Saturday, April 16, 2011

Koh Chang - by Allie

Hi. This is Allie. Last Monday (actually March 28), I left for Koh Chang with my class for a week. The car ride was very long, probably around 5 hours. When we got to the IDEALS center we had to carry our bags up 211 stairs…… this equaled very tired girl. Then once we got settled, they already had our first game waiting. It was kind of like a treasure hunt through the jungle. We had to look for these slips of paper hanging from trees and write down a letter and number…. We had to do this by relying on a not super accurate hand drawn map. Then once we finished that we had dinner and headed out for a night walk. We had to find our way through the jungle by flashlight and looking for markings on trees. Let’s just say it was pretty hard. When the teachers had finally tired us out to their liking they let us go to bed.

On Tuesday we went to see some mangroves. We were taught about the different types of mangroves and how they play a big part in the ecosystem. Then we actually got to get in and dirty. We headed back to the center and then went for a quick swim and ate lunch. Once that was over we got to my favorite thing, the canopy walk. We were attached to a cable by a harness and we walked on these ladders and pulled ourselves along them to get to different platforms on the trees. It was a lot of fun! Then after dinner we made a grasshopper out of a coconut leaf.

On Wednesday my group went cycling around the island, about 15 km. It was a lot of sweating and hard work, but it was beautiful biking a tropical island. We biked along the coast for most of the trip. It was a great week for this because it wasn’t super sunny out so the weather was nice and cool. After lunch we did a waterfall trek and got to swim in a freezing cold waterfall. We even had to use ropes to pull ourselves up some really steep points. On the way back it was pouring rain so the rocks were really slippery. I’m glad nobody got hurt though. What was even worse though was that we had to sit in the back of a pickup truck in our soaking wet clothes and wet hair….I’m glad that none of us caught pneumonia! Then once we had eaten dinner and got warmed up we did adventure activities, one was to see if we could make it to the end of the pool under water without breathing. It was easy for me but I noticed that it was harder to do than when I was on the swim team.

On Thursday we did our final activity, we kayaked around the island. It was a whole lot of fun but also a lot of work. The coolest part was that we got to scoop jellyfish out of the ocean and hold them. They didn’t sting but all of us weren’t so sure at the time. But the guide told us so and then he picked one up and wasn’t in pain so we figured he was telling the truth after all. A lot of the way, we made the dingy pull me and my friend, we were tired :-/. Then afterwards we were told that we were going to go on a boat trip around the island and stop on a private beach and be able to swim there. It was cool because there was like a lagoon behind the beach and the water was this solid teal color. It was gorgeous. What was also pretty cool was that we got to jump off the boat into the ocean. That was awesome. But then we were told that we had to head back to the cabins.

When we heard the knock on our door the next morning at 6:00 am we all felt like we just arrived at Koh Chang. We didn't want to go but all of us were missing our families so that made it easier. Overall is was a really good trip, I just wanted a real meal for once, the whole time I pretty much ate cup noodles, chips and sometimes the meals at the center but the food they offered looked like it came from a 5 year olds play kitchen. I was glad though that I didn’t get hurt and the only things I left behind were my phone and camera charger. I got them back. It was a great trip and if I could do it over again I would, it was a blast!