Alright. At last. After months of waiting – here it is! This entry is entirely about the Nan Expedition which took place during June 26th to July 4th. I’ll write about some of the previous stuff later since this one is [I believe] the biggest event that happened for the past seven months [except for my IGCSE's, of course]. So, first of all, I moved from Xanga to BLOGGER because I just think that Blogger is much better. Easier to handle and we can do many things with it. Because this is Blogger now, you can leave a comment after the entries, which means that you don’t need an account to leave a comment, like Xanga. So leave some comments for each of the entries! The next thing is, I just turned 16 on July 13, and I would just like to thank all the people that said “Happy Birthday” to me – Mandy [who called right before midnight to say so], Boom [who messaged me right at midnight], Tanya, Raghav, Tan, Rose, Mek, Prim [all of whom messaged me later during the day], Tent, Amara, Jirayuth, Arielle, Nehal, and all you other guys who said so to me on MSN. Now, the entry. I have decided to separate the photos from the entry so that it’ll be more convenient since I have received [a lot of] comments on how slow my Xanga used to load because there were so many pics. So now I left the photos in a Yahoo Album where you can view it [though people still say that the album itself is taking awhile to load because there are so many pictures]. Anyway, hope you guys like it this way, with the new way I handle the entries and the new site. If you want to view the pictures from other events [Byron House Camp, Thai Rath Trip, Sports Day, May Collection, and others], just go to the album and they’re in different folders. Oh, and THANK YOU, Joe, for giving me some of the pics you took, especially the pics from the rafting sessions. So, here it goes – the day-by-day record of the Nan Expedition, which is now the best school trip I ever had – enjoy!
Click the image above to go to the photo albums.
———- Sunday, June 26, 2005 – Day 1
Thinking that it would take about an hour to get there, we ended up reaching Hualumpong Station in just half an hour and surprisingly, found half of us already there. As time went by, each of the students began to arrive, Nun, Pat, Oat, Bifern, Ta, Kitti, Raghav, Joe, and the rest of the crowd. Each person arrived with something – Syne with Southpark Season 1, 2, and 5 DVD’s that I wanted to borrow, Kitti and this red dot on his head since he just came back from the temple, along with his guitar where Ta hogged for the whole trip, Joe and his waterproof camera [which ended up really handy later during the rafting days], and everyone with these really heavy bags filled with God-knows-what. While we waited for the boarding time, some people went to buy snacks and drinks for the long ten-hour train ride from Bangkok to Den Chai in Prae province up North.
Finally, at 8:10 PM, we slowly walked along the platform and tried to find our train. As soon as we found it, we carried our bags (with all our strength) up the train and walked through the train to find a sitting and sleeping area. Pat and I found a spot and agreed that I would sleep on top and he would sleep at the bottom of the bunk. The rest of the ten-hour train journey was filled with many things – card games [Slave and “Pai Thoap” (Hitting card)], singing, eating, reading some books, signing some people’s friendship books, etc. Oh, and before the trip, Chris mentioned about this “vote” he and his friends had saying that Bifern and I should get together – well, we kind of played back and pretended that we did, which really fooled him! Haha, will tell more about it later. Ever wonder how the bathrooms would look like on a train? Well, remember “The Mummy Returns”? It was something like that – just this whole in the floor that leads to the tracks. Luckily, there were two bathrooms, one with the exact same version like the movie and another with something more like a toilet, which was the one everybody used.
Anyway, before we knew it, it was already 11 and the teachers began chasing us to go to bed. Well, we WERE in our beds but we didn’t sleep! We just ended up talking and playing this “continuing game” [remember, RF?] and I finally gave up and fell asleep at midnight. Now, sleeping on the train is something that is quite fun. You know, the whole thing where you have this tiny little room all to yourself [and it’s quite comfy, too]. Yet, it kind of got annoying especially later when you’ll find yourself constantly waking up at two or three in the morning because the train keeps on making loud noises or making some sharp turns that push you, making you nearly fall off your bed. In my case, I was up on the top bunk, which made me worried about falling off the bunk onto the floor. Anyways, that was it for Day 1, which was filled with all this energy and excitement where we were thriving to find out what is awaiting for us in Nan. Well, all I can say is, by the time we went to bed, we were pretty tired already and that was only 4 hours!
Monday, June 27, 2005 – Day 2
Day 2. We found ourselves up around 5:30 in the morning as we tried with all our strength to keep our eyes open as we brushed our teeth, stand as still as we can as the train shook hardly, and sharing, waiting, and taking turns with the two bathrooms and sinks. Finally at 6, we arrived in Den Chai where we had to go on these really big tour buses. There were two of them so about half of us were in one and the other half in another. The ride was half an hour to this hotel in Prae where we had a quick breakfast. Luckily, Kitti brought some VCDs and we ended up watching “Bruce Almighty” along the way.
After breakfast, we ended taking this two hour ride into Nan where we finished the movie and ended up playing some more of the “continuing game”. As soon as we reached The City Park Hotel in Nan, we got our rooms [Girls – 2nd floor, Boys – 3rd floor]. I ended up staying with Raghav with Gaf and Tian right across the hall from us. Because we were free until noon, we had to find something to entertain ourselves with. So we went down to the pool and played some cards and once we were bored with that, we went to play a little soccer. After finding ourselves bored with the whole kicking the ball and running after it, we moved up to Nun and Bifern’s room  where we just spent time playing cards.
At last, noon – lunch! So, Nun, Pat, Bifern, Ta, Kitti, Gaf, Raghav, Tian, and I went down to the restaurant and found everybody there already. [The nine of us ended up being late for every single meal throughout the whole trip.] Once we were done eating, we were informed that we would be trekking during the afternoon so we should go and change into appropriate clothing. Oh, I forgot to mention, while we played cards at the pool, Gaf’s friend in Nan, M, that he and Por met on Pramool.com came to visit us and informed us that he would bring some KFC for us at night. How nice of him! Anyway, the nine of us boarded our van and it took about 20 to 30 minutes to get to the trekking area.
Once we got there, we were divided into Group A and Group B, which was written on our key cards. Luckily, the nine of us were together along with Jeeb’s group, the Japanese group, and Lewis and Kate [Group A]. So, the trekking began and the long walk up the hills and going into different caves began to tire us. Each of the caves we went into had its own history and story [There were four caves in all]. As we went up each hill, there were these little steps, but the problem was they were muddy and slippery, so we had to hold on to the bars and the rocks next to us, which ended up being quite hard since we each had a bottle of water which we had to hold on to. For one of the caves, there was this little shrine that had bat crap all over the floor. Then the next thing I knew, which practically scared the hell out of me, there were spider webs all over in every single cave. And these weren’t those tiny little spider webs that you see in the corner of your house or anything, these were HUGE and HUMONGOUS, just like Shelob’s in “Lord of the Rings”. Ok, maybe not THAT big but you know what I mean.
Then we saw this really large spider at the size of my hand, which scared the creep out of me. Anyway, we had to bend our backs as we walked through the caves, climb down them, and even crawl through some of the openings just to get in and out of the cave. Honestly, for one of the caves, it made me feel quite claustrophobic since we had to crawl through this really low cave and stand up in this really low and narrow walkway where we had to wait to climb down the stairs, which were really high. I have to admit, this was like some sort of Fear Factor thing with all the spider webs and spiders and bat crap all over. But anyway, the experience was quite fun and by the time we finished the trek, which was about two hours, we found ourselves soaked with sweat and extremely exhausted.
Anyway, Mandy, remember that white shirt you got me? Well, it’s kind of dirty now from this trek, haha… But don’t worry, it was all washed up and is as clean as new. So, back to the trip, after the trek, we went back to the hotel where we had a choice of either swimming, playing soccer, or playing tennis. We chose to jump into the cool pool after the long trekking and played a little game of water polo. After swimming for about an hour, we went to clean ourselves up and went to Nun and Bifern’s room [their room was the place where we hung out most of the time when we had free time] and played some card games, e.g. Slave, Killer, and “Pai Thoap”. As we played cards, Ta and Kitti serenaded us with their guitar skills and played many songs that were actually quite good. By six, we had dinner and were told that we have to return to the restaurant at 8 for some sort of quiz. So as we waited for time to pass, Pat went up to his room to take a nap since he wasn’t feeling well and the other 8 of us just spent time hanging out by the pool and exploring the hotel site.
Finally, at 8, we got Pat and went back to the restaurant where we were divided into teams by the tables we were sitting at. In all, there were six teams: Jeeb’s team, Chris’s team, Prang’s team, Por’s team, the Japanese team, and our team. There were several rounds in all. The first round was about Sports, where half of it was about the British teams and stuff. Thank God we had Kitti, Ta, and Pat who were the sports fanatics and helped us. After the first round, Chris’s team was leading then our team and Jeeb’s team. The next round was on movies and we were at the same spot fighting for second place with Jeeb’s team. The next few rounds were Geography [which Raghav did a GREAT job at it scoring 9 out of 10], Music [which we all did pretty well, though it was hard at the lyrics part since we didn’t know the lyrics for 50 Cents’ Candy Shop or J. Lo’s Get Right], Quotes [which we ended up doing quite well], Guess the Teacher [which we did quite badly], and the General Knowledge round [which we did great!].
By then, we were still in the top three and there were only two rounds left. One round was about guessing, where we had to guess how many brothers and sisters all the 7 teachers had combined [we guessed 14 but the number was 20 – the Japanese team put down 16 so they got the score]. We also had to guess how much money all the teachers currently had there at the table combined. We guessed 25,000 Baht [ridiculously high, I know] and we were at first disappointed since Ms. Mackrory and Mrs. Beresford had none and four other teachers had a few thousand. However, we were surprised when we found out that Mr. Carter had 45,000 Baht, which made US the closest and making us get 6 points!
The next round was also a fluke since we had to guess how many countries all 7 teachers went to once combined. At first, we were going to say 150 countries, but changed our minds to 99 to make it realistic. The answer? 150. Wow – we should have said 150 in the first place! Anyway, we were the closest [again!] and got 6 more points. Finally, the last round, we were currently in the lead followed by Chris and Jeeb’s teams. The last round was about True or False. Some of the questions were:
Some lipsticks have fish scale in them – True or False? [True!]
Mosquitoes are the deadliest killers in the whole world – True or False? [True!]
A bus ticket on the London bus costs more than 70 Baht – True or False? [True but we said False]
Human hair is stronger than rubber – True or False? [False!]
There was another question that I can’t remember. Anyway, we sort of had this funny thing with Ms. Mackrory, who was the MC, since we were asking “For the bus ticket one, is the ticket a normal ticket or a package promotion ticket?” and “For the human hair and rubber one, what kind of rubber is it? Synthetic or natural?” Haha, anyway, there were also five other questions on the teachers:
Ms. Mackrory can speak fluent Russian – True or False? [False but we said True since we kind of thought that she looked Russian – WRONG!]
Mrs. Beresford has appeared in Australian Television – True or False? [True!]
Mr. Haughton has appeared in a car commercial – True or False? [False! Although we were saying he might have appeared in a Tuk-Tuk commercial!]
Mr. Carter [who speaks fluent Thai] has met King Rama IX – True or False? [False! We were the only team that got that right!]
Mr. Francois owns a small castle in France – True or False? [False! Our reason for it was kind of funny but kind of mean, too, though.]
Anyway, by the end of the whole quiz, Mr. Carter went giving points around to the team with the best team name. Well, Prang’s team, Jeeb’s team, Chris’s team, and our team didn’t get a single point but Por’s team [“Pikachu”] and the Japanese team [some Japanese name] got points for it. Still, at the final total, it was our team that won! When we found out we were jumping up and down and banging the table so hard you would’ve thought one of us won the Olympics or something. Well, that’s what you get when you have Set 1 Students, Pop Culture Freaks, Sport Maniacs [Manchester United, in particular], a Geography Expert, People with Photographic Memories, and Good Guessers combined together in one team!
After the fun quiz, we went back to Nun’s room where we had a little celebration for our win with delicious KFC that was cleared up in a matter of minutes. For the rest of the night, we played cards on and on until 11 when the boys were chased to go back up to our rooms. But because we were constantly going in and out of Gaf’s room, I ended up going to bed at midnight. Oh, forgot to mention, because our air-conditioner wasn’t working, we ended up changing rooms and we ended up at the other side of the building where we were the first room . Gaf and Tian also decided to change rooms so they’ll be across us, too, so they were in room 302 right across from us.
Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 – Day 3
Woke up at 6 and got ready for breakfast at 6:30>. The nine of us ended up going down late again and once we were done, we were informed that we will be divided into Groups A and B the same as yesterday and Group A will be learning about CPR while Group B will go cycling around Nan and visiting places. By noon, we will switch and do the same thing the other group did. So we ended up learning about CPR and life-saving techniques. We had quite a fun time practicing saving and doing some mouth-to-mouth with the dummy. Bifern said, “I can’t believe it – my first kiss will be given to a dummy!” Haha, quite funny.
Anyway, after we finished learning about CPR during the morning, we went on Song Taews to Dhevaraj Hotel where we would have lunch with Group B and go cycling as they come back to the hotel to learn CPR. We had quite a fun time on the Song Taew and once we reached Dhevaraj Hotel, we ended up getting the private room since the restaurant area was full. So we and Jeeb’s group ended up eating in the room and had lots of fun talking and playing a little Killer game. Joe warned me about the cycling. He said that he threw up at one point because they had to walk up this 303-steps stairs and he wasn’t feeling well that day so he ended up throwing up. Well, at first I thought he was joking about the steps – but little did I know that he wasn’t.
After lunch, we were given some warning on using the bicycles and rules to keep straight in a line because we’ll be riding on the streets and they wouldn’t want any of us to get run over. Apparently, even though I rode the bicycle at House Camp 6-7 months ago, I found myself having trouble with riding the bike! I don’t know what went wrong but I wasn’t able to ride it [how embarrassing] so I ended up going on the motorcycle with one of the Total Entertainment staff. We reached “Chao Ratcha Boot” [เจ้าราชบุตร], which was the house of the King of Nan, which now belongs to his descendant and is now a little museum. In there, we found these really nice pots, records, carriages, pictures, statues, and many other cool things. We kept on stepping on the carpet in front of the treasure, which had a siren and sensor on it that kept on going off once a person steps on it. It was quite cool to see all the money and coins before and they looked really different from what they are today. Oh, and while we were in the house, it kind of drizzled but went away after a few minutes.
So I went into the car while the others rode their bikes to the Nan museum which was just a few minutes away. We basically got to see how it was like to live in Nan before there were such inventions such as electricity or cars or even ACs. We also saw some of the statues of Buddhas and the Sila Jaruek, which were quite interesting. Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures in there so there aren’t any pics for you to see. It also kind of drizzled there while we were standing outside around the large tree.
Later, we went to this temple that had paintings all over the walls and is said to be the most beautiful painting of Northern Thailand. The design of the statues and paintings were really great and Naag looked really scary, but also beautiful. After that, it was quite a long way to the next place where we went up a hill that was very steep. Luckily, I was in the car while others had to ride and push their bikes up the hill. As if they weren’t tired enough, we had to walk [and run] up these stairs that had 303 steps. Joe wasn’t joking – it was tiring.
As we raced up the stairs [since Ryan from Total Entertainment said that he would have a surprise for us if we reach up there first and was able to count all the steps], we found it quite fun until we reached the 80th step when it started to rain. Now, it wasn’t drizzling like earlier – it was raining [and pouring] like cats and dogs! Another thing I didn’t like was that it would come and go, come and go, making it even harder for us to go up. Well, after all the hard work, Sky reached the top first followed by me and Syne and we were relieved we reached it and began to rest in the sala nearby. We sat and waited while the others struggled to come up and finally, everybody reached the top. Finally, we had to walk back down the steps to the song taews that will be taking us back to the hotel.
Well, as soon as we got to the hotel, we were informed that we will be taken to Tesco Lotus after we changed to let us get anything that we want. Group B were surprised to see us all soaked from the rain then we went to Lotus and bought some more snacks and some people decided to buy some shampoo and soap. Once we got back from Lotus, we jumped into the pool and relaxed until it was almost time for dinner. During dinner, there wasn’t anything for us to do after but some people just sang karaoke while we ate. One funny thing was when Nun, Jeeb, Jane, Siree, and Oat were singing “I Believe” by Tata Young, Mr. Francois was behind them and was looking at the lyrics. And at the “Set me on fire!” part, he made a tiny “Ooh!” sound as if he was surprised by it – maybe because of the meaning behind it! Lol…
Anyway, after the karaoke, we found out that M came back again with some chicken [Gai Yaang Haa Dao – Five Star Chicken] with sticky rice. This time, we spent time in Gaf’s room since we kind of made Nun’s room dirty from the KFC night. Well, we just spent the night playing cards, talking, and singing. Oh, we also did some little prank calls to other rooms and I have to admit – it was really funny! We were doing something like [this is in thai] –
“Hello, Sawasdee ka, tee nee Kor-Wor-Yor Call Center! Goad 1 pueh ka-naad yai. Goad 2 pueh ka-naad lek. Goad 3 pueh ka-naad pahn-glaang. Goad 4 ta mai thong gaan. Kob Khun Ka.”
Ha. Ha. Ha. That’s all I can say. I don’t think I’ll translate it because it’s a little x-rated but it was funny the way some of them were actually pressing the numbers!
Well, we had some funny incidents that we played that were kind of embarrassing to some, but anyway, by the time it was 11, we had to go back to our rooms again before we’re chased. Oh, also, there were some rumors about a ghost appearing in some people’s rooms. At first, we all thought it was a joke, but it sort of got serious by the next day. Anyway, went to bed at midnight again. Also forgot to tell another thing, remember the whole trick Bifern and I did on Chris about being a couple? Yeah, by Tuesday [today], he had a conversation with me and it went like this:
Chris: Are you sure you and Bifern are together?
Jason: Yeah, why?
Chris: Well, because there’s all these guys around her…
Jason: What? Oh, you mean them? [Points towards my table]
Jason: Nah, they’re just friends – you know, friends!
Chris: Oh, OK, just making sure.
[ After dinner, as I walked out.]
Jason: Oh, Chris, you want to hear something funny?
Jason: We were never a couple!
Chris: Huh? [Then made his "rabbit-about-to-get-runover" look.] OHH!
Sky: [Out of nowhere] Oh man – that was good!
Haha, anyway, that was pretty funny – sorry about the trick, Chris! We just wanted to see how you guys would react and stuff!
Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 – Day 4
Woke up at six again feeling all drowsy and we had breakfast. After breakfast, we were informed to come to the lobby area by 8. We reached the lobby area and we were informed that we will be learning about rafting and camping today. But before that, we will be divided into our rafting groups – so no more Group A and B. This time we’ll be in our rafting groups, 2 boys and 2 girls in each raft. So Gaf and I paired up with Jeeb and Toy [who are in World Challenge and will be going for a four-week trip in South Africa next year helping people]. Then it was said that Groups 1 to 5 will be going rafting first while the rest will go learning about camping.
So up on the song taews we went – my group went on the same one with Joe’s group and we had a fun conversation. We ended up getting there late because we had to stop at Seven Eleven for the staff to buy some strings for those wearing glasses to prevent our glasses from falling while rafting. Once we got there, there were five groups in all [Joe’s group, Nun’s group, Por’s group, Boom’s group, and my group]. We learned the different rafting instructions and practiced rafting in the river. Then, as we rafted, each of us had to jump down into the river and have our teammates pull us up as if we were drowning and needed help. It wasn’t a problem when Toy, Jeeb, or Gaf went down but when I went down, both Toy and Jeeb had to use all their strength to pull me up. Haha, anyway, just realized how heavy I am!
Then we stopped and learned about how to float if we are separated from our raft and can’t be saved. We have to go feet first and open up our arms – do not try to stand. At one point during the practicing session, Toy, Jeeb, Joe, and I decided to go together at once holding each others’ hands and people said we looked like many starfish. Then we had to learn about how to grab the safety rope and which side to hold on to it once you grab it to avoid being strangled and stuff. We had some great acting skills from Maek who screamed for help as he went down the river. It was really entertaining. After the practice and lessons, we continued to raft and had some little competition. It was really fun – I wish I can go rafting again!
After the rafting lessons, we came back to the hotel on song taews and had some lunch. Right when the camping groups went for the rafting lessons, we had to come and do the camping part and learned how to set up tents. Alright, setting up the tents may seem hard at first but after doing quite a few of them, then tend to get easier – although it got complicated when there were different types of tents. Anyway, once the tent lessons were done, we got our waterproof bags to put our clothes and stuff in for the camp. So we just packed and waited until three where we went to Lotus again to buy some more stuff if we need any. So we just bought some last minute stuff like some more soap and shampoo or even clothes.
At Lotus, I was trying to find some ziplock bags for my camera because it isn’t waterproof. But none of the staff knew what I was talking about even though I explained it. So I gave up and decided not to take my camera for the rafting session – don’t be sad yet! Luckily, Joe had his waterproof camera so it was really helpful and I have lots of pics from the camp. [Thanks for the pics, Joe!] After Lotus, we just jumped into the pool with our clothes and this time, we had a large group of people playing water polo. Several people ended up with cramps and had to stop but finally, it ended up with the nine of us again and we decided to play a little game of Killer but in the kid’s pool. It was quite fun being the person who gets to tell who’s who and seeing how each person chooses the wrong person as the killer and stuff.
Then we had dinner where we quickly went up to play some cards and M arrived again with some Moo Ping [Grilled Pork] with sticky rice. This time, we had the little party in my room. Surprisingly, we ended up having 250 pork sticks! And half a bucket of sticky rice. Well, we finished the pork but had plenty of sticky rice leftover. By then, we had so many people in our room that it was getting a little too crowded and there was this little push-up competition between M and Sky. Not sure who won since I was out of the room because our group decided to move to Ta and Kitti’s room  where we decided to hang for the rest of the night playing and singing to the guitar and playing some cards. I know, must sound really boring, just singing and playing cards – but what can I say, there was nothing else for us to do and it did get quite fun, playing the cards, I mean.
Well, Joe also taught me and Nun a new card game called “Dummy”, which is fun but needs quite a lot of thought in order to play it. But it was really fun. Nun, who just learned it that night, ended up beating the crap out of us every single time we played it! Well, for the rest of the night, we were singing, playing cards, talking, and giving our cell phone numbers to M. Oh, Ta, Kitti, Por, and Gaf had this drum fever and started hitting the tiny round table. It was quite fun at first until Gaf hit it so hard it broke. Broke! Ouch! We were so stunned when that happened! Then, right in time, we were told to return to our rooms. They told us that we have to leave a bit early because we’ll be leaving early for camp tomorrow. So I think I fell asleep around 11:30 or so.
Thursday, June 30th, 2005 – Day 5
Woke up really early at around 5 or 5:30 and had breakfast. Right after breakfast, we had a few minutes to do some last minute packing and had to leave in the vans around 7 or so. The drive was about two hours up a mountain where the weather got really cold and windy that the AC was not necessary and we just opened the windows. For the first hour, I just slept to get some energy and we reached a little stop area where we stopped to take some photographs among the clouds and mist near a cliff. It was quite cool and felt like we weren’t in Thailand at all! We took a big group picture right before we boarded the vans again and drove for another hour or so where we all fell asleep and woke up finding ourselves driving into a school with little children waving all over at us. They were really cute and we waved back at them just before we parked and got off.
We ate in the library and had a choice of eating Kao Mun Gai [Rice and chicken] or Kao Moo Daeng [Rice and Pork]. OK, I have to admit it, the food was really good and we wanted to have more but there were no leftovers. After eating, we decided to put some sunscreen on or getting out any last stuff before we get ready for rafting. Then we had to wait for awhile so we started to play table tennis with the kids there. Guess what! They were kicking our asses! They were so good! None of us were winning at all. And these kids looked like 8th graders [Year 9s]!
After the ping pong competition, we walked a little to the area where our rafting equipment was ready. Lewis did this funny thing where he put the life jacket on inside of his shirt so he looked really muscular – haha, but the teacher told him to wear it properly. We found out that we will have Mr. Carter in our both along with two other rafters. This would be easy since Mr. Carter can understand Thai perfectly so we wouldn’t have to worry about language difficulties. So in all, we had 7 people on our raft. So off we went rafting. We realized that we’d be rafting for about 2 and a half hours nonstop. That sounds like fun! So off we went. Paddle, paddle, paddle, that’s all we did. We had to learn all the words like “pai”, “tuan”, “nuck”, and “puck” to make sure we follow the instructions correctly.
As we paddled, we were hitting trees, hitting each other’s rafts, going through different water rapids, and keeping ourselves from falling off the raft. At one point, we went down the river at this angle that was nearly 90 degrees and both Gaf and I, who were in the back of the boat with one of the professional rafters, plunged forward and hit Jeeb and Toy’s arms. Luckily, we had our chin protection so when my chin hit Jeeb’s arms, it didn’t hurt but sent this sharp pain to my head giving me a little bit of a headache later. But overall, it was really, really fun. Finally, we reached the camp site and had to walk up the cliff where we had to divide into our different groups and start to do our chores. The first five groups [including mine] will have to set up the tents for the first day while the rest does the cooking and we’ll switch the next day.
As we set up the tents, Joe told us about how he saved Leng, who fell out of the raft and quickly pulled him back up. We were done with the tents rather quickly and spent time exploring the campsite. The bathrooms – those were the most shocking things of the camp. You wouldn’t imagine how scary it was! It was just several pieces of wood lined up to make a square room and a little door that doesn’t even close itself properly! So we arranged the tents in a circle around the campfire area for night activities and we just sat and waited for food to be prepared. Some of us decided to shower and some people showered together. There were some chili sauce, spaghetti, some Thai food, and many other things.
The food was OK and for the rest of the time, we [about 8 of us] ended up staying in our tent and played cards and talked until we decided to get out because it was starting to heat up get really humid. While we were outside, we continued to play some games and had some melted marshmallows as we continuously tried to shake off the stupid insects crawling up our legs.
Not much happened this night and we were told to go to bed by 10. So Pat, Ta, Kitti, Raghav, and I shared the big tent and it was quite spacious – I mean, all of us were able to fit in there and it didn’t feel that crowded. It was kind of funny when Ta kept doing this dance while Raghav was praying [I know, it’s mean, but Ta was funny]. Well, we fell asleep and woke up the next day finding something we didn’t expect.
Friday, July 1st, 2005 – Day 6
We woke up at 6 AM to find all the clothes we hung wet. Was it the dew? No, it was because of the rain. According to the teachers, it rained for four straight hours last night while we slept and the water level rose. Even worse, the pipes weren’t working so we had to wait for about half an hour for water to come till we can brush our teeth. Later, we just sat there as we waited for breakfast and talked to one another.
After breakfast, we were informed that our plan for rafting for the whole day would have to be cancelled since the water level rose too high and made some of the Level 3 or 4 rapids that we would go through turn into a Level 5, which is the highest and most dangerous. Aw, great – what a pity. So that meant that we would have to stay there at the same campsite instead of getting to go to a new one and have a great adventure.
Anyway, so we waited and had nothing to do until we were informed that we will be trekking up the mountain to a waterfall. Cool, right? So up we went – walking up slippery soil, dodging any loose plants or trees that will fall, avoiding the possibility of stepping on a loose rock or not having a strong grip that could cause us to fall down the cliff, and making sure we don’t grab trees that have thorns or poison on them. The wonders of nature. This totally reminded me of Mrs. Rao’s [RIS 8th grade] great lesson on the rainforest, ecosystem, symbiosis, and all the stuff we did for our poster that made our science class get 20 extra credit points.
As we went, we nearly fell off the cliff into the forest below, nearly slipped, nearly stepped on a boar’s feces, and nearly got hit in the head by twigs and leaves. Still, it was so fun climbing up the pathway that was practically 90 degrees! So, about halfway through the trek, we were told to stop. Reason? It was too dangerous to continue any further – and it was near lunch time, too. Bummer, so the whole time we walked up there was a waste – this only meant that we have to walk DOWN the mountain now. So off we went practically crawling down the mountain grabbing anything we can with our hands. Luckily, nobody got any serious injuries but a few scrapes and scars.
After having a quick lunch, we were told to not to go and sleep [since we were all feeling drowsy – must have been from the sleep debt we had from the trip] since we’ll be building some stuff from bamboos. Feeling quite disappointed, we kept ourselves awake and were told to divide into our House teams. Um, what were the teams again? I totally forgot about the whole House thing since school was done for us. Anyway, Byron and Nehru, Churchill and Sonakul, and Keller and Suriyothai were the different house pairings. For Byron and Nehru, we had to help each other build some sort of a shelter, which was the hardest. Churchill and Sonakul had to make some sort of shelf while Keller and Suriyothai had to make a sitting area. Sounds easy? No, it was like being on Survivor! We had to get the bamboos and cut, peel, and scrape them off to make each of the items. The shelter was the last to be completed since it was hard and the biggest.
So when they were all completed, Prang gave a cute name to the whole project – “A Shelter, a Shelf, and a Shady Chair”. Talk about alliteration – she would get an A for that in my English class! We also learned how to cook rice by using bamboos and fire – it was sort of weird but very interesting. Anyway, after the whole completion of the bamboo figures, we had some soft drinks [with ice, thankfully] and were told that we’ll be going down to this fresh water stream. Ok, this sounded quite relaxing so after about 15 minutes, we walked down the mountain and went through a little jungle area and reached the stream. One word: Cold. Despite the hot air and sun, the water was really cold as if it was in the freezer! So we swam a bit, relaxed, and splashed water at one another [including the teachers]. Have to admit it – it was fun!
So about half an hour later, we retreated back to the campsite and it was my group’s turn to cook. However, half of Group A was waiting to use the shower, which was being used by Group B. So there was only Toy, Siree, Jeeb, Joe, Oat, Nancy, Prang, Aom, and I that were doing the food. Some people came later around the end when we were nearly done but we had a little problem over the “pad-gra-pao” since no matter how much chili or sugar we added, it still ended up salty! Yet, dinner went well with several macaroni and cheese with some carbonara sauce, which was really good, though a little too salty.
Anyway, after dinner, we had a chance to relax right before we had a little campfire session. At the campfire session, we had this little thing where if we don’t do the actions correctly, we’ll have to come out into the middle of the circle and do this little dance that was really embarrassing. So in the end, there were Pat, Joe, Jane, and Siree that had to do this [really embarrassing] dance – it was hilarious! So after the little icebreaker, we had to do this paper-rock-scissors game on evolution where we all start off as an egg, then turn into a chicken, then dinosaur, then finally, a human. We are supposed to find a person who is at the same stage as us and if we lose, we’ll have to go back to the previous stage, and if we win, evolve to the next one.
Then we had a little fortune telling thing from Ryan where he said he can tell the future from smelling our shoes. So, he took a deep breath and smelled Donut’s shoe, which was really close to his face, and said, “Ahh, I see that you will move to the UK to study and live… You will also meet a great, rich man that you will marry.” Sounds nice, eh? The funny part is, Donut told us, that the shoe belongs to her brother not her! Haha, that’s funny. Anyway, he also smelled Boom’s shoes and said, “I see that in your life, you will take a very long journey.” Aw, sort of cliché, but the next thing we knew, Ryan threw Boom’s shoe with full force into the darkness. Poor Boom had to run after it and find it with a flashlight. [He came back with it about 10 minutes later.] Ryan also smelled my shoe and said, “Aw, poor you man, you will marry a 4500 ton German woman.” That was funny, eh?
After the whole fortune-telling thing, Ms. Mackrory had a little game where we have to say a word that is related to the previous word, such as, “Computer”, “Internet”, “MSN”, “Chatting”, and the list goes on. Well, at first it was Oat that was winning with the whole “Thailand”, “Bangkok”, “Traffic”, and then “Jam”. Then Jane came up and used the exact same words, which made him lose. [“You’re lame!” He exclaimed right before he got hit in the head.] Quite funny. I was also called up to play and compete with Jane. We had a tie until the final round where the word was “cake”. Then words like “sweet”, “frosting”, “chocolate”, “strawberry”, “S & P”, and others were shooting out from both of us until I wasn’t able to think of another word and got hit on my head. Jane won again! And after a few games, the reigning Queen ended up to be Jane, who beat Mr. Riley, the Head of English Department!
So after the game, we had a little dancing contest where Jeeb and Raghav competed – Jeeb won all the way with her taking off her jacket and swinging it around. Then we had some more marshmallows and we had to get ready for bed. We also played a little Survivor game since Oat had this flashlight that gives a light just like in Survivor during the Night-mode interviews. Nun, Plai, Kwang, Sky, and I decided to play a few games of Dummy just before we were chased to our tents around 9.
As I began to fall asleep, it began to rain. Oh rats, not again! At that moment, everybody made a big groan that people miles away can probably hear. Well, despite the rain, I fell asleep really early due to exhaustion.
Saturday, July 2nd, 2005 – Day 7
We woke up early Saturday morning at around 6 or 7 to find ourselves completely drowsy. I also found half my body wet from the rain that must’ve seeped in since I was sleeping at the side of the tent. Well, the usual routine – brush our teeth, wash our face, use the toilet, etc, etc. We also ate and wondered if we will be rafting or not today due to the great rain last night. Luckily, we will be. Hooray! After a few group pics in our rafting gear, off we went! Paddle, paddle, paddle.
After about an hour of paddling, we had to make a stop to let the professional rafters take our boat through some Level 5 water rapids. We, on the other hand, had to walk through some rocky terrain and wait until all the boats were through. Finally, we paddled some more and found another Level 5 course that we students had to get off at. However, this time it wasn’t as easy for us to walk through since we had to carefully walk on the side of the mountain and stay in a certain position for 5 to 10 minutes.
After standing or sitting around, we had to climb up a wall and climb back down – I nearly slipped on my way down but thank God the staff members were there to help and carry me as I went down. Also, as soon as we got down, we had to move into our boats. At one point, we were sort of confused since the teachers told us to keep moving into the rafts and we don’t have to worry if we’re on our raft or not.
So we went in and waited until we were told to move BACK to our boats. Now, it isn’t that easy to move, you have to jump into each raft and walk through them – you can’t just swim through the water because it is really deep and you wouldn’t want to risk falling into them even though you have your lifejacket on. So we were on one particular boat when the first boat started to move. That wouldn’t be a problem, however, all the boats were tied together and connected so all the boats went, which was a big problem since Jeeb was in the middle of crossing between the rafts and she nearly fell! So luckily they stopped in time, preventing Jeeb from falling off.
Yet, the next conflict was that the boat I was sitting in began to sink because we had like, 15 people in it! So as the boat sank, the teachers began grabbing anybody they can and throwing them into the nearby raft. That was some scary incident! So in the end, Jeeb and I ended up on Boom’s raft while Toy and Gaf were in some other raft. We had to wait for awhile until our raft finally found us and so off we went, with only Jeeb and I as the students in the raft.
Anyway, we paddled on and on until we reached this little area where we stopped to have some “pad thai” and “pad si ew” along with some more macaroni cheese. Oh, forgot to mention, during the rafting lessons, we asked the instructors – “What if we need to use the bathroom?” The answer? Just jump off the raft and hang on to it while you do your business. Great. I thought nobody would actually do it but quite a lot of people were!
Alright, back to the story, while we ate, some people needed to use the bathroom but the water there was too shallow so we found this little nice grassy area that covered us from others. It was really weird having to do that with the worry of anybody walking up to you any moment. But after we finished eating and resting, we grabbed our bags and started walking. Walking to God-knows-where. I have to admit it – I didn’t feel tired during the trek at all! I was full of energy and kept on walking and walking. Don’t know what got into me – maybe all that pork sticks that I ate from M a few nights ago.
Well, the stuff was kind of heavy – Imagine having to carry your bag with clothes and stuff in it while wearing your lifejacket and helmet as you walked up this mountainous terrain. Yet, it was fun! But anyway, after about an hour or so, we were told that we would be going on for another 45 minutes. The view was quite nice until there were all these plants with thorns that were waiting to scrap our skin off. It felt like Children of the Corn or something since we were in these really tall fields and can’t see anything around us but the green grass and big trees.
Anyway, every time we went down a stream, these tiny little rocks will get into my trainers and they would get really annoying while I walk. As we walked, we passed a guy holding a rifle – for hunting, I guess, but it looked pretty cool. We also spotted several cows that were just sitting there and by just the sight of us, it started to stand up and walk away. Thank God it didn’t start chasing after us! Oh, we were following one of the staff one way and at one point, we turned around and saw that there was nobody behind us! Crap! There was only Ta, Bifern, Gaf, Tian, and I who were there and our teacher, Mr. Carter, was already way ahead of us through the fields.
Finally, we saw the others at the opposite side from us walking up the mountain while we were walking through the fields. Weird. But as we walked and tried to keep up with Mr. Carter, we saw this green snake and Bifern began screaming, which I think scared the snake instead…
Oh and at one point, there was this step that we had to take down into the mud but once we stepped on it, the mud camp all the way up to our knees and it had this really disgusting smell. Mud mixed with… cow crap? Unluckily, I was wearing long pants [since I thought that we’ll be trekking so to prevent any chances of the thorns scratching me, it would be a good choice – which was until the mud area] so the mud was all over up to my knees. Finally, we got out of the fields and saw this grassy area that was leading up to the mountains.
So up we went edging closer to modern civilization where there were these big tractors and construction equipment. Finally, after practically crawling up the mountain, we reached the top! We’ve made it! We shouted joyously, as we saw half of the group already there. After throwing our bags to the floor and taking off our helmets, we grabbed a can of soft drink [COLD, thank God] and made some sort of toast for our accomplishment. It was also my first time to have Pepsi Ice – it was so freaking good!
As we waited for the rest of the group to come, we saw Tina and Masa coming up on the pick-up truck, looking extremely exhausted. At first, we were thinking about how lucky they were to get here on a truck but then we found out the story from Tina. Tina said that they were led by this guy to a totally different place. They ended up on the mountain opposite from us! Poor them and they had to walk a bit until the truck came to get them. Well, we thought we had it bad but hers was worse!
So, after getting to sit down and rest for about 15 minutes, we got on some pick-up trucks that took us to some air-conditioned vans, which would take us back to the hotel. Just as we were about to get onto the van, this person told us to go to wash our feet because they were dirty and muddy. He said there was a pipe about 100 meters away. So off we went and were nearly there until we were called back since they were about to leave. [WTF? – we thought]
Then we sat in the car and relaxed with some AC and ice. As we went down hill, we opened up the windows because it was really cool and Bifern and I started to shout out the windows as loud as we can making this whole play. [Prim – remember the thing you did when I called you? Yeah, something like that though we changed it to a Lost in the Jungle version.] Then we began to play a little “continuous game”, which lasted the whole journey where we had to continue the songs. However, I got tired at first so I slept, as well as Nun, Pat, and Raghav. Tina, Kitti, Donut, Ta, and Bifern went on playing and singing at the top of their lungs.
We made a short stop at a small shop to buy some snacks and by then, I was awake now and played along, too. Finally, we reached the hotel and as soon as we got there, I collapsed onto the bed – the hotel was heaven compared to the camp! After washing up a bit, we went down to the pool to relax in the cool water right before going up to Nun and Bifern’s room to relax and play some more cards [again].
Dinner came and we were told that breakfast for tomorrow will be at NINE! EXCELENTE! And they said there is NO CURFEW tonight – so ideas of an all-nighter popped up all over in our group. Oh, and I have to thank Prang for giving me such great first-aid treatment with my foot – she is the most helpful person, I think, on this trip. As time passed, M came again with some “sa-lim” [A Thai dessert] and played some cards. However, for most of the time, people were going around taking pictures of one another and asking them to sign their friendship book right before they leave to England.
For this night, I spent most of the time in Tina and Donut’s room  with Nun, Pat, Por, Raghav, Tina [obviously since it’s her room], and Donut [same reason as Tina’s]. So we talked about the last few days and clearing some misunderstandings and worries and I got to talk to some people in Bangkok and was told about the Live 8 concert. Man, I wanted to watch it like hell!
Anyway, don’t know what got into Boom and Maek that night since they kept on saying hi and stuff into the phone while I talked to my sis and Mandy. Also, they were playing soccer in the middle of the hallway, too. Well, time passed by and people began to feel tired. We wanted the all-nighter thing but there wasn’t anything to do so we all decided to retreat to our rooms.
That night, George, Nithi, and Por came to sleep in our room and since I didn’t want to bother them, because it was really late by the time I came back from Tina’s room, I decided to go to sleep in Gaf’s room, which was right across the hall. So, what time did I go to bed that night? The latest of all nights – 1:30 AM.
Sunday, July 3rd, 2005 – Day 8
Woke up around 8:30 to find Gaf and Tian still asleep, so I woke them up since we had to get down to breakfast in time – at least for once since it was the last day. Then I walked across the hall to my room and sort of woke the inhabitants in my room up, well, they got up by themselves as soon as I walked in. Well, George and I played some Dummy since he just learned it from Kwang yesterday and we had quite a lot of fun. Finally, breakfast time. We were early!
After breakfast, we had some time to get ready for our trip to the Unseen Silver Company Limited. So, we boarded the vans and off we went. The factory was quite nearby and when we got there, we had this little presentation on the company. [Thank you SO much for nominating my name as the translator – Nun & Pat…] Anyway, they mentioned about the company just starting off and having a main market in countries like Brazil, Japan, and China and are now getting ready to move into the global market. And because they usually close off on a Sunday, they have decided to open the factory up for us to allow us to see how work is done and will let their employees half a day off on Monday instead.
In addition to our visit, each of us will be getting a silver ring in which we can engrave anything we want onto it. Quite cool. Also, we can buy some of the rings on sale there too, which all looked pretty nice, actually. So off we went with getting our rings and deciding on what we will write, some people wrote things such as, “Phoenix”, “Biff Christensen”, “Wray”, “LPManiac”, “Malangporz”, “GO!”, Roman Numericals that represent important dates, etc. [Hope you guys don’t mind me mentioning what you wrote.]
Anyway, the engraving process took quite awhile since there was only one guy and he took quite awhile on each of them, so we had to leave our rings to let them do it while we go back to the hotel for lunch. So, after our last meal at the hotel, we just basically had time to hang out until four or so. I just hung out in Tina’s room with her, Donut, Joe, and Raghav and spent time talking and playing some games. Then around 3 or so, we went back to our rooms to make sure we packed all our stuff just before we went down for the little closing ceremony and getting our rings. There was a little prize giving to the most helpful people and Sky, Prang, Nuch, Masa, and, I think, Aom.
After we got our rings and t-shirts as souvenirs, we boarded the buses and started our dinner as we left the hotel. Most of the people were on the other bus so our bus only had a few people [Pat, Nun, Bifern, Ta, Kitti, Gaf, Joe, Tina, Donut, Tian, Raghav, and myself], which was good since we were able to be really loud without disturbing others. On our way to the train station in Prae province, we had to take a 3-hour drive so Kitti turned on “The Bodyguard” [the Thai movie, not the one with Whitney Houston in it]. We watched it and it was rather corny, though it was a good time-passer [At least it was better than “Payak-Rai…” that I watched with some RIS friends [Tent, Tanya, Pim, JJ, JJ's friend (Thee), and Tanya's brother (Kanin), which was very corny.].
We stopped at a gas station to buy snacks and use the bathrooms, although people tried to avoid it since there were no lights and it was really dark [around 6 PM or so]. Finally, at round 7:30 or so, we reached the train station in Den Chai and put our stuff down as we waited for the train to arrive. Oh, forgot to mention, Leng sort of twisted his angle on the very last day of the trip because he was playing soccer. How great is that – he survived the camp without getting any serious injuries but ended up getting hurt from a soccer ball. So he had to use support from the crutches.
So we waited for the train and as we waited, we played cards, as usual, and had some fun talking to each other and taking last snaps of the trip. Apparently, as we waited for the train, some drunk guy tried to take a bag from Kwang’s group and luckily, Por and Ryan were there to stop them from doing it. To pass time, Raghav, Pat, Kate, Nancy, Donut, Julie, and I played some Slave while other people also played cards, such as Dummy. At last, the train arrived at 9:10 and we boarded the train where there was a little confusion about which compartment we were on at first.
But finally, we settled down and the same deal with the bunk – Pat will be at the bottom and I’ll be on top, though it sort of changed later and Nun ended up at the bottom of my bunk while Pat was at the top of her bunk. As the train went, we started to ask questions about the Harrow House Shout, which will take place on Monday, which is the day we’ll get back and we were wondering if anybody will be going or not. Finally, around 11 or so, we were forced to get into our bunks but we finally did around 11:30, which made me go to bed around midnight or so.
Monday, July 4th, 2005 – Day 9
This was only like an hour or so though… Well, I was woken up by Pat, who went back to sleep immediately, since I will be getting off at Don Muang station, which is about 30 minutes to an hour earlier than Hualumpong station. Anyway, Pat woke me up at around 4:30 and I was feeling like crap. We were told that we will be reaching Don Muang in about half an hour. So we brushed our teeth and everything and sat there waiting. About half the group was getting off here, e.g. Tina, Donut, Leng, Kwang, Chris, Lewis, Kate, and many other people. As soon as the train approached the platform, we got off feeling all drowsy and tired. Luckily, I only had to wait for 5 minutes or so for Dad and Lynn to come get me.
Anyway, it was a great trip – had lots of fun, made several new friends, got to know more about my friends, and had a trip that was filled with great memories that will remain as my best trip ever.
This is to all of my friends on the trip: Although there were some misunderstandings and secrets on this trip, I hope we all forget about it and leave it behind – whether because our friends got something we wanted or there were something we tried but didn’t get it.
Anyway, to all of you going to the UK, US, Australia, and Thai Universities next school year: Good luck and have lots of fun! Though, don’t get too carried away going out!
As for those that are still continuing Harrow next year: See y’all soon in the Sixth Form and our Koh Chang trip and hope that it’s just as fun as this one! That’s it for the Nan Expedition and enjoy the pics.
Currently Listening: Wake Me Up When September Ends by Greenday
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. [Actually, I already finished it... This is an excellent book! Great story, great ending. If you guys haven't read it, buy it and read it! Don't expect that you'll find out the ending from me... Can't wait for Book 7!]