2.21.2011

Around the bend

Blogging with the iPad, on a ferry, on my way back to the mainland after a long weekend in Koh Samui. The iPad, as it turns out, is completely useless when it comes to blogging, so unfortunately no pics for now. :(

The past few weeks have become a blur. I am so thankful for my camera, whose memory is much better and more reliable than mine.

Right now, I'm looking out the window of the VIP room (which means air conditioned and cushy seats) and all I can see is white and blue, with small clusters of prehistoric looking islands dotting the horizon. It's beautiful, and betrays the fact that Thailand is a country which has sold it's soul to foreign interests. Nature is preserved because it's salable as a tourist attraction. Beaches are privatized by the hotels that inhabit it's shores, with only one access road to ensure it's exclusivity. The southern side of the Koh is completely awash with pubs and restaurants boasting greetings in German, French, myriad languages few of which are Thai. Australians sunbathe nude in an area that is still strongly Muslim.

Thailand is a country that no longer belongs to it's people. Corruption rules the land, from who rules the small neighborhoods to who rules the parliament. The monarchy is in peril and after the death of this (much beloved) king, I doubt it will survive. I always thought I could live here, reconnect and follow the "sabai sabai" mantra that seems to dominate the Thai spirit most of the time, but now I know that's not only naive but impossible. Someone is always bigger, stronger, and more hungry than I will ever be.

Hmm....this was a much darker post than I anticipated, but this trip also feels much darker as well. My first sight upon landing and heading to the family home in the city was a barricade of police officers with guns and police shields. Seems now like an omen of things to come...uncertain peace and the knowledge that unrest is only temporarily at bay.

2.06.2011

Phuket bound

It's been three days since I first arrived in Thailand and it's been a blast. Hot, but fun. I'm typing from the Thai Airways lounge which is the first reliable and fast internet connection I've had since I've been here. The iPad it turns out, not so great for emailing, blogging, etc....but still pretty useful to have for quick Google searches to find the nearest Mos Burger. :)

On my way to Phuket for a little business, a little pleasure. I haven't been there in years, and not since the tsunami hit, so it should be quite the experience to be back again. So far my days have been filled with trying new and interesting foods (like a new variety of rose apple that actually smells like roses!) and old faves (I had my mom call in an order for pork and sticky rice from my fave stall before we even got there!) and a little bit of sightseeing. I finally made it to Ancient Siam, which everyone said I had to see and it really lived up to the hype. The attention to detail was amazing, from the small crystal bottles filled with old style perfume to the hand painted Thai designs on the walls. It was pretty amazing. I also saw a 1/3rd replica of Angkor Wat which may be as close as I get to the actual thing for now. News of the unrest between Cambodia and Thailand in the border area seems to intensify with each day and there are rumors of a protest mounting. In the Capitol, both the Yellow and Red shirts are still holding demonstrations although in far less numbers than before, but it's still enough to warrant a strong police presence. Seems like there's always something brewing in the land of smiles. Will update again soon, and hopefully with pictures.