A Little Bit About Me:

Name: Averil Jodie Koh(You can call me Jodie)
Class: 05~ :D 
Pet Peeve: Complaints about _____ and so on. 
Once you meet me....
You'll find I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD). I am very particular when traveling without my parents, and I am usually the responsible one when I bunk with someone else. Don't worry, roomie, I have a lot of experience traveling, so I'll take care of the basic stuff like food(midnight snacks including cup noodles), and water(you can't drink from the taps there... you'd be a fool to... :P). I have a problem with untidiness, as you can tell, I differentiate my question from my answer by highlighting them different colors. .-.
My picture:

Research Done on Chiang Mai:

Since many of my friends have talked about the history of Chiang Mai, I would like to give some extra information. The weather condition there is much like Singapore's. Our trip will be taking place in the wet season of the year, so we should bring some raincoats along with us. The hotel that we will be staying in is around the city area. It is strongly advised *against* to drink water from the taps, as the water condition may not be as clean as the water in Singapore. Like they say, "Don't play play.". After consumption, you may feel *slight* discomfort. Who am I kidding? You'll get diarrhea and stomach ache for the next few weeks. Has that discouraged you from drinking the water? Yes? Good! The next thing is the customs and traditions of the people there. When greeting, place your hands together, palms pressed against each other, and close to your chest, and bow saying either "Sawasdeekrab"(male), or "Sawasdeekab"(female). Do not attempt this if you have *absolutely* no idea of what to do. Just place your palms together, close to your chest, smile and bow. You'll be made fun of if you say the wrong greeting.

History of Chiang Mai:

In the late 13th century  the Lanna Kingdom covered most of Northern Thailand as we know it today as well as neighbouring parts of Burma, China and Laos. It was bordered by Burma (now Myanmar) to the West, China to the North, the Khmer Empire of Angkor (now Cambodia) to the East and Siam (now Thailand) in the South.

The 700 year old city of Chiang Mai was built in 1296 to be the capital city of the Lanna Kingdom, the kingdom of a million rice fields, by its ruler King Mengrai.
Earlier capitals of the Lanna Kingdom were: Chiang Saen, Fang, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Wiang Kum Kam. The last capital before Chiang Mai was Wiang Kum Kam, which was established in 1281 and situated some 5 km south-east of present day Chiang MaiWiang Kum Kam was destroyed by flooding from the Ping River around 1294. It was only rediscovered in 1984, around 700 years later. Now, the excavated ruins of the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam are preserved and on show as a national treasure.

Link to website

Chiang Mai now:

Chiang Mai is referred to as "the rose of the north", and is situated in Northern Thailand, 700km north of the capital city of Bangkok. Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, yet only has a population of around 200,000. Compare this to Bangkok which has about 9 million. The city is now becoming increasingly popular with overseas travelers as word spreads of this magnificent tourist location. 

Link to website

Doi Inthanon Royal Project:

The highest mountain of Thailand “Doi Inthanon” or Mt Inthanon was formerly known in the northern dialect as “Doi Luang Ang Ka”, which conveys its colossal size and feature. Legend has it that Mt Inthanon once contained a huge reservoir or “Ang” in Thai. This reservoir was where crows or “Ka” usually came to drink water. So the locals named the mountain the “big crows’ reservoir mountain”. After the 7th ruling prince of Chiang Mai, Chao Intha Wichayanon, who once came to explore the mountain passed away, his daughter, Chao Dara Ratsami, buried her father’s ashes here to fulfill his wish. Then Doi Luang Ang Ka was given the new name “Doi Inthanon”. In 1972, Doi Inthanon was declared the 6th national park of Thailand.

Situated in the Thanon Thong Chai Mountain Range, covering an area of 1,005 sq km and being 2,565 m above sea level, Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain of Thailand and one of the most popular national parks of this country. The hills at 1,800 metres and up are often shrouded in mist, especially in the rainy season. Doi Inthanon, one of the must see places in Thailand, is well known for its cool climate all year round, its ancient forests, frozen dew (Mae Kha-ning), Delavay’s Rhododendron (1,000-year roses), wild flowers, wildlife, hilltribe culture and step farming.

This is my second time coming to Chiang Mai. The first was with my parents for a holiday. I think that was went well today was the journey as a whole. I think that we handled the boarding and other stuff quite well, because there were no accidents or lost items of the sort, other than the fact that some of the people went to or nearly entered he opposite gender washrooms. I think it’s because we were so over whelmed by the fact that this will be, for some, the first time they are traveling with their school. The things that did not go quite well was the buying of the SIM card. My WhatsApp could not work, and I had to resort to SMS to reach my parents, and even then, I am not clear, at the moment, if they have received my messages. Therefore I only had limited time to shop for groceries. I’m shocked at the price of 3 small boxes of Honey Stars and a loaf of wholemeal bread. It actually totaled up to about 50 baht, which is S$2! I think if there is anything I would like more, it would be to have brought an extra luggage bag to buy a full month’s worth of cereal and breakfast. The hotel is not what I expected it would be. I expected it to be what Google Maps had shown me. In the middle of a jungle. It is more of a, what? 3 star hotel? And, what surprised or rather, shocked me most, is that there was a whole mall under the hotel! I think what could be improved on would be the handling of money. I try to be as careful as possible, but my jeans have really shallow pockets, so I am afraid that I may be pick-pocketed. I think something to take away from today is also about the handling of money. I think whenever I go overseas, I should take a small pouch along with me. Also we could listen to instructions before acting. This is really important so that we do not do the wrong thing.

I am exhausted! We climbed up and down the steep slopes of the Inathon Royal Project Farm today. We walked through the maze of little tents covering the saplings, and I was amazed how much farmland there was among the misty mountain top.

The moment the phone rang with our wake-up call, I jumped and grabbed the receiver. It was 6 in the morning, and I had no idea how long I had slept. It felt like I had only fell asleep minutes ago. After I washed up, I sat in front of the dressing table and I saw a sign which surprised me. It was translated in Thai, English, German or French and Japanese. It struck me that after Mr Tan told us about his discovery that Thailand had a lot of influence from China, Japan could also have had some influence on it. I then checked the room for the complimentary water, and found two bottles in the fridge. The bottles looked very cute, but I remembered that the brand of the water was also producing beer, which was on the list of items for the fridge, something like an order form at a restaurant, and I was suspicious for a moment. Could the water be secretly alcohol? I decided not to touch the precious water yet. We would have more bottles later.

The breakfast was quite alright, but there was no pancakes left when my roommate and I reached the breakfast area! I was quite hungry, so I had to order three omelets. I did not think that the portions would be so small! This place is stingy with their eggs.... I needed more, but there was no time left, so I would just have to keep snacking until we had lunch.

The four buses which we were sorted into, left for Doi Inathon, the highest peak in Thailand, at 8 a.m. sharp and it was a almost 2 hour long drive. We had trouble keeping awake, as some people stayed up until 2 a.m. to watch Twilight: New Moon(or something along those lines...). Everyone kept quiet on the way up, but as we reached the mountain area, we sprung to life in bus 4. Doi Inathon stands at 25, 653, 341m above sea level, where the late king requested his bones to be buried, at the highest point in Thailand. His daughter, the late queen, was also buried there, with her father. Their altars were impressive. Tiger statues guarded the four corners of the altar, and there was a table where people put flowers and pay respects. We saw the different kinds of flora and fauna in the gallery, which behind it, was a small gift shop and a tiny cafe. The shop sold little beanies that have gloves attached, which are commonly used in the winter time, as it was around 15°C up there. The sun was shining brightly though, so it was not that cold. Many people started buying cups of hot chocolate latte from the cafe after they bought souvenirs at the store. The drink was 50 baht, so it was only S$2. Way less expensive than going to Starbucks. I think this trip really forces us to use our counting skills, and sensibility, as the currency is very different from ours. 

Next, we headed to the farm market, run by the hill tribe villagers. I bought some great stuff, like two adorable key chains and two super strength magnets at just 10 baht and 30 baht each, respectively, and had to avoid buying a set of clothes for my cousin by lying that I would come back to buy the clothes later. The key chains were priced at 10 baht for 1, 15 baht for 2, so I got 1 for free! The magnets were priced 20 baht each, but I asked for 30 baht and the lady immediately agreed! I think I could have asked if I could have 25 baht, but I did not want to cheat the poor lady. We went for lunch next, about 5 meters away from the market. It was rather uneventful, but the restaurant had an amazingly beautiful view. It was so amazing, I would never be able to put it in words!

Then we had to go to the Inathon Royal Project, which was situated right next to a waterfall. The journey from the car park to the other side was exhausting. So much so that I needed to “borrow” a bamboo stick from a plot as a walking stick. I had almost fell down, and my jeans were soiled by the end of our journey. It was fruitful though! We managed to collect water and soil samples for testing tomorrow, and I am excited to try testing for oxygen, potassium and calcium in the soil!

After that, we went to the waterfall to take pictures. It was my first time seeing a waterfall in real life! The spray of the water could be felt from more than 10m away! I immediately put up my bag protector as a waterproof layer over my bag. I finally managed to use the waterproofing! 

We had loads of fun, and I loved the beautiful sights. I think I will come again if I can.

I have to put my alarm on. I was so tired from all the trekking yesterday, I had slept like I died. My roommate thought that the morning call was a prank call and did not realise it was time for us to get up. After looking at the clock had she realised we were super late. She had to wake me up by calling my name and saying that we were late. We had to rush to breakfast and literally cram ourselves before we went on the bus.

After that, we were assembled in the hotel lobby, and notepads from our school were passed around for us to give our counterparts. I saw that one of my CCA mates was in the picture on the front of the notepad I took. The trip to the school was smooth, and we managed to reach the school just in time for their flag raising. We proceeded to a room which was probably the seminar room, and we had a formal welcome ceremony which ended off with a photo-taking session. There were many female students in the school, and a lot less males. Like SST’s gender ratio of the student population inverted. The students were warm and very welcoming, and I was surprised, because when outsiders visit SST, my classmates do not peek down from the railing on the 4th floor and wave hello, which was what they did. I felt ashamed of our school culture, because we do not usually do that to make our visitors welcome. We should be more open minded. 

We then proceeded to the chemistry classroom to conduct the soil test. My roommate and I had 3 Thai counterparts that we had to share, so we worked as a team to teach them how to get the results. The easiest was the pH test, which was completed really fast. The hardest to do was the last two, Phosphorus and Potassium. We started running out of the extraction liquid, and had to make more of it. The students were really cool to talk to, and we chatted while we waited for the extraction to settle and let us use. We ran out once again, and my roommate had to re-make it. It was extremely tough, because insufficient amount of the extraction made us all messed up about the rest of the steps. My roommate led in the last two tests as I did with the first two. My roommate had not read the instructions beforehand, and then she messed up some of the steps, so we had varying results and wasted materials. 

Lunch was a happy time for us. Many of the boys took out their phones, which they were not supposed to at mealtimes. The phones got confiscated by Jie Han and Sarah. Then Henry started making puns about touching Phone/(Sean’s)phone. Jie Han and Sarah started laughing immediately, and we could not stop laughing, so much so that tears were flowing out.

After lunch, we headed back into campus, and got ready for our Arduino lesson. I had some trouble handling two students(my roommate and I split the counterparts), but I managed it. I had some problems with circuit 11 and 13, the ones that my counterparts chose to do. The wires might not be right, or the coding was not right. There was a lot of things to do, and only a limited amount of time. I really struggled with the activity.

Next was a de-brief in the seminar room, and we exchanged contacts on Facebook and emails. We also talked about ideas for engineering and Science projects.

We had a lot of new experiences today. Usually, we learn from others, but now, we teach others, and let them try it out on their own. We also learned many valuable lessons, including to read instructions and not be rash.

Project ideas:

Aquaponics with rice. We could build an aquaponic farm in our own home, and grow the wheat. Our Thai counterparts can help us with collecting information on how to grow the rice, and the seeds. We can also experiment with different situations, for example, it has been raining to much lately, and the wheat is not getting enough sunlight. How can we improve our design? Maybe have something to magnify the rays of light to allow the wheat to get enough light. We will also have a few fishes that can help increase the amount of nutrients.

We started off the day with a briefing on lichens, which was the main focus of the activity we were going to participate in today. We were split into colour groups, according to our name tags. The school had organized a visit to the Buddhist temples for us to find out the density of lichens on the chedis of the temple near the school. We used the materials issued to us. A compass for finding out which direction of the chedi are we measuring first, a spray bottle to make the colours of the lichen show up more clearly on the bricks, a measuring tape to find out the coordinates of which part of the chedi we have to measure, a black piece of cardboard with a square cut out for marking out the area that we have to measure, and we used my camera to take a photo for analysis of how green the lichen is by using Adobe Photoshop CS3. We finished our measurements rather fast, so we went along the roadside, and found a few stalls to have takeaway food. I got a honey lemon flavoured popsicle, and it was dripping down my arm. It was not too sweet, not too sour, so it was perfect. I will try making those in the future. 

We reported back to the school to use the computer lab for the testing of how green was the lichen, but we were the first back, so we had to wait and chat, and I was very surprised. I thought that the students in the programs had many projects and experiments, but one of the seniors in the English Program told us that it was just about studying, and not understanding. There was a little reminder of what our parents used to do in school. Many of our schoolmates started pouring in, and we quickly did a headcount before running off to the lab. We used the histogram on Adobe Photoshop to find out how green the lichens were. 

After that, we went for our cooking lesson. We learned to cook Thai noodles, which were very delicious, and we kept on eating, thinking that that was lunch, but we still went back to the meeting room for a small buffet. I only drank some soup and ate some watermelon and papaya, as I was still full from the noodles. After lunch, the MCs found some name tags, and called those people out to be “punished”. Some of our friends, including Jin Wei, Marcus, Jowell, Henry and Serena, were called out. Some like Marcus, called for Axel to help him. Jowell, Henry, Marcus and Axel’s performances were completely hilarious, and I almost fell off my chair. Henry piggybacked Jowell and Jowell sang “I came in like a wrecking ball!” while Henry charged forward, pretending to be the ball, and Marcus and Axel did the same. Break followed shortly after.

There were many tears of both joy and sadness today. It was our last day there, and all of us were just getting emotionally attached to our counterparts. My counterpart, Asia, received a huge surprise when I passed her an SST bag with a handwritten letter and a gift-wrapped I <3 SG bag. She ran out to buy something in return for me, and I was pleasantly surprised when she came back with a pinkish-red pencil case, and a postcard of the three kings monument. All of a sudden, a photo-bomb squad appeared and it’s heroes managed to save the day- I mean pictures, by jumping into every shot.

We then said our final goodbyes, and left the school. It was about four plus, and we had a half-an-hour bus ride to the restaurant for the night. We were all shocked when we arrived at the restaurant. It was very high-class, and there was a pond with a fountain next to where we had dinner. I was amazed by the array of food that followed. Tom Yam soup, Roasted chicken, and more! There was so much food, and to top it all off, we had ice cream! 

We ended our day with lighting up lanterns and making wishes on them. It was unforgettable.

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