another stamp in the passport
Hello lovely reader,
It’s nice of you to join me once again. So before I continue recaping what I did for the last three weeks in the field, why don’t I tell you a little of what I’ve been doing back in Chiang Mai in the last few days.
We are back studying in the classroom, but our new topic is Political Ecology of Forests, Upland People and Natural Resources. Our first day of class was yesterday and I am writing this post during lunch time of Day 2. Last course we had the readings broken up into 2-3 a night, but this time we have 5-7 articles a night for the week in Chiang Mai and will re-visit them in the field while doing other assignments. Worse, we didn’t get our readers until Monday and so couldn’t do the reading for Monday and I have to read those 5 articles sometime this week still. blah. Lots of work as usual. Don’t get me wrong though, I learned a lot during the last course on the Environment and Human Rights (as related to Dam development and rivers). So I am happy to put in the effort.
We also have to plan a 5-15 minute ecology lesson which we will teach to our peers during a hike when we are in the field. I know very little and very basic things about ecology like carrying capacity, climate change stuff, and about energy but not specifics so we will see how that goes….
I also need to call my host family…… Neither Nicole or I have yet so we should get on that. We can’t decide if it is worth it or not, (do they care if we stay in touch or not? and should I care if we stay in touch or not). Just because we didn’t feel that special or loved while there, being their 4th student and that they kind of didn’t seem to care about us to much. I will probably call them though.
I also went to the zoo on Sunday!!!! I love zoos. I know they are bad and I saw some really ugly things at the Chiang Mai zoo (i.e. coins in the crocodile pents implying that visitors threw them at the crocodile like a wishing well at the Rain Forest Cafe or something for good luck.). But some of the exibits were really neat. They have a large variety of big cats.
Heres the recap:
Week 2 in the field
We spent week two in the field in Vientiane, the capital of Laos (another stamp in the passport). We got to do some really cool things.
#1 Visit the Mekong River Commission, which is the Intergovernmental Organization that is attempting to regulate or at least faciliate discussions on developing the Mekong River basin (part of the Mekong that is down stream of China and Burma, includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam). We spent an entire day there getting to talk to people who work there and students in their Youth program.
#2 Visit the THPC Power Company. They were responsible in the past for a dam projcet that displaced a lot of people. They had to build another dam as a part of an expansion of the other one because someoneelse built a dams that affected their water flow. The first dam was a run of the river dam and had no resivoir and the other dam was built because they needed a resivior. For this expansion project they included a program addressing the social impacts of the displaced people and the relocated people. We got to hear what they are doing for the people they are forcing to relocate and resettle, and see the relocation and resettlement sites. It was really interesting to get their side of the story since we read a lot of the negative impacts they are having.
We got to visit the new dam also.
Vientiane was cool, but expensive. We didn’t have to exchange baht to kipp but trying o calculate how much stuff was suppose to cost was hard. Vientiane has so many tourists and so was expensive.
I also got to do a public workout in the park! It was like Jazzercise. Super fun!
Just to finish this up. We spent week 3 paddling the Mekong. We started in Chiang Khan which is a really cute nice town that just started using Tourism as an income. The people were friendly and the scenery along the Mekong was beautiful. We stayed at a guest house, then Paddled to another guest house. Each day was 8 hours on the water. The first day 40km the seconday 27km. Long!
Then we paddled down the Mekong after two days in Ban Kok Wow. Another village fighting a dam. That was odd. and Interesting. Very laid back village on a Sunday. Delicious food.
We then paddled to Si Chiang Mai (2 more days, 70km in total.)
We mostly spent time on the river during this block, looking at the morphology of the river. We had to eat peaunut butter crackers, jerky, and banana chips for lunch. yum.
Well, if your still reading thanks! That was long!
Til next time~