Suicide Squad – Movie Review

Suicide Squad, where do I start? I mean it was not as bad as the critics said it would be in their reviews. To be honest, I don’t think they were being very fair. But I would not call this movie the greatest movie ever, as there were many conceptual fails to this movie.

The movie starts of with a very long introduction. This is where DC did it all wrong. DC should have learned from Marvel and released individual movies about each villain. Everyone of the villains have exciting back stories that could easily become a movie. Then after all of these movies are released, they can be brought together into this single movie. Similar to what Marvel did with the Avengers. This would first of all clarify a lot of things about how these characters ended up in their current situation and prevent the huge back story that had to be told, allowing the current movie to move forward.

Another huge major flaw of this movie is the somewhat unbelievability of certain scenes in this movie. One that stood out the most was when Diablo (the pyrokinetic) was fighting Incubus. Diablo suddenly changed into an ancient looking mythical creature and started to speak the same language as Incubus. When I saw this scene, I was just so confused. How did Diablo suddenly just change into a non human like creature. I mean, he might have been a mythical creature all along, but that was never actually expressed in the movie. This is just another reason why making movies on each of these characters would have been better. Similar, a flashback of Harley Quinn (Joker’s lover) shows Harleen Quinzel jumping into a huge tank of what seemed to be wax, looking as if she was killing herself. But then the Joker himself jumps in after her, saving her life. This scene was very confusing as it was just a flashback that occurred at a very random time in the movie, having no association with the storyline at that current time at all.

Although this movie is about the villains, it failed to portray the evilness that villains are meant to have. At the end of the movie, the villains no longer became villains anymore, they all changed and became heros. They are villain heros. I mean, why couldn’t they just have a smaller extra bad villain who was just trying to destroy the city and mid way through the battle, have the villains switch sides causing the extra bad villain to take control of the city. In my mind, that would actually be a movie about villains. Unlike superheros, there has not yet been a defined way of creating a classic movie on villains. But this attempt by Suicide Squad did not succeed in establishing a villain formula in any way.  

Finally there were also huge flaws in the storyline. If the world is about to die because of Enchanted, then why didn’t Batman show up to help? I know this happened in the days after Batman vs Superman and that Batman might be keeping a low profile, but the world is about to be destroyed and you still don’t come and help out? Also even though Superman is badly injured, the last scene of that movie was his coffin levitating. I am sure he could have somewhat recovered by now, he is Superman after all and the world was in pretty bad shape at that time.

The only section that did somewhat make sense was the mini-credit scene. Waller hands Wayne a stack of classified government information on meta-humans in exchange for her own protection. This linked up nicely with the end of Batman vs Superman as Wayne told Prince that he is trying to form a group of metahumans in Superman’s absence. This is a nice leadway for the Justice League movie that would be coming out next year.

However, I do have to commend the movie on its extraordinary playlist and movie score that Steven Price composed. Each villain had their own theme that reflected their physical appearance and more importantly their mental state. There were also a lot of classic pop songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody which fit certain areas of the movie very accurately.  

DC could have went a very long way with this movie. It could have been a contender to the Marvel series of superheroes but it decided to take the small step, instead of a giant leap.

Concept: 6/10
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Acting: 8/10
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Storyline: 4/10
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: 5/10
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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BB Gun

Today I took a day off work to go BB gunning with my friends. We chose BB gun over paintball because it is much more exciting and cheaper than paintball.

Everyone got up early and met at Terminal 21 at 9am. As I was home alone, I was able to get the car and drive. This BB gun place we are going to is very far away. It is all the way at ISB, 26 kilometers away. My car was only able to fit a total of 5 people including myself, so 4 other people had to take a taxi to get to the place.

As it was not a weekend, there were a lot of traffic even when we were on the highway. But as rush hour had passed, we managed to reach our destination 40 minutes later. The taxi group had reached before us but there was still another car of people to come.

After the newbies got a safety briefing, we decided to play one round without the other group of people. As it was the first round, people were scared and not prepared to get hit by the BB bullets. It is a sharp pain that occurs, but if shot from a far range, it does not actually hurt that much. But from a closer range, that is a whole different story. It was not a very exciting match and it ended quite early and by that time, the other group had showed up as well meaning the real games may begin.

The guns we were using are semi or automatic guns. Although they are battery powered, they are still quite powerful and can cause quite a lot of damage. We split the teams up evenly and strapped on arm bands. There were 13 of us in total, so a lot of people to shoot at on each team.

The battle rounds were all very intense. Having played BB gun only once before with only 8 people, the increase in 5 extra people really did make a difference. It made it feel like every run or move you take is dangerous as people can shot at you from various directions. Often times I would get shot at but would have completely no idea as to how I could have been shot.

The field of play was also very different to the last time we came to play. Bangkok have been raining quite frequently lately, which has caused some significant damage to the map. There were huge puddles in the grass which meant that one side of the map was at a disadvantage. This disadvantage was soon realized as the team on the other side started to win the majority of the matches. But it was a hard earned fight every time.

As the game grew more and more intense, we also got more and more tired. It was a particularly hot day and everyone was sweating like crazy when our masks were on. However, we pushed on and continued to play into the afternoon.

In the last hour, people started to drop out of game play. We soon only had 10 people willing to play as others were to tired and hot to be playing. At around 3pm, we decided that it was time to call it quit. It was way too hot and I was very tired.

After taking a long rest and cooling down with a cold towel. I decided to head back to Bangkok. However, there were still some of us that wanted to stay and continue playing. We said our goodbyes and I headed for the city.

There were a total of 7 of us taking my car back to Bangkok and naturally it was very crowded. As it was not a weekend, there were a lot of traffic on the highways. It was a long and crowded ride, but as there were a lot of people, plenty of entertainment as well. We eventually got to the city 40 minutes later, which in traffic terms was actually pretty fast.

BB gun was very fun and it was extra fun when we had a great large group of 13 friends playing together. It is definitely something that we will do again in the near future.

 

The BFG – Movie Review

This film brought me back to my childhood days of reading Roald Dahl Books and entering his wonderful world of imagination. The Big Friendly Giant, or BFG was a true classic as almost everyone from my generation knows about it. It is a story about a friendship between a giant and a little girl called Sophie.

As this movie was adapted from a children’s book, director Steven Spielberg, was able to keep some of these small story telling elements alive. The opening scene of a London alley way looks realistic but also, in a way, very comical. It feels like a perfect combination of the two different worlds placed together. In other parts of the film, it could be clearly seen that Spielberg had been influenced by Dahl’s long time partner and illustrator, Quentin Blake. The exaggerated ears of the BFG and the cape he wears all seem to have been inspired by Blake’s drawings.

One of my favorite moments appeared in the later portion of the movie. It was during the scene when the BFG and Sophie get to dine together with the Queen of England. Just like Dahl wrote in his book, the BFG sat on a grand piano with a dresser on top of it. The table had 4 grandfather clocks as it’s legs with a large wooden piece as the table top. Using a garden spade as a fork and a knight’s sword as a knife, the BFG had a very traditional English breakfast. But after he had a sip of coffee, which was served in a huge silver bowl, he decided to share some of his special drink, the frobscottle with everyone. Because the bubbles from this drink goes downwards it causes everyone to fart or as the BFG calls it “whizpopping”. He offered the drink to the Queen and her Generals. Once they feel the gas, the whizpopping began and it was expressed in the most exaggerated way possible. This use of exaggeration is justified here as the movie is based off a children’s book.

Although the overall story and concept is great, the acting was lacking a bit. It was felt that the actress, Ruby Barnhill, playing Sophie was not that great. Although Barnhill did a good job, I just felt some of her emotions were not conveyed thoroughly enough to truly express what Sophie is feeling towards the audience. I might be asking a bit much for to a little child who is the same age as my brother, 12. I feel like Games of Thrones star, Maisie Williams, would have been a better candidate for this role. Williams would have been perfect for the role when the first season of Game of Thrones came out. Although she has grown older I believe she would still be a good fit for this role.

The music to the movie really helped bring the emotions out and of course the great score was composed by John Williams. The short and beautiful motifs really added to the effects of the movie. The distinction between the urgent and calmness could clearly be seen. But within this intense music the undertone of a children’s movie could still be felt.

Overall, the BFG really captured my childhood dreams and imagination. It was a really great movie, turning dreams into reality.

Concept: 8/10
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Acting: 5/10
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Storyline: 9/10
★★★★★★★★★☆

Overall Rating: 6/10
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

 

Mad Max: Fury Road – Movie Review

Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the most exciting movies I have watched in awhile. The genius way that George Miller had directed this movie makes it a true spectacle to watch.

For me, the greatest part of the movie was the action packed car chases that could be seen throughout the movie. If you just look at the storyline of the movie, it is actually very simple. It is just about how a Cult Leader tries to get his wives back from a rogue follower that successfully helped the wives escape. The simple story line becomes amplified with the introduction of the V8 clut and the way society is shaped and formed in this movie.

The V8 Clan was something straight out of Miller’s wonderful imagination. Creating and developing a Cult based on the V8 engine was truly spectacular as it was the only truly mechanical thing in that wasteland. Having the number of cars they have is also a sign of power. With the War Boys serving Immortan Joe as their true leader and believed that they had to die a glorious death in order to enter the gates of Valhalla.

The costume of the movie was truly spectacular and I understand why the Academy Award was awarded to Jenny Beavan. Her work was spectacular. Beavan was able to use her costume design to create another level of meaning for the moving. The wives of Immortan Joe all wore white. This is a great contrast as before the introduction of his wives, nobody had worn white. It could also be symbolic in stating that the wives were angels, and they were the ones who will save this dying cult. Beavan also uses her costumes to show the different cult, with each cult having a very distinctive dress code that aligns with their ideologies. Everything was perfect from head to toe.

The action scenes in this movie is another highlight. The whole idea of placing all the action of the movie on vehicles is just such a magnificent idea. This is also complemented by instead of using flashy looking sports cars, all of the cars are modified and welded together into different shapes and sizes. There is even a dedicated music car, where a War Boy just plays the guitar just to hype the other drivers up for the battle, which I personally think is really badass. The way the battles were fought were also different. Instead of just having a firefight, there were some imaginative ways of attacking the enemy. There is a speer with some explosive on the end where the War Boys throw, and it blows up on impact. There are these long swinging poles that are able to throw the War Boys onto other vehicles. It is a very primitive way but also a very effective and innovative in a post apocalyptic world.

My overall verdict for this movie is very positive. As mentioned before, this movie was one of the better movies I have watched so far. I hope Miller would produce and direct another movie in this series. I would definitely be first in line to watch that movie.

Concept: 10/10
★★★★★★★★★★

Acting: 8/10
★★★★★★★★★☆

Storyline: 8/10
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: 9/10
★★★★★★★★★☆

 

Waterworld – Movie Review

Waterworld is a post-apocalyptic movie that describes a world where the polar ice caps have completely melted all land has been covered by water. Only the Himalayan range is able to stay above water and becomes the only land that exists.

The movie follows a character called “The Mariner”, a drifter who sails around in this trimaran. He has evolved to have gills and webbed feet, allowing him to stay underwater for extended periods of time. He would dive down to the bottom of the ocean and scavenge what he could find and trade it to communities built on waters known as atolls. In one of these atolls, he meets a small girl with a tattoo that is said to be a map to dryland. As a long time has passed, dryland is now a myth to these people. The movie goes on to document how The Mariner’s journey with this girl, Enola and her guardian, Helen.

First I would like to comment on the overall concept of this movie. It is pretty creative to imagine what life would be like if all of the polar icecaps have all melted and it does feel like this could be what the future looks like. These water communities that are floating around the ocean is really what they seem, having to fend for themselves against the elements.

I found it very interesting on seeing the small details of how these atolls functioned. Some of the technology they have developed is pretty amazing to me. Simple everyday tasks becomes hard to accomplish. People are not able to grow food as there is no agricultural fields. Also evolutionarily speaking, the atolls are also in trouble. Due to their limited number of people, soon the gene pool in their community would decrease which can cause children to have disabilities. This was discussed briefly in the film, which I thought was a very nice touch.

I also like how the film somewhat incorporates real events into the movie, such as the Exxon Valdez hull. This gave the movie a sense of realism. But on the other hand some of the visual effects that were done in this movie was just terrible. With a $172 million budget (the highest movie budget at that time), you would really expect the special effects to be made somewhat believable. Sure this movie was made in 1995, but there are decent technology at that time to make everything seem realistic. Two scenes in particularly stood out to me the most. First it was the scene where The Mariner went fishing and suddenly a giant monster swam up to him and tried to kill him. For just a few short seconds when the monster fish jumped out of the water, it could clearly be seen that that fish was not real at all. It stood out like a sore thumb! I honestly do not know how Kevin Reynolds (the director) let that through.

The other scene is when The Mariner jumps off an airship to rescue Enola from being captured by pirates. He manages to save her just before all three pirates crash into each other on their jet skis and causes them to blow up, forming a big fireball. The fireball is one of the ugliest and unrealistic I have seen. Again it just seemed out of place as if someone had out a paper cut out of an explosion over the water. Again, with such a big budget these smaller details should not really be there. It should all be just a bit more realistic.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching this movie. It would have been good if the focus of the movie changed from finding dryland as the main storyline to showing the harsh conditions of Waterworld to cause people to realize the harsh realities of climate change. I think that way it would affect people more and allow them to have a reality check on the consequences of melted ice caps.

Concept: 9/10
★★★★★★★★★☆

Acting: 7/10
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Storyline: 8/10
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: 8/10
★★★★★★★★☆☆

 

Me Before You – Movie Review

Me Before You was a very touching romantic drama film based of the novel “Me Before You”. It is about the relationship between William “Will” Traynor, a cynical paralyzed former investment banker, and Louisa “Lou” Clark, Will’s personal caregiver. The film centers around how Lou is able to turn and change Will’s cynical idea around, making him enjoy life as a disabled man again.

On the macro level, I would say that the movie is simple and elegant and showed what it intended to portray. It is that sort of film that you would watch in your spare time, not one that would be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. This film also reminded me of another French film that was also about a paralyzed man and his caregiver called “Intouchables”.  The storylines between these two movies are almost identical. The difference between the two is that one is about romantic love and the other is about friendship.

The underlying meaning about this film is for us all to love life. No matter who we are or what we look like, we are always able to accept and enjoy life to its fullest. Will was not able to accept his new self, as he was a rich investment banker that did a variety of fitness activities, but now depends on two people just to get him out of bed. Emotionally and mentally it is very frustrating for him. But Lou, a life loving girl was able to show him that even though his is different now, he is still able to enjoy what this world has to offer. This underlying message is an important one as it is the underlying message of this movie.

Both Emilia Clark, who played Lou, and Sam Claflin, who played Will, were excellent in portraying their respective characters. As it was a highly emotional movie, I was attracted to and felt for the characters in the movie. In the last euthanasia scene, the feelings of sadness of losing Will and the joy/ happiness for Will could be felt in Emilia’s character. It was a very powerful moment which left me in a state of awe and grief.

Considering this was director Thea Sharrock’s debut work in the film industry, I am very impressed with what she had achieved. She has created a very touching story that stayed true in the most simplistic and elegant way. There was no huge twist on it and everything was very black and white. I would definitely recommend watching watching a Saturday night with a glass of wine. You would not regret it.   

Concept: 5/10
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Acting: 8/10
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Storyline: 6/10
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: 6/10
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Omgoi – The Walk Out

Breakfast time was no longer at 7:30am but instead it was at 7! Today was the day that we have to start trekking out, so we needed to get up early and head out early. We got up at 6:30 and packed everything away and said goodbye and thank you to our homestay family. It was very nice to offer us their house for us to stay at. It is a great form of community based tourism as the family would actually get paid for us to sleep in their house, making it a win win situation for us all.

After a very nice filling breakfast, we started to make our way down the mountain. Walking out, we would be taking a different route. Instead of going over the mountains, it cuts through the valley, making it a much longer hike, but much more scenic as well. As we passed the school, the kids came out to wave goodbye to us. It was a very touching moment.

As we made our way around the valley and mountains, I took in the greatness and freshness of the air around me. We walked along the ridges of rice paddies as the local rice farmers prepared their fields for the planting season. At one field of the larger rice paddy fields, we stopped to take a break and do some reflections on the trip. This was the last open field as the trek now changes into a much more mountainous terrain.

After trekking in the mountains for an hour or so, we started to descend downwards into civilization. With every step we took, the more developed it became. Soon we were sharing the roads with motorbikes and cars again. It felt good to be back in the connected world, but I also do miss the excluded nature of things back in the mountains.

People made a run for it when they finally saw the buses waiting to pick us up to head back to Omgoi Resort where everyone had a nice hot shower and a good lunch. By 1pm, we were back in the buses and on our way to Chiang Mai airport.

Going on the windy mountainous roads, I reflected on this trip and project in general. I remembered the first time we went up to the village and compared it to three years after. How much the village has changed and all of the great work we have put into make the villager’s lives better, improving their quality of life while learning about development.

I am really glad I was able to go back to Omgoi and seeing the amount of interest this trip has developed, it is good to know that the trip would be sustained for generations of NISTies to come. I am happy that I have been presented with this opportunity to be part of this project. I wish to continue hearing good news about further developments with this project and hopefully be back to Omgoi again sometime in the future.

 

Omgoi – Building and Singing

Knowing that we might not wake up in time, we made sure that an alarm was set this time. The alarm woke us up at 7am and we had plenty of time to get ready before heading over to breakfast.

After completing the evaluations yesterday, it was time for us to use our muscle strength as we were helping to build bathrooms. The 30 of us were divided evenly by strength into 3 different groups. We picked up our hoes and shovels and headed to the various work sites around the village.

My group had quite a lot of manpower, there were 10 of us with an engineer, a teacher, a local guide and a few people from the local community to help us out. We started off with mixing the cement and getting the floor of the bathroom laid down. We also had to make sure there was a hole so that water is able to drain when someone took a shower.

As we did not need that many people mixing cement, some of us went to do some carpenting. There were a lot of bamboo and all of it needed to be cut down to size as the bamboo was going to be the wall of the bathroom. After cutting them down to size, the bamboo is nailed onto the side of the house.

Nailing the bamboo was actually a very long a hard task. The bamboo is actually thicker than we think they are and nailing them took a really long time. Often times the nail would start bending due to the force which means that the nail never actually makes it all the way into the frame. Other times we would miss the nail completely and hammer down on our thumbs which was actually very painful. But there had to be some risk as without the force the nail wouldnt go in, but with it would mean risk of hurting your thumb.

We worked on the bathroom until it was time for lunch. Our group ran out of bamboo sticks so we were not able to finish the last wall of the bathroom. It was all we could do with the amount of equipment and time we have. Below is a video one of my friends made of another group building a bathroom.

Here is another video that Khun Kate made of my group working on the bathrooms.

After a nice relaxing lunch break, we headed to our second bathroom building site. This site was much closer than the last one and equal amount of work needed to be done. We got down to work and we worked quite well as a team. Every time we would build a bathroom, the local family would be there to help us out. In the last house, the younger people were in the field, but the grandmother was there helping us out with cutting the bamboo and she showed up with more bamboo when we started to run out. Although she could not communicate with us due to a language barrier, we could see she was very appreciative of what we were doing.

At around 3 in the afternoon, we had to stop what we were doing as we had to move onto our next activity. The second bathroom was nearly done as well, again with just three sides of the wall made and the concrete floor filled in. We placed our tools back at basecamp and headed towards the school. It was time to build and race bamboo bikes!

Bamboo bikes are exactly what they sound like. The kids in the village use pieces of bamboo to put together a bike and they ride it down the hill. The road was very slippery and wet so it is actually quite a dangerous sport. Everyone took turns riding it down the hill and it was all very fun to watch. We all had a great time.

We had some free time before heading to dinner, so some of us decided to trek to the water tank and check it out. Although the water tank is just elevated 100 meters above the village, the trek up to the water tank felt like forever. It was a pretty hard climb and everyone had a hard time getting up. It just shows how hard mountaineering and trail really is. We stayed up there for no more than 15 minutes as we needed to head back down and get to shower before going to dinner. But getting down was actually harder than heading up the mountain as it places a lot of strain on your knees and ankles, which is not very comfortable for us humans. We have been adapted to walk on flat ground!

After dinner, we headed to the school for some cultural activities and engagements with the children of the village. But before we could socialize with the kids, the village elders were there to present us with a blessing. They would tie a white string around my wrist and say a blessing. This is to protect us and give us good health. After the blessing was over, we headed over to another building where there was a larger room for us to do activities with the children. The children had three different performances dance performances ready for us. They were all very well rehearsed and choreographed. After their planned performance, it was tradition for us to also put together a performance and d the same. As we never have anything planned, we would just think of something on the spot. Improvisation!

Jeff went first with his great juggling performance. He started off with juggling 1 ball, then went on to juggle 4 balls in the end. It was very nicely done and the kids loved it. A boy band has also formed on this trip and it was our turn to perform next. We did not know what we were doing so we just thought of a song and started to accapella it out. We first did a warm up with Stand By Me and then moved onto to do Smooth Criminal. We ended our improve performance with a Bohemian Rhapsody. I had no idea how we were able to pull it off but the Boy Band managed to do it somehow. After our performance, we played games with the kids and soon it was getting late and everyone needed to head home.

It was our last night in the village and the trip had been wonderful so far. People are very passionate about what they do and it is great to see a lot of the younger people taking up this project. In total there were 5 different year levels on this trip, with Jeff and I being the oldest. When we got back to our houses, everyone was tired as it had been a very long day with lots of physical activity, but we still stayed up to play cards as that is a tradition. Eventually everyone rolled into their sleeping bags under the mosquito nets and fell into sleep, spending our last night here in Omgoi.

 

 

Omgoi Evaluation

Breakfast was at 7:30 but everyone in my house didn’t wake up until 7:20 as the alarm did not go off. We rushed to get washed up and hurried to breakfast. But surprisingly we were not the last group that made it there as there were others still coming in after we got there.

After breakfast the next morning, the group gathered together and we began to conduct a series of activities that would benefit us with the improvement of the overall project. The projects that we have done have reached a certain stage where we are able to start evaluating the outcome of each individual project. What we did was to walk around the village and talk to the villagers about the outcomes of certain projects and look around the village to get an overall better understanding of how the village is becoming while all relating it back to the SDGs. After the walk around, a map of the village was drawn with all of our findings.

The exercise continued after lunch where we learned a very helpful skill from Graham, a staff member from the Buffalo Tours team that was accompanying us on the trip. He taught us a new way of using just 10 seeds to conduct needs analysis and getting the exact information about what the villagers need. What he told us could be summarized in three overall points. First, we must not do what they can do, but instead do what they can’t do. This is very important as doing what they can do is just a waste of everyone’s time and effort as our time up in the village is limited. Also our help is much more useful in areas where the villagers are not capable of achieving. Putting our efforts would push the project forward and allow actual action to occur. This results in a “win win win” situation, which is also the second lesson. It is a win for us as we are learning, a win for the villagers as they having improved facilities and a win for the teachers who have taught us a great lesson.

 

The last valuable lesson is that we should not just give things to them as that is charity. That is placing us, as outsiders, at a higher level than the villagers, which is absolutely not what should be happening. We must work with the villagers and connect with the villagers so that the projects we work on are a bilateral cooperation, where we do what the villagers can’t do and the villagers do what they can. This would also prevent the villagers from relying on us as donors as they have to put in their part to receive as well.

 

These three lessons are very valuable and every needs analysis should be conducted in that type of mindset. This would ensure that the most important issues are addressed, not what we, as outsiders, think the village needs, but instead what the village really needs according to the villagers.

After dinner, we headed towards the school to meet with the villagers and continue on our evaluation of the projects. Everyone split into smaller groups and we utilized the 10 seed technique that we had just learned that afternoon. We started to ask the villagers question and asked them to move the seeds into the different circles we had drawn. It took a little while before the villagers felt comfortable working with us as they were all a bit shy. After almost an hour of back and forth conversing, translating from English to Thai to Karen and then back, we felt like we got the overall evaluation that we wanted.

After heading back home from the school, my housemates and I were not very tired so we decided to play some cards. It was a great way to end the day. Tomorrow we were going to start building bathrooms!

Omgoi Round 5

It has been a day since I got back from Omgoi District in Chiang Mai and i can tell you that it was a very wonderful trip. Having been part of the project since the start, it was great to see the chance that had occurred with to the village since I last visited it. I learned a lot from this trip and met some wonderful new people.

We left school on Wednesday at 2pm and headed to the airport. We have around 33 students on this trip, which is by far the largest an Omgoi trip has ever been. It is pretty wonderful to see how much people want to go on this trip. After a short flight, we made it to Chiang Mai and headed to our hotel. We were given 2 hours of free time so I headed towards the night market to get some food and just hangout. The night market is pretty cool with a lot of things on sale and I got to get some nice Khao Soi. After that I headed back early to get some sleep as I was pretty tired from all the traveling that day.

We got up very early the next day and left Chiang Mai for Omgoi District at 8am. The first part of the drive was very straight with a two lane highway. About 1.5 hours in, we stopped for a break a bathroom break and got some snacks from 7/11. This was going to be our last stop in a somewhat civilized place. The road after the rest was windy and mountainous. We were heading right into mountainous terrain, climbing around and over these tall geological formations. We eventually reached Omgoi Resort 3 hours after we started on our journey.

After a quick lunch and a change into the proper hiking gear, we took another 10 minute car ride and arrived at the start point of our trek. The trek was actually harder than I remembered it to be. The first hour or so is a continuous 60 degree incline. This made all of us very tired and we had to take breaks quite frequently. The ground was also quite muddy which made it hard to get good grip. It was definitely a physical workout.

It was forecasted to rain during our walk in, but we were lucky that it only drizzled twice during our walk in. We were able to truly enjoy the beautiful and scenic route as we walked along the ridge and valleys of the Northern Thai mountains. 8 kilometers in, we emerged from the treeline and caught our first glimpse of the village. Having not been back to the village for more than a year, I quickly realized there that a lot of change had occurred. There were quite a few new houses that were being built and looking at the surrounding landscape has also changed a lot due to the increase of slash and burn.

As we descended from the mountain top and walked into the village, I started to recognize familiar faces of villagers that I have met on my past visits. Everyone was really tired after that long trek which I personally felt it took much longer than the ones I have previously been on. We got settled into our home stay houses and with only 4 peron to each house, there was plenty of space for everyone.

After experiencing a nice cold refreshing bucket showers, everyone headed to dinner. There was no activity planned for the night as we have visited the village during a very busy time of year. The rainy season was just about to begin so most of the villagers are out in their fields, preparing it for the rice planting season to start. The 30 of us sat around the sat around the dinner table, playing cards and talking to each other. As there was no phone signal in this valley, we were completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody was on their phones, but everyone was having a great time.

The night ended with us slowly making our way back to each of our houses. It had been a long day of travels for us and all of us are tired. The trip is great so far and I look forward to the activities and events tomorrow.