Monday, November 26, 2012

School | Dump Field Trip

The second part of our natural resources field trip took us to the town dump. I was really crossing my fingers that the torrential downpour that began at the clay mine would continue therefore cancelling our visit here but alas the sky cleared. The rain did however supress the normal scents one would expect to find at a dump.

The owner (?) of the dump (who lives on site along with many of the workers and their families) pays for each shipment of garbage. It is then sorted through into things that can be recycled and sold and things that should be burned. Previously, the third grade had gone to the Lippo version of this but I was unable to attend due to professional development. Apparently there is quite a contrast between how the two businesses are run. I don't know if I've ever actually been to a dump before but this was an eye-opening experience that will make me think twice before throwing away another plastic bottle!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

School | Clay Mine Field Trip

In our current Unit of Inquiry entitled Sharing the Planet, the grade three students are learning about the importance of natural resources, how they are harvested and how to use them responsibly. Mom was able to come to school to do a read aloud with my students from the book The Curious Garden, which fits nicely within our unit. I love this book by Peter Brown because the artwork is awesome and it depicts what a great difference one dedicated person can make on their society.

Later in the day, in conjunction with our study on the human design process (exploration, extraction, processing, consumption), we took a field trip to a local clay mine to observe how clay is formed into bricks. In addition to observation, students were able to participate in some of the stages such as extraction and processing. The students were able to see how difficult manual labor can be and also realize how much hard work goes into making a single brick!

The workers in the "factory" came from an area of Central Java, near to where I lived last year. Since their children are young, they live with their parents in a shack at the extraction site. As they grow older, they will be sent back to their hometown to live with a relative and possibly attend school as their parents continue working here. The children wandering around were absolutely precious :) Also, as we were touring the drained rice pady, students from the local elementary school caught site of us and gave us quite a bit of attention. I briefly got the feeling that we were fish in an aquarium as they were cheering and waving as we walked by!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Phuket | Thailand

We ended our week-long travel extravaganza in Phuket. After our second life-threatening cab ride, we arrived at our hotel. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach and getting a Thai massage. On our last day together, mom and I rented a motorbike to travel around the island by my preferred mode of transportation. I have yet to find an island over here in the Pacific that does not look like paradise. Nothing beats a tropical sunset!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bangkok | Thailand | Day 2

On our second day in Bangkok, we awoke rather early to drive to a town called Maeklong. You might have seen this particular town before on YouTube or the Travel Channel because it hosts a well known market. This particular market is comprised of vendors who could not fit into the establishment that contains the actual market. They instead spilled out the back and onto the tracks of a working railroad. Four times a day, the vendors have to adjust their awnings and back away as the train squeezes through the narrow corridor in between buildings. I've now been living in Southeast Asia for a year and a half which means that I have seen my fair share of markets, but this one takes the prize for most miraculous!

From there, we continued one of the many floating markets surrounding Bangkok. Unfortunately, in recent years, the main market has relocated and turned into one of the largest tourist traps I have seen in Asia. Having done research and watched travel shows, I was expecting a picturesque gathering of a plethora of boats floating within close proximity to each other, selling their fresh vegetation. This market, however, was filled with boats selling the same tourist trinkets that could be found down any alley in Bangkok. Now, I have been informed that markets, such as the one I had been picturing, do still exist but are only open on the weekend. We finished up our experience at the market by taking a paddle boat around the canals surrounding the area. We saw a bounty of monitor lizards streaming through the murky water as well as contraband pet shops and people bathing.