Monday, February 13, 2012

Trip Re-cap - Part 1

Hello everyone!  No one else has submitted material to be posted on this blog so I thought I might start us off with some memorable moments from our trip to the Thai-Burma border a few months ago.  We left New York and 26 hours later (two flights and a bus ride), we were in Mae Sot, Thailand!  Of course during the plane trip over, there was lots of bonding moments - group puzzle-solving, reading, experimenting with airplane food, cleaning up of regurgitated food...

Ahem, so the first person we met was from the group facilitating our visits to the organizations and overall travel logistics.  She took us to our first meal at Borderline Cafe, which also supports the Borderline Fair Trade Shop.  After sitting for what seemed like forever, it was nice to stretch our legs and lounge on the Thai-style floor cushions.  The menu featured room-temperature wheat or rice noodle dishes with assorted vegetables such as pickled tea leaves and tomatoes.  Many of the girls also tried the Burmese-style Iced Tea with basil.

After lunch we headed back to our rooms.  Our guest house was called Ban Thaai and was definitely a pleasant surprise!  The traditional architecture of the grounds and the beautiful landscaping added to the overall excitement of the trip.  The common area were immaculately kept (which we would be using very frequently to meet and have "reflection" sessions - more on this later) and the staff were very friendly.

We got on our bicycles for the first time to get to the next location on the agenda.  It was a little awkward at first because of the traffic flow - I guess we were used to driving on the right-hand side like in the US.  We had an orientation on the basics of appropriate behavior when meeting with the NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and CBOs (Community-Based Organizations) plus tips for getting around Mae Sot.  Because the city is next to Burma, there is a large Burmese population- both expatriates and refugees.  Burmese and Thai language were equally as common in this area.  

The photo is of our guest house entrance.  Note: scooters are probably the most popular form of transportation in Thailand.  It's perfect for the weather too!


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