after being in sanctuary, human-elephant conflict, the objectives of organizations and businesses, among other things. Some people even noticed some things they found unsettling about the sanctuary. This entire discussion reminded us that no solution can satisfy all parties, and why elephant sanctuaries are generally seen as the best option for captive elephants.
We ate a hearty dinner, and then finished off the night with two videos about international service, and the “don’t help when help isn’t wanted” philosophy. We ended the day by going to bed an hour early.
– by Matt
Sunday July 21, 2019
During our GLA trip today we learned by observing the elephants in Elephants World. Lots of the students here seemed eager to learn more about these wonderful creatures. We talked about elephant anatomy. We learned a lot of new interesting facts about the elephant like they can lift up to 1,000 pounds because they have 40,000 muscles in their trunk. Also, the fact that wild elephants have a shorter life span than captive elephants.
Today we have seen elephants for what they truly are. We have seen them as living creatures trying to survive, just like us. It’s truly remarkable seeing all their different sides. Their energy is incredible. I could feel what they felt and that was very special. We are still learning about them and how they live in general. I’m a feelings person so I want to learn about how they feel, their behavior patterns, and their emotions.
– by Tara
Monday July 22, 2019
Today was a day of service as after finishing breakfast we were immediately taken out to a field of bana grass. Once at the field Dee, a staff member at Elephantsworld, explained how to chop down a stalk of bana grass, and separate the mothergrass from the leafy tips. The mother grass would be used for planting a new field, and the tips could be fed straight to the elephants. The technique was to cut down straight and swift as to make a clean cut that would encourage growth.
After loading up the truck with chopped bana grass, we drove back to Elephantsworld and got to planting a new feild with the collected mothergrass. First brown leaves were removed from the stalk, and than the stalks were laid side by side in shallow dirt trenches. Finally surrounding dirt was pushed over the mothergrass with a hoe. Once the work was finished it was time for lunch back at Elephants world.
The afternoon sent us back out to the bana grass field we were chopping before. This time we were instructed not to separate the mother grass, but just cut down and collect the stalks. I found cutting down the grass to be fun as well as satisfying. When the truck was filled to the brim with bana grass we started back towards Elephantsworld to feed the elephants.
First we unloaded some grass for three elephants near the river, before driving up near the lobby to feed the baby elephants. Both baby elephants and their mothers were released into the field to eat the bana grass. The little ones played around and the mothers watched and protected them. After the babies were done, the final drop was at another herd of three elephants, one of which Gai-na is easily recognizable due to her stumped tail.
After this dinner commenced, with a tasty BBQ prepared by the staff. We all had some free time to try out some friendship yoga and massage techniques (stepping on each other’s backs). And after a bit of time and a movie, “Hunt for the Wilder People”, we all bid the day farewell and went to bed.
Tuesday July 23, 2019
So we woke up in Elephant World in a hurry to quickly pack and get to breakfast. Here we had lots of rice, as usual, fried eggs, boiled eggs, french toast, fried bread and watermelon. Before we knew it we were on our way to Yoko resort.
Once we settled there we went to Elephant Haven. Here we had a fun day alongside Asian Elephants. We made sticky rice balls and cut watermelon for them. After feeding the elephants we ate an all vegetarian meal. Then we joined other students for some fun in the mud and the river.
After such a long day we just wanted to sleep, but theres more. We spent some time in in the resort and then went back to Elephant haven. Had a short cooking lesson and then settled down for dinner. After all this, we finally went back to the resort.
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today was our 2nd and final day at elephant haven. To start our day, we ventured out into the fields to cut grass for the elephants to snack on. Even though the grass was super scratchy and irritating, the group persevered and gathered as much grass as possible for the elephants.
After a morning of service, we then took an afternoon break to visit the Krasae cave where a giant Buddha structure lies with beautiful decorations surrounding the structure. Right outside the cave is the death railway, which is famous from WW2 for having prisoners create the railway. It overlooked a beautiful scenic river with some huts on the water. We then proceeded to shop at a market that was in the area and people bought things such as skirts and souvenirs.
After our break, we went back to elephant haven for lunch. Once we finished eating we headed back out to the fields to plant some banana trees for the elephants. After a days worth of hard work, we cooled off in the river with a fun swim. To finish off the day we got to have something we all have been missing.. pizza for dinner!
Thursday July 24, 2019
Today we woke up dark and early at 4:45 to catch a train to Kanchanaburi. This railroad is known as the death railroad, and was built by Japan (specifically there war prisoners) during world war 2. It is known as the death railroad due to the fact that over 300,000 people lost there lives in the construction of the railroad.
We got off the train after crossing the river Kwai, and returned to the same market square that we had visited on our first day in Kanchanaburi. In a way this brought our experience in Kanchanaburi to a perfect close and started the next leg of our journey.
After a 5 hour car ride we arrived in Kui Buri. Kui Buri is very different from Kanchanaburi, the rich diverse forests faded away to vast fields of farmland. Everyone was starving and excited for the meal laid out for us.
After lunch we made pineapple paper. Pineapple paper is exactly what it sounds like, paper made from pineapple. We made the paper from the spiked leaves of the fruit, hitting them against bricks until they frayed. The second step is boiling the fibers of the leaves into a pulp. The pulp is then taken and filtered until it is thick slime, with no giant pieces of leaf. The substance is then poured into a wire frame then left to dry, or designed.
Finally we got in trucks and ventured into Kui Buri national park where we got to see wild elephants and learn about how the community and government had come together to create a national park that would still benefit there economy. It was amazing and a wonderful way to bring our experience with elephants full circle.
We ended the night by eating dinner at a farm house, and reflecting on the day.
Friday July 26, 2019
Today the morning was split. Whilst the majority of us were unconscious drooling on our pillow from the early start he day before, the rest left at 5:45 and took a tractor up a hill overlooking the mountains to have breakfast. As I was fast asleep at this point and looked like I’de just been shot with a tranquilliser dart, I had my friend Phoebe explain what happened: “We had a little taste of home up there” she said whilst Fiona presented me with a picture of the sunrise, Vijo also led a meditation and the whole experience was “just a really nice way to start the day”. On the way back a few of them got to drive the tractor with supervision, and when getting ready to drive Izzi asked “which ones the gas” to which the driver just said yes.
After the rest of us had finally gotten up and had breakfast we all went to help the community plant trees. This was a government initiative but they kindly let us tag along.
Next we helped make rubber and fertiliser by separating worms from fertilised soil (there were so many).
After this we drove a little down the road in the ‘Swaggen Waggen’ where we learned how to carve wood then auctioned off the piece we all contributed to making. the wooden cup went for 2000 baht. Unfortunately I couldn’t take part in this activity as the noise from the drill gave me over-stim, but I was very impressed by the carving everyone had made.
After lunch we started the first piece of work on Ourland’s newly acquired land. We dug out a stream and collected rocks so we could build a dam to collect water when it rains to support reforestation efforts. Kaidan continued to prove that he is Pi Nom in disguise by pulling our weight as if his hands weren’t already covered in blisters.
We went on our second safari and saw more Gaur, Elephants, and Banteng. We ate dinner then had some free time to enjoy the last moments of this beautiful land. We also went out at night for an hour to see elephants and stargaze. Vijo spotted some lights in the jungle that belonged to illegal hunters so he shined a light back at them and scared them all into turning them off.
Saturday July 27, 2019
After a good nights sleep we all awoke for a delicious breakfast and went on our way to our next stop: Hua Hin.
The hour long drive to our hike was filled with music and some chattering, but mostly naps. when we finally reached the beach we all stopped to use the bathroom and look around the few shops that were open. Next, we got on a short boat ride to the beach and started our hike!
The short hike was mainly stairs made of rocks with many places for many of us to stop and catch our breath. When we finally made it to the cave, the sight was breathtaking. This particular cave had a pavilion in it that was made by King Rama 5 and was signed by most of the kings after him.
We made it back to the beach for some lunch and time to hang out on the beach before heading back on the boat to the hotel.
We spent a little time in our rooms before enjoying some Italian dinner and headed back to our rooms for a nice long night of sleep.
Sunday July 28, 2019
Today we woke up to a delicious breakfast in our amazing hotel in Hua Hin. We then went on a fairly long car ride to a very steep and short hike. The views were stunning and after the site seeing we then made our way down back to our vans. We met up with the people that opted out of the hike. After everyone made their way down we then got into our vans and drove off to a delicious lunch.
Our lunch was very delicious with several different options that were available. These included cashew chicken, soup, vegetables, and many other traditional Thai dishes. We then ventured out to the markets near by the restaurant and looked at many traditional Thai antiques. After all of the exploring we then looked for a place to chill on the beach.
When we arrived at the beach everyone stepped into the ocean and swam. We then encountered many live sand dollars. Many of us had never encountered a live sand dollar which was a very special moment for many of us. We then walked along the beach and went across the street to the many markets lined up against the ocean.
After all of that we got into our vans once more and had a 45 minute drive back to our hotel in which many of us took a nap from the eventful day. Once we arrived at the hotel we had free time and socialized.
After free time we met in the lobby and got into our vans for the market which we would spend money on dinner. Once we arrived we split into groups of four and explored the many shops at the local Hua Hin market. After all of our adventure throughout the day we arrived at the hotel happy and worn out. But we all had a eventful and exciting day.
– by Noah Wagner
Monday July 29, 2019
The day began as pleasantly as it could, with us being woken up by a combination of the Thailand sun and various alarms for breakfast. Preparing to move on from our current hotel, we all rushed to pack our bags, while those who were more prepared watched. Dylan even went out of her way to assist Isabelle with her bags! What great connections we have made here!
After packing both the bags and the vans with those bags, we set out for the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, a place dedicated to the preservation and medical treatment of exotic animals. Ironically, despite elephants being both present and cared for here, elephants in Thailand are considered livestock! Imagine back home, farmers herding groups of elephants as if they were sheep! Anyway, other creatures we saw included a wounded tiger, various monkeys and apes, parrots, a crocodile, some moon and sun bears, iguana, and a peculiar bird that looked like a crossover between a dinosaur and Kevin the bird from Up called a cassowary. We also learned quite explicitly how much Grace does not… like monkeys.
After leaving the animals in the care of the WFFT, we ate lunch in their state of the art cafeteria/bar(don’t worry parents, only soda was sold) and took pictures of elephants we could see in the distance. After the gourmet food, we all piled into the vans like fish in a barrel. After that, we all confronted Bangkok traffic head on. It was a valiant effort, but soon we grew restless from being cramped for so long in the vans. To solve this, we did pit stops and talked to each other in the car to not get bored. Myself, Jo, Kate, Annie, Dylan, and Sofia all had a blast this way. This all culminated in us arriving at the same hotel we started our trip at!
Pleased to see such a familiar sight, we all roomed up and helped each other with bags. Careful not to overload the elevator(to avoid what happened last time) we got roomed, and then met up downstairs after an hour and a half of free time. Dinner commenced, and we then went into separate groups to both reflect on the trip, and make future goals for later in life. We then split up into two groups: one who wished to discuss further, and one who wanted free time by the pool. The pool area was bustling with conversation, and a few tears as well, since Alisia would be leaving us on the morrow. Sad, but remembering the good times, we each said an early goodbye, and then goodnight.
Blog post by Aidan Grant
Our last full day in Thailand was very eventful! We started our day with a breakfast at the Witchuwan hotel. We then headed over to a fruit market where we spend half an hour walking around, trying new products until we moved on to the next market. The next market was much bigger and had many different stores with multiple local artisans. We split up into smaller groups and wandered around this market for most of the day exploring and buying souvenirs. We ended our outing at the markets with ice cream before heading back to the hotel.
Once we arrived at the hotel we completed a survey about the trip and had a couple hours of free time. During this free time we made sure to spend very last minute appreciating the time we had left with one an other. We then ended the day with a dinner cruise where we enjoyed our time singing, dancing, and saying our last goodbyes!