25 May Where in the World is Clarence?
Sweeping over our fresh crew of OGers, the overwhelming scene of Bangkok, Thailand has already won over their hearts. In their words, describing Bangkok as lively, fast, a world of extremes, sticky, crazy, energetic, hot, sweaty, loud, never sleeps, hectic, diverse, friendly, tasty, colorful and to sum it all up awesome!
An easy city to shake off your jet lag and regain your energies, our crew of 11 women and one man have melted together into one sweaty mess. Only one thing was missing… Clarence. Possibly scared off by the predominantly female group, our friend Clarence was a difficult one to track down after an extremely smooth airport pick up mission. After a few days of our own trip leader scavenger hunt we found him safe and sound in the backwaters of Bangkok.
In the meantime, the ladies were soaking up the sights, sounds and mango shakes of Siam. After a brief orientation on the ways of these exotic lands, we wandered over to Wat Pho by river taxi to check out the chilled out Reclining Buddha. After being told boldly by the woman counter that “we lie” for requesting the local prices for the boat, we learnt bargaining was a way of existing over here.
The Great Bangkok Scavenger Hunt put the girls to the test! Sent to wander around the city in the search of obscure locations and foods, the teams returned tired, sweaty and stoked for what would be weeks more of these ridiculous quests. After a close tally of points, Team Awesome took the win by one point! Their prize… Thai massages!! The runners up, sadly, only receive…. Thai massages!
Presently off to the infamous JJ market, the group will lose themselves in the maze of stalls selling everything from exotic animals, rad new fashions, art, silk, spices and fisherman pants. Upon their return, we’re heading to collect on those Thai massages before a long overnight bus ride up to Chiang Rai. Don’t worry, Clarence arrived just in time for the massage and bus ride too.
In Chiang Rai, we will be meeting with the Mirror Foundation, an NGO based in Chiang Mai, Thailand that works directly with the northern hill tribes providing invaluable services, education, and assisting with the construction of anything from buildings to water tanks. Mirror has been a solid partner with Operation Groundswell for the past three years. For two of those OG has been visiting the Lahu tribe and this year will be no exception. Our excited group is ready for the 10 km uphill hike to visit this remote village. Once there we will immerse ourselves in the local customs while assisting with the construction of a water tank.
Due to the remote areas we will be travelling, we will be incommunicado for the next week (May 27th – June 2nd). However, once we return, we can be contacted via cell phone: (+66)84-001-8134. If there is an emergency over the next week, the Operation Groundswell head office can be phoned: 1-647-774-9703 or 1-647-784-1977. The head office can get in contact with the Mirror Foundation who can then get into contact with us.
The adventure is just getting started and the group could not be more thrilled. See you all in one week’s time!
Amanda and Steve