Week 8: More Infrastructure and Chiang Mai, Thailand

I have continued working on the infrastructure project, which is still as comprehensive and complex as ever. I have continued to analyze and organize data from the various financiers, which has led to almost-continual discovery of gaps and issues that need to be resolved (or at least acknowledged) as we assemble our dataset. Daniel, Tep and I have had two meetings now to define the scope, and at each meeting, we discover that we still need more information gathering.

We have accepted the fact that, at the very least, the project will require different methodology and different criteria for each financier. Which means instead of one global dataset, we may have several different sets, one for each financier. But speculation aside, we’re still in the process of defining the scope. We’re consulting with other researchers who have tackled similar infrastructure-related projects in the region.

I have begun the process of preparing the documents that I referenced in the climate change, climate change adaptation, and climate change mitigation topic pages for their upload to CKAN. The three topic pages are still awaiting the review process.

In sum, my work week was quite similar to the last, as my projects are still in the same respective phases they were in last week. By contrast, however, last weekend was significantly different from the previous!

Since my arrival in Phnom Penh on May 20th, I had not left Cambodia. As of last weekend, that is no longer true, and I’ve decided this phase of my internship should be titled, “Weekend Warrior: Southeast Asia Edition.” Last weekend, James and I traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand. This coming weekend we head to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And the following weekend, we venture to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.

The trip to Thailand was a little rough around the edges: we each got fined for overstaying our business visa (we both whole-heartedly believed we were in compliance), I got fined in Thailand for driving a motorbike without an international driver’s license, and I got a vicious stomach bug that relegated me to the hotel for 22 straight hours. I was pretty bummed I couldn’t enjoy authentic Thai food to its fullest potential. But, those details aside, Thailand was great!

Thailand is significantly more developed than Cambodia. It was, quite literally, detectible from the air as we approached our landing for our layover in Bangkok. After seven weeks in Cambodia, I didn’t expect to see such a marked difference between the two neighboring countries. I was also struck by the fact that people seemed to be friendlier, happier and more animated; children were running around, laughing, and playing joyfully, which is not a sight I witness in Cambodia.

On Friday, we rented a motorbike and followed one of the main roads out of town. We followed as it wound up to Wat Prah That Doi Suthep, which is situated outside and well above the city. From there we hiked to a waterfall and visited another temple on our way back into town. That afternoon I really started to feel less than stellar, so I retired to the hotel around 5pm and didn’t make it out again until 3pm Saturday. Saturday evening, we walked to a night market full of food and souvenir vendors. As the sun set, the crowd grew thicker until it was difficult to walk; we were happy we had gotten there on the early end! On Sunday, we had just enough time for a therapeutic Thai massage and lunch before heading to the airport to catch our flights home. As exciting as the weekend adventures are, it always feels nice to walk back in the door at home and enjoy the comfort and serenity of my own room.

 Chiang Mai Pano

Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep


Waterfall 2

Prah Singh

Chiang Mai