Antipodeans Trip – Team 2
From Sunday 24 September to Friday 6 October, Tintern had two teams (31 students and four teachers) travelling through the north of Vietnam. We were immersed in the culture and made many memories. My group, Team 2, aided a family in the Mai Chau region to construct a kitchen in only four days! This was a tough experience for many as most of us had little to no building experience and we were yet to be acclimatised to the humid conditions. Through blood, sweat and tears we were able to accomplish this task and on the last day we got to see all of our hard work pay off with a fully constructed kitchen.
We next moved onto the trek which we were told would be an easy and flat walk. We were confronted with quite the opposite. It was raining, humid, dark, rough and extremely steep. With the help of each other, we survived the days and made it to our beautiful homestays. They were situated in the mountains and had a killer view.
After the trek, both teams had time to do lots of activities back in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. We enjoyed shopping in the street markets, visiting temples, watching a water puppet show and getting a tour of the city by a cyclo, which is a three-wheel bicycle taxi. This was a nice time to relax and chill out after all the hard work we had put into the community project and trek.
To finish off our amazing experience in Vietnam, we got the chance to stay the night on a wooden junk boat in Halong Bay. The boat was amazing, it had three levels; which included an upper deck that you could relax on as well as a beautiful dining room and comfy cabins. We also had the chance to kayak to a swimming spot where we were able to watch the sunset over the rocky islands, then later that evening some of us chose to attempt squiding. Although no squid were caught, many plastic bags were and they could all say that they cleaned the bay as well!
Overall, I can guarantee that each and every one of us took something positive away from this trip and learnt something about ourselves along the way. I would like to say a huge thank you to the teachers that gave up their own, well deserved holiday to instead spend it with us. Also to our Antipodeans leader, Chris, who made the trip 10 times better than it already was. Thank you!
by Margaret Pywell, Year 9