Stand Up Thailand – Update #5

Hello Friends and Family!

Please enjoy updates written by teens on our trip!

Day 13- Boats, Floats and other lake activities
This was our last morning in the treehouse resort, so I began my day by shoving all of the clothes I would need for the next two days into my backpack. At the Mountain float resort, we would not be allowed to have our suitcases. We were served fluffy pancakes and fruit and then we got ready to leave, including a round of bird on a perch! We traveled from Pai to the Mountain Float resort in 3 vans, stopping at a bathroom break, then lunch and a grocery store along the way. My van was quiet because we were all tired, and I just rested and listened to music. When we arrived at the resort, we were welcomed by coconut drinks and lots of sun. There were 4 big huts and one main structure (which was where the food was) and all were floating on the lake and connected by a wood bridge. The resort was gorgeous and was surrounded by mountains; there were many activities to do around the area. Everyone was jumping on the trampoline, boxing, kayaking, paddle boarding or tanning the rest of the afternoon. I got a watermelon smoothie and I hung around and took pictures with friends. Dinner was relaxing and we celebrated Sarah’s birthday. We all enjoyed the plates of fruit and some people ordered extravagant desserts. People broke away to shower, do karaoke, play cards or watch the World Cup. It was so beautiful watching the lake and mountains in the evening, and the resort was so much fun to be at. I am so excited to watch the sunrise tomorrow morning!
-Joelle Goldman

Day 14 – Floating Free
It’s 11:59pm Sunday night, and I’m lying on a trampoline int the middle of a lake, stargazing making up constellations with my friends. At midnight, we start singing Happy Birthday to Caleb, our youngest member of the group. Almost as soon as we finish serenading, Sarah comes up and says “off the trampoline right now.” Assuming our hangout spot has been vetoed, we clamber off only to find half of the teens are standing behind her while Drew is assembling the rest. We stumble down the dock not knowing what’s going on. When we get there, Kit, pulls out two large white lanterns. We hold on while they were being lit, and the let go. One of my wishes has already come true. They floated up and burned bright in the pitch black night. Seeming so big, and small at the same time. Back to the rooms for curfew, I showered and went to bed. At 5:45am my roommates and I trudged out of the room and met up with a few other girls to watch the sunrise. The hills surrounding the lake were grey and misty and we realized we wouldn’t actually see it, so we just freely jumped into the warm water. As the sky lightened, we got out and wrapped up in towels and went back to bed. A few more hours of hanging out on the float, then we boarded the boats to head back. An hour drive to lunch, then another 40 mins to the hotel, we made it to Chiang Mai again. No rest for the weary, we loaded up and went to our cooking class. We watched the chef make blue sticky rice and mangoes, as well as Panaang Soup. Then it was our turn to make yellow soup and Pad Thai. Megan and I tried to the best of our abilities, which weren’t much, but super fun to try. After dinner, we had another singing round of Happy Birthday to Caleb, this time we had a cake for him. We went back to the night market to stock up on souvenirs. I was with Joelle and Megan; P.S. Joey is the best bargainer ever. Time for bed!
-Rue Yu

Day 15 – Elephant Fun
After a good night’s rest, I went down to choose breakfast from the plentiful buffet. I sat with my friends while we reminisced on the previous night. During the drive to the elephant sanctuary, I gazed out the window to absorb as much of Thailand as I could. In my eyes, this country only seems to get more fascinating and inspiring. At arrival, I changed into a surprisingly comfortable set of elephant trainer clothes and listened to an educational talk about elephants by our funny guide. While approaching the elephants it was hard to contain my excitement. They were excited as well, as all four of them ran up to us hungry for attention (or really just hungry). We fed them Thai bananas as they gave up precious hugs and hickies. After snapping more pictures than my phone had storage for, we headed into the mud pit. That’s right, all of us literally rolled around in the mud with elephants. I enjoyed scrubbing their backs and playing with them. Next, we washed off in their elephant pool and some people received unexpected water spritzes from the trunks. You could tell three of them were kids, because not only did they look smaller, but they were joyfully playing and rolling on top of each other. After a yummy lunch, we said our goodbyes and returned to our hotel for loads of free time. My roomie and I listened to music and napped. For dinner, we walked in the pouring rain (you gotta love Thailand!) to finally eat some American food (we all were over Thai food) people ordered some diverse pizzas and intense looking desserts. Fun fact: Greg had a food baby named Foodrick. To finish off the night, our group huddled in a room to do some closing ceremonies for the trip. We read our letters we wrote to ourselves, as well as made a web of string by saying memories of people we had on the trip. Kit gave us the sweetest gifts as a thank you for being such an awesome tour group. I’m gonna miss that guy, and I’m gonna miss my beautiful new home, Thailand!
-Talia K.

Day -16 Sawat Dee Ka and Kob Kuhn Ka Thailand
This morning we woke up ready for our last day in Thailand. Having packed away our suitcases and everything we needed for the day, we headed to our last and what was, in my opinion, the best breakfast buffet on the trip. I filled my plate with pancakes (the plain ones, because I was too scared to try the raisin ones), pineapple, croissant, and Cocoa Puffs. Of course I had to get orange juice because is much better than the stuff in America. We piled into our vans, headed for the airport for our trip back to Bangkok. We were all amazed when our 1 hour flight had nine seats in a row, pillows, blankets AND entertainment screens and a meal. After arriving in Bangkok, we went back to Second Chance to drop off our excess clothing we didn’t want to bring back, as well as purchase some cool handmade recycled items. Next stop was one of the largest malls in Southeast Asia, with over 2,000 stores. For lunch we found a great food court with Lebanese, Thai, Japanese, Indonesian and American food, and so much more. We wandered around and found an arcade, movie theatre, spas, an escape room, lots of market street kiosks, and familiar Thai stores. Finally it was time to head to the ship for our dinner cruise. On the ship we had a massive multicultural buffet. There was also live music, dancers and incredible scenery. We floated past the Grand Palace, a couple of huge pagodas, lots of skyscrapers. The lady singing took requests. Many of the songs were international, but we also got to jam out to Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Journey. As we sailed down the river, I thought about how this was our last true night as a group. We met each other less than 3 weeks ago, yet it feels like we’ve known each other for a lifetime. Although I’m excited to return to some of the comforts of home, I’m also sad to say goodbye (or Sawat Dee Ka) to Thailand, as well as all the incredible people I’ve met. As I write this, we are on the way to the airport. Within 36 hours, we will all be home and that’s crazy to think about. With that, I want to say Kob Kuhn Ka (Thank You) to everyone who made this trip so memorable!
-Carly

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