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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010


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Even though I have yet to arrive to the location where my adventure will begin, I feel as if it has already begun. To arrive in L.A, I was honestly nervous to meet everybody. With a handshake and friendly smile, I am introducing myself to what I know will be life time friends. Not scared. Not worried. Simply excited. I am truly looking forward to spending time in Thailand with everyone!

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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First initial impressions

Jesus Sandoval,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Even though I have yet to arrive to the location where my adventure will begin, I feel as if it has already begun. To arrive in L.A, I was honestly nervous to meet everybody. With a handshake and friendly smile, I am introducing myself to what I know will be life time friends. Not scared. […]

Posted On

06/28/10

Author

Jesus Sandoval

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Only one more week before we meet at the Hacienda!!!!!

The Instructor Team has been working around the clock in the small town of Bishop CA, putting the finishing touches on what will be a magical experience.

We want to share the designated leadership roles that students will embrace during our travels together this summer. When you have a chance please familiarize yourself with these & we'll explain more when we meet you next week!

~Ben, Megan & Mike

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Student Roles

Ben Carroll,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Only one more week before we meet at the Hacienda!!!!! The Instructor Team has been working around the clock in the small town of Bishop CA, putting the finishing touches on what will be a magical experience. We want to share the designated leadership roles that students will embrace during our travels together this summer. […]

Posted On

06/21/10

Author

Ben Carroll

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    [post_date] => 2010-06-15 00:00:00
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I'm looking forward to meeting everybody, but seeing how we can't post Thailand pics yet I thought I would show part of my life in Colorado. It isoften a lot colder here than where we are going. Can't wait to meet everyone.

Sarah

P.S

it is from a year ago.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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What Coloradans do in winter!!!

Sarah Haynes,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

I’m looking forward to meeting everybody, but seeing how we can’t post Thailand pics yet I thought I would show part of my life in Colorado. It isoften a lot colder here than where we are going. Can’t wait to meet everyone. Sarah P.S it is from a year ago.

Posted On

06/15/10

Author

Sarah Haynes

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    [post_date] => 2010-06-07 00:00:00
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Dear Thailand Summer 2010 Students and Parents,

Greetings! In a recent Yak post, the Dragons' administration offered some thoughts on the safety of travel to Thailand and of contingency plans that are being drafted. I would like to outline a few personal thoughts on safe travelling, as well as to detail some of my experiences working and staying safe while in Thailand.

During my time with the U.S. Peace Corps, I was stationed in a village in Southern Thailand. As some of you may know, the three southern-most provinces of Thailand have experienced many years of unrest and low-level conflict. Like the recent events, in Bangkok, the conflict in these provinces has been contained to a small geographic area. Although my province did not border any of these troubled provinces, it was important during my two years as a Volunteer that I remained informed on the situation and continually monitored factors affecting safety. From my time there, I learned three strategies that helped me to understand and assess the situation.

1. Monitor a variety of news sources. While serving as a Volunteer, I regularly checked multiple local, national, and international news sources, both through newspapers and online to find out what was happening in the deep south.

2. Seek out knowledgeable locals to broaden one's understanding of the situation and possible ways to respond to it. A teacher with whom I worked closely came from one of the southern-most provinces, and several other people from my village regularly travelled into the area on business. From them, I found out valuable information on the nature and scope of the conflict.

3. Always have back-up plans and be prepared to change course. As part of the Peace Corps emergency plan, I identified and planned out possible evacuation and relocation routes in case the situation escalated or affected my province.

As I watched the recent events in Bangkok unfold, and as I engaged in discussion with the Thailand instructor team and with Dragons' administration, I was reminded of how these strategies can be applied when traveling anywhere, and of my experience in applying them, both to myself and to colleagues and friends who travelled to Southern Thailand. While we are in-country, the instructor team will be monitoring a variety of news sources. Mike, Ben, and I will be reading newspapers, watching local news reports and updates, and searching online for international coverage of events happening in Thailand. Our Course Director, Josh, based in Chiang Mai, will likewise be checking several news sources and relaying his findings and thoughts to the instructors, and we will receive continuous updates from the WTBD staff in Boulder. In each of the locations to which we are travelling, the instructor team has a web of local contacts. These are co-workers, friends, and neighbors whom we have known for years and who can provide us with a cultural insiders' knowledge of the political and social situation.

Although we will be spending very little time in Bangkok, the instructor team also has a solid network of contacts in the capital. I have personal contacts at both the Peace Corps Thailand office and at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, both of which can be utilized for information and assistance. Finally, the instructor team is fully prepared to change our course on short notice, in case the situation in any part of the country becomes untenable or unsafe. We have a back-up itinerary to Laos, and I am confident that we will be able to move forward with a fascinating experience in Laos if travel to Thailand becomes inadvisable.

To me, one of the most interesting--and vital--parts of travelling is becoming informed on the political, social, and cultural landscape of the places one is visiting. In my travels throughout Thailand, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Latin America, I have stayed safe and have gained much peace of mind by closely and carefully learning about local and national circumstances, and by applying this knowledge to every activity in which I engage. My goal--and the goal of the instructor team and the Dragons' community--is to exercise all that Mike, Ben, and I have learned about safe travel in Thailand while guiding students to the same awareness and practice of safety.

Thank you,

Megan Wolf

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Thoughts on safety

Megan Wolf,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Dear Thailand Summer 2010 Students and Parents, Greetings! In a recent Yak post, the Dragons’ administration offered some thoughts on the safety of travel to Thailand and of contingency plans that are being drafted. I would like to outline a few personal thoughts on safe travelling, as well as to detail some of my experiences […]

Posted On

06/7/10

Author

Megan Wolf

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    [post_content] => Thailand Students, Families and Friends - 

Greetings from Boulder, where your Dragons administrative team is finalizing preparations for summer programs. It's shaping up to be a terrific year, and we're already extremely impressed by the personal character and intellectual curiosity of students on the Thailand program.

Although we remain confident in our ability to minimize political risks in Thailand and stick to our projected itinerary, we are working hard to develop a comprehensive back-up plan for implementation in the event of renewed political instability in Thailand.

Please review the back-up itinerary below, which involves travel in Laos.

Of course, should political risks necessitate a re-route, we will be responsive to the situation on the ground. This flexibility is a crucial element of our overall approach to risk management.

In the event of untenable political instability in Thailand, we will enter Laos either by flying directly into Luang Prabang or Vientiane, avoiding Thailand entirely, or via a transfer at Suvarnabhumi airport if the airport (located an hour from Bangkok city center) is secure. Should the political scene deteriorate when we are already in Thailand, we will have the options to fly to Luang Prabang from Chiang Mai or travel overland to the closest and most secure crossing - either via the ferry crossing at Houayxai, the Friendship Bridge at Vientiane, the ferry crossing at Tha Kaek or the bridge at Pakse.

In the event of a re-route, the MOST LIKELY entry point to Laos will be Houayxai, in the north. The itinerary below assumes an entry at Houayxai, but please note that we can pick up the itinerary or run it in a different direction depending on our entry point into Laos.

Dragons has extensive contacts and history in Laos, including established and well-vetted home-stays, a program house near Luang Prabang, established trekking routes and local guides who understand Dragon's protocol and curricular goals.

Dragons 2010 Thailand Program - Laos Version

Module 1: Introduction to Trans-border Issues in Southeast Asia
Module 2: Home-stay in upland Laotian village
Module 3: From French Colony to UNESCO World Heritage Site; tourist-development and cultural preservation in Luang Prabang
Module 4: Buddhist Temple Visits and lowland Laotian village Home-Stay
Module 5: Trans-border Resource Management - Vientiane
Module 6: Culture, Ecology & Development in National Protected Areas - Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area & Phou Hi Poun National Biodiveristy Conservation Area
Module 7: Island Community Homestay & Khmer Ruins of Wat Phu Champasak


DAYMorningAfternoonEveningTopic
1 **MODULE 1: Introduction to Transborder Issues in Southeast AsiaArrive Chiang Mai Travel Chiang Mai to Chiang KhongDinner in Chiang Khong // Sleep Chiang KhongRugged Travel
2Explore Chiang KhongTravel Chiang Khong to Houei XaiExplore Houei Xai // Sleep Houei XaiTransborder Issues (Thailand & Laos)
3Travel Houei Xai to Luang Namtha
(travel)Arrive Luang Namtha // Sleep Luang NamthaRugged Travel, Transborder Issues (Thailand, Laos & China)
4Explore Luang Namtha & Nearby ethnic minority villages
village explorations
Luang Namtha
Transborder Issues / minority issues
5Travel Luang Namtha to Pak Mong Community-based Tourism Village(travel)Arrive Pak Mong community // Sleep Pak Mong communityRugged Travel
6 **MODULE 2: Community-based Tourism Home-stay in upland Laotian villagePak Mong CBT community homestay----Home-stay
7Pak Mong CBT community homestay----Home-stay
8Pak Mong CBT community homestay----Home-stay
9Pak Mong CBT community homestay----Home-stay
10Pak Mong CBT community homestay----Home-stay
11Pak Mong CBT community homestay----Home-stay
12Travel Pak Mong community homestay to Luang PrabangArrive Luang PrabangExplore Luang Prabang // Sleep Luang PrabangRugged Travel
13 **MODULE 3: From French Colony to UNESCO World Heritage Site; tourist-development and cultural preservation in Luang PrabangLao language studyNGOs / History / Lectures / ExplorationNGOs / History / Lectures / ExplorationSurvey of cultural and environmental preservation
14Lao language studyNGOs / History / Lectures / ExplorationNGOs / History / Lectures / ExplorationSurvey of cultural and environmental preservation
15Lao language studyNGOs / History / Lectures / ExplorationNGOs / History / Lectures / ExplorationSurvey of cultural and environmental preservation
16 **Module 4:Buddhist Temple Visits and lowland Laotian village Home-Stay Home-stay in Ban Xieng Mene
Temple Visit
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneHome-stay, religion
17Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneTemple Visit
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneHome-stay, religion
18Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneTemple Visit
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneHome-stay, religion
19
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneTraditional Arts & Ethnology Center
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneHome-stay, culture
20Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneFree the Bears service project
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneHome-stay, conservation, service
21 Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneFree the Bears service project
Home-stay in Ban Xieng MeneHome-stay, conservation, service
22 **MODULE 5: Trans-border Resource Management - VientianeTravel Luang Prabang - Vientiane Travel Luang Prabang - VientianeTravel Luang Prabang - Vientianerugged travel
23NGO / Government Visits (ERI. MRC, ECHO, COPELAOS, etc.)NGO / Government Visits (ERI. MRC, ECHO, COPELAOS, etc.)NGO / Government Visits (ERI. MRC, ECHO, COPELAOS, etc.)Transborder policy, service
24
NGO / Government Visits (ERI. MRC, ECHO, COPELAOS, etc.)--NGO / Government Visits (ERI. MRC, ECHO, COPELAOS, etc.)NGO / Government Visits (ERI. MRC, ECHO, COPELAOS, etc.)
Transborder policy, service
25 ** MODULE 6: Culture, Ecology & Development in Wildlife Conservation Areas - Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area & Phou Hi Poun National Biodiveristy Conservation Area
Trekking Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area--wildlife conservation society research station bunkhouse Rugged Travel, Transboundary resource management, Dams and Development projects
26Trekking Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area--bunkhouse Rugged Travel, Transboundary resource management, Dams and Development projects
27 Trekking Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area--bunkhouse Rugged Travel , Transboundary resource management, Dams and Development projects
28Trekking Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area--bunkhouseRugged Travel, Transboundary resource management, Dams and Development projects
29Trekking Nam Kading National Biodiversity Conservation Area--bunkhouse
30Travel to Phou Hi Poun National Biodiversity Conservation Area(travel)Tha Kaek Travel Lodge
Rugged Travel
31Trekking Phou Hin Boun National Biodiversity Conservation Area--Trekking // Village Home-stay
32Trekking Phou Hin Boun National Biodiversity Conservation Area--Trekking // Village Home-stay
33Remote Community Temple Visit--Temple StayComparative Religions
34Remote Community Temple VisitTemple StayComparative Religions
35Travel Phou Hin Boun to Don Daeng Islandrugged travel
36 **Module 7: Don Daeng Island Home-stayDon Daeng Island Homestay----Home-stay
37----Home-stay
38 ----Home-stay
39----Home-stay
40----Home-stay
41 Pakse
prepare for journey home
----Pakse
42 Pakse - Bangkok flight (or Pakse to Cambodia)

Again, we want to emphasize that Dragons is confident about running the program in Thailand this year, but we also feel that a solid back-up itinerary is essential for risk management purposes.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

All the best,

- The Dragons Team

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Laos: An Alternative Itinerary

Dragons Administration,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Thailand Students, Families and Friends – Greetings from Boulder, where your Dragons administrative team is finalizing preparations for summer programs. It’s shaping up to be a terrific year, and we’re already extremely impressed by the personal character and intellectual curiosity of students on the Thailand program. Although we remain confident in our ability to minimize […]

Posted On

06/7/10

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_date] => 2010-06-07 00:00:00
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    [post_content] => 

Hi all,

Greetings from Thailand!

I wanted to follow up to Elizabeth’s post on the Yak Yak board and share with you my thoughts on travelling safely in Thailand. Just last weekend I went down to Bangkok where I met with local shopkeepers and former co-workers at the United Nations. We spoke extensively about the current political climate and it seems the situation is returning to normal. This does not mean that the opposing factions are all of the sudden buddy-buddy; however, stakeholders realize the importance of beginning a process of reconciliation.

I spent a lot of time walking around the city and there were many people out and about taking photographs and eating street food. It felt like the city that I studied in back in 2006 and 2007.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about managing and assessing risks. Like the rest of our instructor team, I am quite familiar with navigating safe spaces during tumultuous political times. I have been working for a Burmese human rights organization for the past five years and if you’ve seen any recent news about Burma you’ll know that it is quite a volatile place. During the Saffron Revolution in 2007 (when tens of thousands of Buddhist Monks came out to protest against the military junta) I helped support a network of activists in Rangoon. I was first and foremost concerned with their security and worked to ensure their safety throughout the entire process.

I am very much looking forward to showing you around this beautiful country. But if for whatever reason things become unsafe, we are all ready for Plan-B. We have a phenomenal itinerary in place for Laos. I have travelled there many times and have a fantastic network of friends and colleagues throughout the country. The Lao language is also quite similar to Thai and so all of us instructors will be able to communicate with local villagers and community leaders—and soon enough you will be able to as well!

If you have any questions about Thai politics feel free to post a Yak Yak or contact me directly.

Can’t wait to meet you all!

-Mike

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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ปลอดภัย means safe

Michael Paller,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Hi all, Greetings from Thailand! I wanted to follow up to Elizabeth’s post on the Yak Yak board and share with you my thoughts on travelling safely in Thailand. Just last weekend I went down to Bangkok where I met with local shopkeepers and former co-workers at the United Nations. We spoke extensively about the […]

Posted On

06/7/10

Author

Michael Paller

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Dear Team,

Phrom mai khrap/ka? Are you ready? We, your instructor team, are continuing to make plans and to figure out logistics for this summer. The three of us are excited beyond words. In just a few short weeks, we will get to meet you and together we'll put those plans in action. Already, we have begun the process of calling each of you. If you haven't heard from us yet, keep an ear open for the phone--one of us will be calling you soon!

While there are many aspects of packing and planning that we will be discussing with you individually during the phone calls, there is one item that we wanted to address as a group, so that we can give a thorough explanation. In several of our i-team meetings, the subject of iPods has come up (and by "iPods," we mean any personal listening device that has earphones), and after much discussion, we feel that this summer will be a more rewarding, fuller experience if we all leave our iPods at home. There are three main reasons that we believe this:

First, iPods are a highly exclusionary item in an intensely collectivistic culture. As you will soon experience for yourselves, nearly all Thais prefer to spend almost all their time in the company of other people. To most Thais, what is worth doing is worth doing in groups. Personal listening devices exclude everyone around you, not just from talking to you, but from participating in the same activity that you are enjoying. In place of your iPod, try to find an item that is inclusionary to pack--like a frisbee or a travel game.

Second, the ups and downs of extended travel can often cause people to disengage from what is around them. Each member of the i-team has experienced this, since we've all spent extended periods of time living in Thailand. Items like iPods can make it a lot easier to disengage from what is going on around you and extremely difficult to re-engage in the culture. Picture this scenario: It's day five of a homestay, and before dinner you just want some time alone, just 15 minutes alone in your room with your iPod on. Those 15 minutes fly by too quickly, and it's too hard to go back out to sit and talk with your host family, so you stay in your room with your earphones in. Meanwhile, your family wants to show you how to make some Thai dishes, but it's too hard for them to interrupt you while you're listening to your iPod, so they quietly make dinner and leave you alone (this is called greng jai and it's something you'll learn about a lot!). If your iPod is safely in your room back in the U.S., it will be far easier to stay plugged in and gain new experiences.

Finally, we're sure that you've all read your Lonely Planet guides cover-to-cover by now. That being the case, you will have found out that June to October is the rainy season in Thailand. As you've probably noticed from the itinerary that we posted on the Yak board, we're going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. Lots of rain + lots of time spent outdoors + electronic devices = nothing good! In addition to rain, other environmental factors--like high humidity--plus the inherent risks of traveling with electronics, like having them get lost or stolen, makes it a smart idea to leave your iPods at home.

We hope that the explanation above gives you a clear picture as to why we are asking you to leave your iPods in the U.S. The i-team feels that it is in everyone's best interest, and will add to the overall climate and experience of this summer's trip. As part of the team, we would not ask you to do anything that we would not do ourselves, and we too will not be bringing our iPods with us.

Many of you may also have questions about cell phones. When in Thailand, each member of the i-team will have a cell phone with which we will maintain close communication with the Dragons' office in Boulder. If there is a need for your family to call you or for you to call your family, this will be a highly efficient and effective way for you and your family to speak to each other. If you feel that the only way for you to be comfortable is to bring along your own cell phone, that's fine. We consider personal cell phones to be emergency devices that are only to be used if you find yourself separated from the group with no other way to communicate, or if you are in a situation that compromises your safety. During portions of the trip when the entire group is together, the i-team will collect personal cell phones to keep them secure.

If you have any questions or concerns about iPods or cell phones, or about anything related to the trip, please do not hesitate to contact us. As mentioned above, we have or will be calling each of you soon. See you later this month!

Choke dee!

Ben, Mike, and Megan

Contact Information

Ben Carroll: bcarroll@isdsi.org

Mike Paller: mikepaller@gmail.com

Megan Wolf: meganwolf1@gmail.com or (618) 335-7951

[post_title] => Request from I-team [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => request-from-i-team [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-06-06 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48306 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 375 [name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [slug] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 375 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 51 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 375 [category_count] => 51 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 )

Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Request from I-team

Megan Wolf,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Dear Team, Phrom mai khrap/ka? Are you ready? We, your instructor team, are continuing to make plans and to figure out logistics for this summer. The three of us are excited beyond words. In just a few short weeks, we will get to meet you and together we’ll put those plans in action. Already, we […]

Posted On

06/6/10

Author

Megan Wolf

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    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-06-06 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Hey guys,

Well, it is getting near and like most of you, I am very excited. Can't wait to see everyone on the 28th. I will arrive to L.A at around 1:30 Pm and wonder around until it is time to meet up. I hope/know our group will be one of the best and we will make awesome memories. I do have questions that I hope can be answered.

1) So this camera/charger thing is confusing me. I will be bringing a rechargeable camera and I want to buy a converter, so what kind is recommended?

2)Are we allowed to bring any sports stuff? I want to know if it is okay to bring for example a soccer ball or volley ball so we can all play together.

3)Books? We have to all bring our favorite book and share? Is this right, not too sure.

Not sure about my other questions but if I remember the rest, I will post them up. See you guys soon.

[post_title] => Counting down the days [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => counting-down-the-days [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-06-06 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48315 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 375 [name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [slug] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 375 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 51 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 375 [category_count] => 51 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 )

Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Counting down the days

Jesus Sandoval,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Hey guys, Well, it is getting near and like most of you, I am very excited. Can’t wait to see everyone on the 28th. I will arrive to L.A at around 1:30 Pm and wonder around until it is time to meet up. I hope/know our group will be one of the best and we […]

Posted On

06/6/10

Author

Jesus Sandoval

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 48320
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-06-04 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

Dear Thailand Families,

As we have been communicating via emails and yak postings, we continue to plan for an exceptional course in Thailand. However, recent events have compelled us to think critically about back-up plans. And so we are in the process of putting the final touches on our fall-back itinerary should the political situation devolve. In addition, the course instructors will themselves post additional notes to this site, speaking to their experiences and thoughts on travel safety in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. When considering safety, it is extremely important to consider all the facts. While political turmoil may appear a big concern, we also need to consider quality of roads and transportation, quality of healthcare, quality of clean food and water, and incidence of illness.

Furthermore, wherever we travel, it is most important to consider the assets of our instructors. For 18 years, since our first trip to Thailand in ´93, we have maintained an instructor-to-student ratio of 4:1, limiting group size to 12 students, and hiring only instructors who have extensive first-hand experience living in Thailand. Between Ben, Megan, Mike and Josh, the team leaders working on this course have over 20 years of experience living and working in Southeast Asia, mostly in Thailand. They´ve had to negotiate complex issues for themselves, and have been responsible for the welfare of students, colleagues and communities.

Finally, if we are in Thailand and something goes wrong, we´ll fall back on the services of our emergency evacuation provider, SOS, or we will fly out of Laos, via Hong Kong. We are never far from entry-points into Laos, far from urban centers, or areas where our team leaders have worked and are all well-connected.

Please note as well that Thailand´s economy is heavily weighed on tourism, and all Thais have a tradition of treating visitors as honored guests; we can expect to be cared for and treated with respect, especially in communities where our instructors are deeply rooted.

It is imperative to all of us that every student and parent feel 100% comfortable. If anyone questions the safety of our routing, we request that you get in touch with us immediately.

We will continue to plan for our program in Thailand, while working on back-up plans in Laos. Either way, we are committed to running an exceptional course that will faithfully deliver on all of our advertised program components.

Thank you,

Chris Yager, Elizabeth Johnson, and the Dragons Admin

[post_title] => Addressing Your Concerns: The Safety of our Thailand Course [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => addressing-your-concerns-the-safety-of-our-thailand-course [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-06-04 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48320 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 375 [name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [slug] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 375 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 51 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 375 [category_count] => 51 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 )

Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Addressing Your Concerns: The Safety of our Thailand Course

Elizabeth Johnson,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

Dear Thailand Families, As we have been communicating via emails and yak postings, we continue to plan for an exceptional course in Thailand. However, recent events have compelled us to think critically about back-up plans. And so we are in the process of putting the final touches on our fall-back itinerary should the political situation […]

Posted On

06/4/10

Author

Elizabeth Johnson

WP_Post Object
(
    [ID] => 48324
    [post_author] => 39
    [post_date] => 2010-06-03 00:00:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00
    [post_content] => 

We received welcome news yesterday when the US State Department lifted the Travel Warning for Thailand. Though there is still a declared state of emergency, the lifting of the travel warning is very encouraging.

http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/060310wardenmessage.html.

In Chiang Mai, it is business as usual (except for the extremely low numbers of travelers). Schools are in session, businesses are open and traffic (unfortunately) is bumper to bumper. I have been in contact with the US Consul General and others in the area and the situation is improving every day.

Our instructor team met last night to continue working on the Thailand program. We have a fantastic itinerary planned for the summer and are working with some outstanding local experts to create a powerful experience. As the current situation improves, I am confident that we can continue to deliver a safe experience that upholds the Dragons core values.

We are also putting the finishing touches on a backup itinerary which will take us to the beautiful country of Laos.

Our instructor team will be in contact with you in the coming weeks. We look forward to seeing you in LA soon!

[post_title] => Thailand Travel Warning Lifted [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => thailand-travel-warning-lifted [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2010-06-03 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=48324 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 375 [name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [slug] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 375 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 250 [count] => 51 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 21.1 [cat_ID] => 375 [category_count] => 51 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 [category_nicename] => thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010 [category_parent] => 250 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2010/thailand-the-spirit-of-greng-jai-summer-2010/ ) ) [category_links] => Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010 )

Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

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Thailand Travel Warning Lifted

Josh Morris,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2010

Description

We received welcome news yesterday when the US State Department lifted the Travel Warning for Thailand. Though there is still a declared state of emergency, the lifting of the travel warning is very encouraging. http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/060310wardenmessage.html. In Chiang Mai, it is business as usual (except for the extremely low numbers of travelers). Schools are in session, […]

Posted On

06/3/10

Author

Josh Morris

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