Chiangmai Trip reflection: day 1:

~ Today is the first day of our GCP trip to Chiangmai, Thailand. The location in which we were supposed to assemble was in Terminal 2, Changi Airport and the designated meeting time was at 1pm sharp. Some of us, being worried about being punctual and all, arrived a little too early (some around 11:45 or earlier) and had their breakfast and/or lunch there too. We soon were able to head towards the departure hall and we were told to slowly make our way to the boarding gates as we were then a little early. There were also another group of students from a neighboring school who were also going on a trip (i assume that they were also heading in the same location as we were as they were also boarding the same plane as us). There was a slight rush to check-in as there were alot of people and very little space. Being the first to enter the hall, i had the privilege of choosing any seat which I wanted in the waiting area. I promptly sat down on a chair right next to the window and waited for my other friends to slowly mill in form the check-in area. Before long, the waiting area was full and it also happened to be the time in which we were able to board the aircraft. The plane which we took was a Silk Air flight MI706, which was bound for Chiangmai. The call was soon made and we all slowly made our way down the long hallway and onto the plane. Even though the plane was just an Airbus A320 (pretty small), the interior was still pretty spacious and cosy at the same time. I was promptly ushered to my seat (9E) and sat down. The stewardess then told me that, due to the fact that my backpack was small, I could place it under the seat of the person seated in front of me. The other people soon came onboard the plane and it was soon going to depart. I listened intently as the head steward explained to us the safety features of the plane while the person who sat beside me peacefully slept. The plane’s engines suddenly roared to life and the plane rattled down the runway at an amazing speed before taking off. Most of the trip on board the plane was mostly uneventful, save for the little bit of turbulence within the first few minutes of the flight. We soon arrived in chingmai, 5pm local time. The tour guide ushered us onto a rather luxurious, double-decked bus, and we were soon on the way to have dinner at a local restaurant. The food served was very delicious, and all of us ate to our fill. Soon after, we went to a local shopping mall and most of us bought micro-sim cards which gave us unlimited 3G for a whole month. we then checked into our hotel rooms and we had to write a 100 word reflection on the day’s activities (what I happen to be doing now).

Chiangmai GCP trip day 2: reflections: 200 words minimum

Today marks the second day of our GCP trip to Chingmai, Thailand. We were awoken from our blissful night’s rest at exactly 6am, local time, via an automated telephone call and the huge racket caused by our pre-set alarm clock. I then proceeded with much caution into the showers with my crisp set of new clothes as we weren't sure about the availability of hot water to the rooms. Since I was the brave soul and was the first person to test the water, i found out that the water was indeed warm and thus, had the privilege of the first drops of warm water. After a relaxing shower, we then proceeded as instructed down to the first floor for our breakfast. Unfortunately, there was a slight miscommunication the night before and we had to rush back to our rooms to get our  daypack. The rest of the meal went on without a hitch, save for my roommate taking a little too much scrambled eggs and as a result, couldn’t finish and I had to stay back with him for a few minutes to watch him finish. We were the split up into 4 groups, mine being the third and we had to board 4 designated mini-busses which were all headed in the same direction. We were told that we were headed to the Royal Thai farm project and also the highest point in the whole of Thailand, and it was going to be a long, 2 hour bus ride. Some of us got pretty bored during the journey and one of my friends decided to play UNO. Me and my roommate, knowing absolutely nothing about the game, decided to play some music for the others to enjoy. Before long, the bus soon arrived at our destination and we were told to disembark and enjoy the cool, mountain breeze. The teachers then ushered us to take a group photo after letting the some others to go on a toilet break. I listened attentively to the tour guide as he was explaining the history behind the shrine on the peak of the mountain while my roommate and some others were busy taking numerous images of the flora and fauna all around them. We were then led on a short trail which went behind the shrine on a short nature trail and soon ended outside a shop which sold small gifts. My roommate got himself a small thermometer and was pretty contended with that purchase. Some of my schoolmates got themselves large, fluffy hats and never took them off ever since the purchase until now. Shortly after, we once again took a short bus ride down the hill and there, we had a sumptuous lunch. We proceeded to the Royal Thai project shortly after and had a shoet hike there before going to see the waterfall. There, due to my carelessness, i slipped and fell on some stone steps which were wet due to the water from the waterfall. We took several pictures of the magnificient falling body of water before headig to the nearby toliets, completely drenched. We were soon asked to once again head back onto the busses as we were to head back to the hotel for dinner. 

Chiangmai GCP trip day 3 reflections: 

Today marks yet another day in our GCP trip to Chiangmai, Thailand. Today is a very important day in our trip as it is the day which we were to meet our Thailand counterparts. The wake-up call for today is at roughly 5:30 local time and we were once again, heading down to the restaurant on the first floor, after another relaxing shower. The breakfast went by smoothly, save for the fact that my roommate refused to wake up earlier as he was too tired. The time in which we were bound to leave for the school soon arrived but unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, the bus arrived late and my partner had also forgot to bring along his jacket and it was a major rush as the both of us had at accompany him back to our room for him to get his jacket and travel adaptor. This extra journey took us an extra 3 minutes and fortunately for us, the bus still wasn’t here by the time we rushed sown form our room. After having to wait for another 10 minutes and to go through another through headcount, the bus finally arrived and we were then able to be on our way to our budding sister school, the ??? school. The traffic conditions were pretty bad and we were already nearly late by the time the bus slowly rumbled through the school’s gates due to the irritating traffic lights and poor driving conditions due to the morning rush hour. This situation put our teacher-in-charge, Mr Tan Hoe Teck, in a very stressful position and you could literally see sweat streaming down and staining his clothes. Alas, we were soon out of the jam and we soon arrived in school, just in time as the students were all streaming through the school gates. The setting of the school was impressive, with old yet well-maintained school buildings and a large, school field dotted with a couple of students, and the public tables and chairs found within the school compound were all golden-yellow. It was really a sight to behold and most of us were all busy taking numerous pictures with our cameras while walking down the sheltered walkway down to the main school building where we were to meet our Thai counterpart. Most of us were caught by surprise while we were walking down the road towards the building as the county's national anthem suddenly started, but we were soon able to regain our composure and stood still to attention, in a bid to show respect to the country. Then, we continued to walk down the path, while being enthusiastically welcomed by the student body and the staff who happened to be walking past us. Me myself and a few others all felt like some important person and we also greeted them back, smiling happily and waving back. The long walk down the pathway soon ended as we neared the building and it had started to drizzle slightly. There was yet another one of the very irritating head-counts by the teachers before being able to enter the building. There, the school’s director gave us a welcoming speech which was really motivational, shortly before introducing us to our partners which we were to work with for the next 2 days until tomorrow. The school’s grade 11 students representatives were our emcees for the event and they even taught us a little thai just to pass the time as the school’s principal took his time to walk to the room which contained the 35 of us, including the 2 secondary 2  seniors which were following us and the 3 teachers. We were then told to go to the back of the room to get our name cards and go find our Thai friends. Even though we were informed the night before that most of our friends were going to be female, it was still thrilling to find out how they really looked like in person. My thai friend’s name is Suthida Ratanacharoen or Dear (possibly her english name), while my roommate’s friend’s name was Jay’g Athicha or Jackpot. My roommate unknowingly became the teacher of both of our friend’s teacher as he makes a really good teacher, due to the fact that we was more experienced than me when it comes to electronics. Nevertheless, we all had a great time working together and we even got to know better about each side’s culture from the numerous discussions held. Towards the end of the day, we had to get together to try to find out more about common problems in Chiangmai and so far, we found 2 problems and their solutions:
Question criterion:
  1. use of arduinos
  2. situation-based problems
  3. 2 ideas- 1 engineering and 1 science

Questions and reasons behind them:
  1. Air pollution experienced in the city is due to farmers mainly burning forests and crops so that they can plan for the next generation of crops.
  2. Traffic congestions in the evenings caused by a massive amount of people rushing home from work at roughly the same time.


After that short period of discussion, it was time to go back to the bus for a trip to dinner. It was about 6pm local time when we finally reached the hotle and we were immediately dismissed and had a 1.5hr shopping trip before having to assemble again to write down this reflection.

Chiangmai GCP trip day 4 (last night in Thailand): reflections

Today is the last night the we’re going to be staying in Chiangmai, Thailand. The day started off just like yesterday, with the alarm clock and the wake-up call being at 5:30 to wake us up. Being the first to go through the shower again, the both of us got everything that we needed to bring with us today packed and we were soon rushing down to the restaurant to have breakfast with the others. There was already two pairs which were faster than us as they went down in the lift before us. The other pairs soon came down, fully packed and ready for breakfast. Another headcount was conducted just as we were about to step into the restaurant, just to make sure that everybody is down and ready for breakfast. Johanna (an acquaintance who is in-charge of doing the headcounts), redid the headcount a number of times as she realized that the total number of people in the group now did not quite add up to the original number of 15 students. It was then when someone stepped out from the group and informed her that 2 students were missing as the both of them probably lost track of time and therefore, did not make it in time for breakfast. It was then decided by the teacher-in-charge that we were to proceed to have breakfast and not to wait for them. The two other seniors were then told by the teacher to head to their room and check on them. Meanwhile, since we were one of the first few people to arrive for breakfast, most of the food was left untouched and were steaming hot. The two of them arrived shortly after 7:45 and had their phones confiscated by the two seniors who set this rule the night before that whomever was late the following morning, the both of them would have their devices confiscated for the entire day. The both of them rushed their breakfast as it was almost time to leave for the school then. This time round, the bus was earlier than before and it had almost no problems in getting the 35 of us to the school on time, save for the occasional traffic lights at irregular intervals. Just like the day before, we were once again greeted by enthusiastic students and staff the moment we stepped off the bus and onto the hard concrete ground outside the Student Affairs building by the side of the road, a short distance away from the entrance gates of the school. Instead of having to go into the building like yesterday, we had to assemble in the school’s large field instead. Nobody would have expected the field to be that big that the 3400 students who were currently studying in could fit in, with lots of space at the back and some along the right side of the field to spare. The morning assembly went on without a hitch, and the small group of us had to face the entire student population as we were told to stand right beside the stage, where the flag raising was conducted. After listening to the students sing their national anthem and their school song, we were led to stand right infront of them, and most of us feared that we would be made to sing our school song, which few could. Fortunately for them, it turns out that we were only being told to stand there to have our photographs taken and they heaved a sigh of relief. After a few shots were taken, we were then led back to the room in which we assembled in the day before. We were told that the school’s students had already planned our day the night before in the previous meeting and most of us weren’t surprised that today would be a really busy day. The first thing on the list of things to do today was to listen t a small group of 3 students from the science faculty to give a short presentation on their most recent project- having lichens to determine the amount of pollution there was in Chiangmai. They even thought up of an extra set of slides to tell us more about lichens and why they are important members of the ecosystem incase we didn’t know or have a vague understanding about them. I personally feel that i’ve learnt more about lichens than before and that lichens are actually a fungus working together to survive (symbiosis), and that lichens are not a type of fungus, as what I originally thought. It was really interesting and informative, even though they were trying their very best to speak in english. After that, we were broken up into 6 different groups based on the color of our tags which we took yesterday to go to different parts of the city to look for lichens. My group, green, consists of only 4 SST students, 2 seniors, and quite a large handful of Thai students, was sent to a temple quite a distance away from the school and we had to walk for 5 minutes straight to finally arrive at the temple. The group of us then headed straight to a huge, rock shrine at the back of the temple and we had to take images of 3 different types of lichen growing at each of the 4 faces of the shrine (a total of 12 pictures) and calculate the average brightness of the lichen (the lighter in color the lichen, the more sunlight it receives). Some of us got distracted by the stray animals living in the temple and totally forgot about the task until one of the thai teachers gently reminded them on the task. Soon, a total of 12 images was taken and the Thai students even allowed us to have a small tour of the temple. There were magnificent paintings which adorned the interior if the walls which seemed to tell a story. I took numerous images of the temple as a small reminder that i have been here once before. The tour was soon over and it was time to head back to the school for the next lesson- cooking or better known as home econs in Singaporean terms. The cooking class was informative and we all learned to cook a new dish. We all got to eat each other’s creations and even tough some of us didn’t get to eat the food due to under supply, there was still lunch prepared of all of us and we all ate to our fill. it was time to share gifts after that and i got 2 post cards form my friend. It was then time to go have dinner and we all bade each other farewell. Dinner was really nice as there was a large amount of food to eat and there was even a live band playing in the background. We then let go balloons and went home.

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