There are always those cities or places around the world where you instantly feel a connection and linger thoughts always remain. For me, one of those places is Koh Chang, Thailand.
The University took 10 of us to Harvest Rice at the other Campus, Rangsit. It is a 45 Minute drive from our downtown campus out into the middle of no where. But this campus is HUGE and very very nice!! So why did I harvest rice? WHY NOT?!?! hahah So we were given these sharp hooked gadgets and told to grab a hold of the rice and then cut it near the bottom and pile it up. We did an entire field! See all of the people helping?? That entire field was all cut by the end!! How fantastic! And and and! Our exchange student group were the frist ones to cross the entire field!! 🙂 Yay us! It was a very nice experience! But it was extremely hot! And that one handful of rice I am holding….that huge amount will ONLY make about one bowl of rice!! There must be ALOT of rice workers slaving away! It is HARD work!! But definitly a fun experience! Also, there were water buffalo just strolling around us as we worked. haha, what a life. they were watching us work wondering why we were taking over their job for them!! haha
OUr univeristy hosted a cooking day for us. they took us to a fantastic market and then took us to the head coordinator, Pi Maa’s, house to cook. I was in charge of peeling the shrimp! I could handle that. We were shown how to cook Pad Thai, Tomyum Soup, and Mango with Sticky Rice!
This is mango with sticky rice! OMG it is faaaaaaaaantastic. It is basically just rice coconut milk and sugar, but it sure makes for one delicious snack!!
On our way back from Pi Maa;s house, just as we were crossing the bridge to our apartment, we hear a HUGE bang and our driver pulls over. This is what the bang was! Our tire blew!! haha. So the driver started to call people to come help, but two of our exchangers, Dhruv and Bruno, busted out the manly skills and changed out tire for us!! Who knew boys were so handy!! haha it was great!!
Last week we all went to a pool party hosted by the other university, Chula, in Bangkok. It was a pool party hosted at a hotel with the pool on the rooftop! How amazing. This is a shot of the pool with a bunch of people around. There was free alcohol and food for the evening at a cost of…..zero dollars!! They were charging 500 Baht ($15), but there wasnt anybody at the pay table when I entered so a group of us just got in for free!! It was great!! This is Eli and I at the pool party. Eli goes to Western in London Ontario. My fellow Canadian!! Woot! haha
So we went to the Khao Yai National Park over the weekend! Lions and Tigers and Bears oh MY!
There were actually Tigers there. So between 5 and 6 PM we werent allowed to wander too far since that is Tiger feeding time. Woot!
We slept in tents since that was the cheapest. And really…it WAS the cheapest….since it rained for about an hour. and when I say rain I mean flooding rain – cause thats what happens here. So it was just storming away and Paige and I are sitting in our tent and then it starts to drip on us. haha From the top centre and every corner leaked. So we shuved out towels in the corners and put a towel in the centre. Just to soak it up. It was manageable and we did not get wet.
Later when it cleared up we went for a 3.4KM hike. This was a nice journey to a waterfall which was in the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DeCaprio. Woot! But along the entire route were signs that said Beware of Crocodiles! We were walking ALONG side a swampy area with nothing but a little rope blocking the way into the swamp. One sign wouldnt of been to bad. But these signs were every 20 feet. So we picked up the pace a little since we were getting hungry and didnt want to be somebody elses lunch! Ok at times we started to run. So what. Crocodiles are creepy. But we did not run into any luckily. haha.
Around the park we just hitchhiked everywhere. Sounds strange but the security gaurd said to us “No, dont walk thats dangerous. Hitch hike; its safer”. haha Not every day you hear that. So basically we flagged down vehicles and asked them to take us where ever they were going. Since one of the waterfalls was 23KM away. It was the huge 5 tiered one too! There are photos of the group of us at it. But you can only see the one tier of it since the other tiers were closed down, atleast the viewing points were.
Then Lonely Planet told us there were Bat caves 3KM outside of the park. So we started to hike there. Along the way we talked to street vendors who told us it was 3KM to the entrance, but another 3KM in that road. So ugh. it wouldnt be possible to hike that far with the bats coming out around 6PM. Then we ran into a vehicle with Angeline and Hafidz inside, and the guy was nice enough to drive us out to the bat caves, atleast, we thought it was the bat caves. Instead we got taken to somebodys house, and there, we spoke to the people living there and they said they’d take us up to mountain. Oh yay! Well, up the mountain, really does mean UP the mountain. It was STRAIGHT up, full out rock climbing, with no gear, and multiple trees that we had to swing around and hope that we did not fall to a bumpy rocky death. haha It was VERY exhilerating, but WOW! haha so we got to the top, and had to wait for about a half hour until the bats emerged. They came out in SWARMS!! They were SO tiny! but they came out for like 15 minutes straight. Just this HUGE straight line of bats. But the cooelst thing was, from above, owls and hawks were diving straight down through the path of bats trying to catch them to eat them!!! It was such an amazing thing to see!! Then we had to get down the mountain again while the sun was about a SLIVER left in the sky. By about half way down this steep rocky death trap, the sunset and we had to go via flashlight. haha It was extremely tricky and extremely scary, at times I thought I would fall off the mountain. But alas, we all are safe and sound and I cant promise I wouldnt do it again. 😀 sorry mom. haha.
Then we got on a bus. and I feel bad for every person on this bus. because they had to sit next to the 10 of us who must of smelt SO SO SO terrible. Like sweat and guano (bat shit). Just so so so stinky. Poor people. hahah.
WAIT WAIT WAIT. LOOK AT THE MIDDLE PHOTO OF THE CHINESE GUYS! THERE WAS THIS DEER THAT WAS WITHIN TOUCHING REACH,AND THEY HAD THESE GIGANTIC CAMERAS TAKING PHOTOS OF IT FROM SO CLOSE! It was an AMAZZZZZZZZZZZZING morning. like WHO needs a camera THAT big. bhahaha. Compensating much??? hahahha And Deer. Lots of Deer in the park. I really wasnt all that excited to see them. Only the other kids from Ontario and Minnesota were not excited either since well….we see deer all the time. hah. nothing new there. but those cameras…..oh god…..what a morning.
MONKEYS MONKEYS MONKEYS!!!!!!! We got to feed the Monkeys bananas! They are cute but also very creepy! they guy told us they would not bute or anything, they just wanted the food, and that they were afraid of us – but him hitting them with that life jacket doesnt seem like they are all that friendly!! haha. Also – the big monkeys would try to drown the little monkeys when they came out to get the bananas! It was terrifying!! the poor little things squeeled so loud! haha but monkeys – neat but creepy!!
This is us going back to our hut after our muddy fun!! 🙂 Pretty sunset over the muddyness! haha
So We decided we did not want to stay in Bangkok for the weekend. So 6 of us left town on a 10 Baht (33 cent) Train ride, 5 Baht Ferry, and another 10 Baht Train ride until we arrived at Klong Khone. A little place in the middle of nowhere that has a Monkey Island! Monkeys Monkeys Monkeys!!!
This is the pretty railway station that we had to wait around at for a few hours until the next train arrived to take us to Klong Khone. While we waited – we ate Mangos! Yum!
So this is the craziest thing! Our train had JUST arrived – like 2 minutes before, and we passed through on these tracks…but the tracks have a market on them! Yes I know they do! The market was pulled back the tarps and everything for the train to pass through and then immediately afterwards the market is put back over the tracks!!! It was a really nice market as well!! But how crazy – who thought to build a market on train tracks???