Hi Everyone! Thanks for all of the comments on my previous posts, keep them coming!
Needless to say the resort was beautiful. It was a few hours southwest of Bangkok out in a mountainous region. The mornings and nights were much cooler and the temperature probably dropped down to the high 60s which is colder than I ever thought I would see it get in Thailand. The purpose of spending the weekend at the resort was for team building/ orientation. As soon as we got on the busses we were thrown in to a countless number of get-to-know-you games and I immediately met many of the Thai students. It can be difficult to remember names because their full names are on their name tags and almost all Thai people have nicknames because there given names are so long. For example, my group members names are Orachitr Bijaisoradat (who goes by Ju), Nachnicha Kongkatigumjorn (Fang), and Kunathon Wattanavit (Non). They say that sometimes even their really close friends can’t remember their full names. So all of the WPI students would look at the BSAC student nametags which didn’t help at all because it didn’t say the names that they actually go by. But besides that detail most of the activities were pretty fun. One of the coolest things we did was a friendship/good luck type of candle-lit ceremony where all of the students lined up in rows in front of the ajarns (professors) and they tied a white rope bracelet around our wrists to symbolize the friendships we will develop here and to wish us good luck on our projects.
Not only did we do a lot of team building with all of the BSAC students as a whole, but we also got the chance to meet our group members for the first time, as I said their names are Ju, Fang, and Non. Here is a picture of all of us and one of the advisors at the resort:
At the resort it was pretty much a full time schedule of team building activities and breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. The food was great and there was a large selection. At night there were activities like karaoke. The hotel rooms at the resort were much nicer than our rooms at the Reno Hotel where we are living for two months. There were huge bathtubs, balconies, rain showers etc. However, I am getting use to living at the Reno and the rooms really aren’t that bad (although I just had to buy a mattress pad, a disadvantage of having nice mattresses all my life). At least now I know how to take a hot shower (I was turning the faucet in the normal direction which I didn’t know was actually making it colder). Also at the resort, during our very limited hours of “free time”, I was able to go zip-lining (what they call “flying fox”). It cost 200 baht, roughly $6.50. We didn’t know before hand but in order to get to the zip-line platform we had to go on a short high ropes course the involved climbing on a suspended rope net and a ladder bridge, both pretty high up in the air. Our harnesses were hooked on to a line above incase we fell. Once we completed this we got to the zip-line platform and had about a 30 second zip-line ride that was completely across water. I had never gone before so even though it was a relatively short and simple zip-line it was still fun. Here is a picture of us on the "bus" to go zip-line.
After we left the resort around 11am Sunday morning we made two stops, one at a fishing village to have lunch and one at a famous floating market. At the fishing village we ate at a family style restaurant that mainly had locals eating at it. When we got there they had everything ready to go for us. Two large bowls of white rice (a staple of every meal here), a large whole fish (I don’t know what kind), boiled squid, small whole fish (their version of tuna), whole large shrimp, and some unidentifiable seafood dish that looked like worms kind of that they told us was some sort of shellfish. There was also a soup that contained pretty much all of the stuff I mentioned but in a broth. All of the food was interesting to say the least. I ate mainly white rice and a simple vegetable dish that came with it along with apples for dessert. I did try a piece of the large fish though that was pretty good. I think I would have been braver if all of the food wasn’t in whole form and it was just served in small pieces, but maybe next time. A lot of the WPI kids at my table actually really liked a lot of it. This was really our first “authentic” Thai seafood meal. (I will add a picture to this post once I find one).
After we finished lunch we got back on the bus and headed to the Amphawa Floating Market. This is a very popular destination for both tourists and Bangkok locals. It was a very unique place with things to buy for what seemed like miles along a canal. Not only were there stores and vendors on the side of the canal but also people in boats who pull up to where people walk and try to sell their food. Here is a link to the market so you can check it out before I am able to post pictures (which I will do when I find some later).
Thank you all for reading my blog and posting! I will try to post as much as possible but project work has already started and we are supposed to keep 50 hour work weeks (we’ll see about that haha). In the next post I will tell you more about what I did Monday and Tuesday and how my project is coming along.