Great news. I have declared my victory on my Chemistry Extended Essay last week. I used computer programming to study the effect of molecular surface area on the physical properties of hydrocarbon molecules and the writing process was very enjoyable. It really demanded my inner computer scientist and chemist to think.
(A tetramethylbutane illustration from my Extended Essay)
In the same weekend, I went on a trip with my family to Taungoo and Than Daung Gyi, two of the towns in my home country. This trip is partly a vacation and partly work, because this serves as a survey for my Project Week. If you have read my previous blog posts, you will discover that I went to Beijing in March for the Project Week for my school. Project Week is a week of service learning for all the students at my school (LPCUWC) which take place in early March and all the students have to travel to different countries in South-East Asia to do many different kind of service (eg. helping to build houses, teaching underprivileged kids English .etc). This year, we even extend to two more countries outside Asia – Kazakhstan and Nepal. The unique thing about these trips is that they are often student initiated.
I intend to do the same trip to my country next year. To do this, I need to write a proposal next term and proceed if the school approves. I decided to visit the region and do a preliminary survey. The following is about my experience during the journey.
Taungoo is a city which is around four-hour drive from my city, Yangon. It is a historically significant city in my country as it used to serve as the kingdom of an ancient dynasty. However, many years fast forward, it remains a calm small city. The reason why I went to Taungoo is because the church I intend to work with for the project week is located there. I am currently helping the church for a water supply project. The church focus on improving the healthcare, education and infrastructure development of the local community – education and child care works are going on in the church compound. I discussed about the possibility of organizing a project week between LPC students and the church and the bishop willingly welcomed us.
I also got a chance to visit the kindergarten in the compound. I also discovered that there is a British teacher who come here regularly to teach English to the students. They told me how passionate she was, how busy she was running around the classrooms and how much the kids love her. They even showed me some of the souvenirs left by her.
After discussing with the church, I travelled around the city, checked the hotel rates and accommodation. I also checked about the food. The room rates and the food costs are reasonable. Then, I look for places for sightseeing. Although there are a number of natural resorts - such as waterfalls and mountains - there is not much places to visit in the city unless you go far. Than Daung Gyi (the place I travelled next) is the closest popular destination.
(Durian is in excess, in such cities)
However, since this is a historical city, there are multiple monuments of the ancient kings around the city and I managed to take nice photos of them so that I can use them to in my presentations if the Project Week happened to be a reality. For your information, one of the kings below is called ‘ Min Gyi Nyo.’
And the other one below is ‘ Bayint Naung’ (one of the three greatest kings of Myanmar)
Then we continued our journey to Than Daung Gyi.
Than Daung Gyi
The name ‘Than Daung Gyi’ literally translates to ‘the giant iron mountain.’ It is a cool and pleasant city on the mountaintop and not very far from Taungoo. We have to climb the mountain with car until we can reach the city on the mountaintop. Although I call it a city, it is not really comparable to the size of the city that you might be thinking – the population is counted in thousands. However, people come here for its famous scenery. This city has an iconic church on the mountaintop called Naw Bu Baw Mountain. You can see the location in the image below.
Apart from the churches, this place is famous for its natural scenery. When you arrive here, you are literally on a mountain among the mist. We stayed at a colonial British style hotel during our stay there and the price is quite cheap. I even see some westerners in the hotel, ready to travel around on a motorbike. During the night, we relax outside and the magic happens. The sky is initially clear and when the wind blows, a cloud of mist descends on the ground and wrap us inside. Everything around us turns white and we cannot see far. In a few minutes, the mist disappears. The process repeats it is quite relaxing to enjoy this moment. I even joked that the experience makes me feel that I am visiting Dracula’s castle, with the colonial British building under the night sky wrapped around the fog.
(Yes, the hotel is really gothic.)
The next morning, we got to enjoy the morning view of the city.
We bought some local products and fruits. Then climbed down the mountain with the car.
Currently it is late at night and I am on my way to home. Travelling is tiring, but the experience is worth it. For the next week, I will continue to fight my schoolwork and deadlines. Afterwards, I am planning to work on a multiplayer computer game project with me as the only designer and programmer. I am looking forward to it.
Keep in touch, I will write more posts later.