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29-Dec-2002
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First reports from the Jamboree


Despite the communications problems, the first reports from the Jamboree have arrived courtesy of the Woking Contingent. They show clearly young people having a great time and speaking as they find!

"Hey everyone!"

"The Jamboree is as fantastic as you all told us it would be."

"There is only one word to describe this place: WOW!!!!"

"We left the hotel last Friday and travelled to the site by coach, under a police escort. We have been escorted everywhere throughout our trip, roads have been closed for us and coaches have special permission to use the outside lane on motorways to help speed our passage around the country."

"We are really happy. We arrived 2 days ago (27 December) and set up our site immediately. We were able to explore the site a bit, but it is so large, I haven't properly looked outside my sub camp."

"We ... arrived here at the Jambo site at 10:30am. We were the first to arrive in sub camp C2. Unfortunately there is no natural shade on C2 so we worked hard to get the tents and shelter up as quickly as we could. The whole contingent work really hard and we had most of the site complete by night fall, at 6:15pm! It was a very long, hot day."

"We realised that the high 20's temperatures that we were promised all those months ago were but a myth! It reached 40 degrees whilst we were sitting by the containers waiting for our contingent equipment."

"Eventually (by 2:00pm) the containers were opened and we carried 8 heavy boxes a good part of a kilometer.......well some of us did anyway.....Alex, Simon and I managed to hitch a ride with an extremely kind man who had a golf cart!" 

"Everyone is so friendly - you canít walk down the street without being invited into peopleís camps to meet and greet."

"It is like Guildford in size, London in population. There is sand and dust everywhere which is doing wanders for all cameras, and the temperature is very hot, even at night. Sleep is difficult in the heat, and everyone is tired."

"The Thai people are so friendly. No wonder they call the country the land of smiles."

"Next day (28 December) was continue set up camp."

"We woke up before 6:00am, not because of an alarm or any kind of noise for that matter - it was simply too hot to stay in the tent!!"

"The day was spent finishing what we had started the day before. The bar was put together and the pub completed; the shelter had some changes made to it and the gate was finalised. Any free time we had we spent exploring the site and making swaps."

The opening Ceremony"The day was finished off with the opening ceremony to which the the prince of Thailand attended. The show put on was impressive with a huge (I'd say about 50 piece) military band playing live; a presentation of Thai Boxing involving more than 200 people as well as a traditional piece of drama and some other performances."

"The opening ceremony ... was a bit of a let down. We were promised fireworks, crowd participation and lots of good things, and it turned out pretty boring." 

The Nations Flags"The sheer quantity of people was completely overwhelming. 30000 people may not sound much when compared to the capacities of some football stadiums, however when they are all on your level sat around you it is something else!"

Music...

... flags ...

... and elephants, all part of the opening ceremony!

The Opening Ceremony

"Today we have been on 'Our Heritage' day."

"It was a day where participants were given the opportunity to experience Thai culture around the surrounding areas to Sattahip."

"We split into our sub units to visit 4 different locations. One unit visited a fish paste factory and made some food using the paste, a very smelly experience!! I went to a tropical garden where we saw a Thai dance and boxing performance.

This was followed by a show using elephants to do tricks, something that is currently acceptable in Thailand. This was followed by making clay pots, learning some Thai boxing moves and having our own go at Thai dancing. Another group ... visited a research and development centre."

"My Patrol (Cupits with Steve Britain) went to the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi."

"Here we saw how the Thais treat animals - cruelly."

"Id say it was more of a crocodile zoo than a tiger zoo as there were absolutely thousands of the things!"

"We saw a croc show, an elephant show, a scorpion show and a tiger show. All entertaining however when looking at the animals and their condition it was quite a shock."

"We were amazed that despite this being sponsored by Greenpeace etc. they were very aggressive with all the animals. Crocodiles were the worst - 5000 in a 10m x 10m pond."

"The UK contingent memberís appear to be celebrities. Everyone wants to take their photo with us - even (and especially) the girls working in the supermarket."
Comment: This may be in part due to the rumour that one of the UK Contingent was Harry Potter - click here for the full story, courtesy of the Bangkok Post.

"This evening we have had free time, in which we have opened the Surrey Lion Pub officially."

"Within minutes the site was fit to burst as people of all nationalities poured in to receive their free drink and have a bit of a party! The party ran late into the evening (well 11:00pm anyway) before we had to turn off our lights."

"Just before we did have to turn off the lights, we managed to fit in the shaving of Paul's head!! It was of course at his request but we got through quite a few blades!"

"This is just fantastic!"

"We are drinking gallons (of water), no wonder the Surrey Lion Pub is so popular."

"Hope youíre all ok, I am having a superb time. Happy New Year if I don't get to email you again before then!"