I awoke to blinding sunlight, soon quickly realising the adventure that lay before me: we were going on our residential trip! The thought blew my mind! It was finally time! I threw on my purple trip t-shirt and soon turned up at school.
There was a gathering of groggy year 6s wearing identical purple trip t-shirts barely awake. Teachers were frantically scrambling around the foyer doing final preparations. We boarded the bus and arrived at the international airport (Tan Son Nhat International Airport) 20 minutes later. After meeting up with our future friends from AP1, we went through security only to hear that the plane had a half-hour delay. 30 minutes later, we boarded the plane and headed for Malaysia.
A few movies and card games later, the plane finally broke through the seemingly
endless sky of clouds and touched down around 10 minutes later. Rain drops formed
miniscule streams on the windows. Rain clouds filled the skies. A few hours later, the entire group alighted the buses and instantly headed for the dormitories to cool off. We had a great supper but had a sleepless mosquito-infested night.
As the dorm started to stir, I saw that many of my dorm mates had bloodshot eyes and were completely peppered with mosquito bites. The breakfast was much better, though, as news spread that we were going to the famous Gua Tempurung (The Coconut Shell Cave). This enlightened my fellow friends greatly.After the meal, I scrambled for my head torch and a pair of fresh clothes to change into.
We were told to meet up in the dining hall for further instructions. The group of TX and AP1 students were split into two groups based on the dormitories, Girls 1 and Boys 1, Girls 2 and Boys 2.
The camp leader, Mr. Roy informed us to keep our climbing helmets on at all times while the camp workers handed out the helmets.He told us that we would be travelling in a ‘limousine’ (the back of a lorry). When we reached the cave we were stunned by the natural beauty of the gargantuan hole. Stalactites hung like menacing daggers from the ceiling. The columns stood like shaggy pillars, struggling to support the weight of the mountain above us. We climbed up, then down, then up, then down, then… Then the path ended, just like that, it ended. We stood at the top of a rocky slope and were told to descend into the darkness. At the bottom we were confronted by an underground stream and waded in. we reached a part in which we had to crawl through a tunnel where the stream flowed through. The trip took another 30 minutes before we emerged from the darkness. We reached a point where we had to turn off all our head torches and feel what it is like without any light in the cave. We boarded the ‘limousine’ and went back to the Nomad Adventure Camp and immediately headed for the showers. I thought to myself, I hope I sleep tonight, and I slept like a dog.
Today activities were all about the river. We boarded the ‘limousine’ once more and got out 10 minutes later at the river. The first activity we did was called defensive swimming. I fared pretty well considering other people’s attempts. I had to swim in a weird way to avoid the rocks that poked out from the ice-cold water. Then we were split into 3 groups to do 3 activities: throw bagging, river crossing, and more swimming.
We then had lunch and were ready to start the flat-water rafting back to our camp! Pretty much the entire group jumped for joy when they heard of the news. When we started, there was a little rivalry between our boats and the others. A surge of adrenalin suddenly hit me and I began telling my other teammates to paddle in synchronisation. We even reached a point where we had to get out of the boat because the river was so shallow! We met up with the other groups for a 15 minute break and then continued the journey.
An hour later, we arrived at our finishing point and went to bed 6 hours later, after a shower and a delightful dinner and some free time in the evening. We were also told that we will be having a ‘Dorm Inspection’ in which a teacher would be checking the 4 dorms to see if we had kept them clean.
This was the final day before the flight back to Vietnam. Today we were going to the famous mountain school as they say in the nomad camp. The site was filled with trees with ropes that connected the trees together. We were split into 3 teams once more for 3 activities: low ropes, rock climbing and more caving in the ‘silent cave’. My group was doing the low ropes first, you had to walk on a rope and basically trust the 2 supporters that are there to support you and you have complete the challenge.
The next thing we did was caving in the silent cave. You have to get through the short cave using only 2 ropes and a few climbing staples (one of the ropes for standing on and one for holding onto). After getting through the cave, we saw a thriving population of bats. We had to walk around the mountain instead of going back through the cave and into the site.
The rock climbing was also extremely fun and I had actually done better than how I had expected myself to perform.
We then had 3 more activities: the giant swing, the leap of faith and the zipline.
The one I enjoyed most was the giant swing where you have the feeling of being weightless and then get thrown around in an arc. The zipline, although interesting,did not give me the same feeling of freedom as the swing had. The leap of faith was definitely interesting but I disliked it the most because of the fact that the safety ropes had pushed against my helmet and that I could not see anything.
After that we had lunch and finally headed back to camp. We then had 1 hour of free time and a dorm inspection after dinner that was worth double points. The dorm inspection was absolutely dreadful when the inspector had found a plastic bag filled with cloth in the corner of our dorm. I had suspected the belongings had came from the other dorm until I realised that it must have had came from one of my dorm mates.
It was chaos with everybody packing up after dinner.
It was a busy morning as people frantically stuffed their belongings into their backpacks
and luggages. The trip was over. I was filled with mixed feelings as we boarded the plane back to Vietnam. When we reached Vietnam we were utterly overjoyed by the thought of seeing our parents again.
This trip will be a memorable one, a memory that will stay in my head forever.