The last days of our OEG orientation pulled us out of the classroom and we were offered with some amazing activities around Thailand. The night before we were supposed to leave Bangkok to head to Kanchanaburi (3 hours away), I went into Bangkok’s Chinatown with a few girls to grab dinner. We ate at a little street stall and most of us had a crab dish. Fast forward to 3 am and I am stricken with super fun food poisoning in my hotel room. I won’t go into details but I was basically half dead for the rest of the night and into the morning. We had to give our teaching presentations that next morning, and I opted out being that I couldn’t stand up without being sick. Everyone was SO nice about it. OEG Staff members came to check on me, and my friends all came to bring me medicine and even bring down my luggage since we were checking out of the hotel. I barely made it onto the bus by 1 pm for our three hour ride to Kanchanaburi. I’m so glad that I did though, it was the best part of orientation and no crab from Chinatown was going to stop me. We stopped at the famous Bridge on the River Kwai, which connect the “Death Railway”. It’s a bridge that sadly is a mass grave sight for Allied POWs from WWI that the Japanese worked to death to link Thailand with Burma. The railway was intended to move Japanese supplies to the front line in Burma where they were fighting the British. The Bridge is now a big tourist sight with tons of shops and souvenier stands along the river edge. However, the area is absolutely beautiful and it was interesting to see such a historical monument in rural Thailand.
We then ventured to a floating restaurant for dinner. I still didn’t feel 100% so I passed on the food but the cool evening breeze felt amazing and the sun setting along the river was just incredible. It was basically a dinner/dance party on this big floating restaurant that was pulled by a small boat. All the boats on the river were BLASTING obnoxious dance music like Gangham Style. It was hilarious and all I could do was laugh at the horrible music playing in this gorgeous rural river setting. My friend Rachel captured amazing photos:
That night we checked into The Pavilion Rim Kwai Resort hotel, a beautiful hotel that reminded me of Jurassic Park. It felt great to be out of the city and breathe the fresh Thai air and see all the beautiful tropical plants. We rose early the next morning with much excitment; we were going to ride ELEPHANTS along the River Kwai! It was just as awesome as it sounds, I wish the ride was longer but we were with a huge group so that would have been impossible. We floated on bamboo rafts down the river and even got to jump in. The water felt amazing and we ignored the fact that there may or may not have been river creatures down below. After the swim, we rode the elephants. It was bumpy and strange and I felt like our little chair atop the elephant’s back was going to fall off but it was so great at the same time. We laughed a lot and tried to take in the fact that we were in Thailand riding elephants.
The elephant camp also had a baby goat that I got to feed with a baby bottle. Honestly, that was one of my favorite moments so far. He was as big as a cat and just loved the milk in the bottle.