Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Work and Fun in Thailand -a tough life

A 4 day trip to Thailand has been great for recharging the batteries. Remembering how beautiful nature is (i seem to need this reminder on a monthly basis due to the urban sprawl and lack of nature in Chinese cities!) I spent a day on a slightly random island which houses a few thousand muslim Thais, who that night just happened to be celebrating the birth of Muhammed.

So what would have been an incredibly boring night on an island with about 2 local shops, no other tourists (although i met 2 friends there) and no alcohol (when all the other islands are full of alcohol, parties, people, music and so on) ended up as a cultural experience as my 2 egyptian friends were able to talk to one of the locals who has studied the Koran in Egypt and thus explain everything to us. Good luck to Fadi who will spend another 3 months on the island (working). Good job he has the satellite thing for internet access otherwise it would be a lonely few months -but hey, at least his Thai will have to improve!

I suppose the island was what i though Indonesia might be like. 1 day maybe i'll find out. The beach though was beautiful -especially since there was no one on it; and i had fun riding a scooter around the island checking out the local's way of life (economy is all fishing). Then the next day, catching 1 of the 2 boats that leave the island each day I headed to a bay/island full of backpackers and cafe/bars that were all wooden shacks and fit in perfectly. It was, as Echo had promised, the 'pretty people beach' since everyone headed over there for rock climbing. I only had a few hours for lunch, so i missed the partying and was not keen to embarrass myself in front of so many climbing experts who were talking in another language all together. But it was still worth going to see the 'pretty people' especially since the other beaches nearby were full of their fair share of 'non-pretty' people. In other words, the overweight 50 somethings who like to sunbathe topless and get so red they glow in the day-time!

Yesterday was a work day at a conference that went well; despite UNICEF over-running and using up some of my presentation time... grr, damn UN people. Never mind, I am sure my presentation was better than theirs! Today was going to be half-pool and half-palace visiting, but the palace just was not as important as the pool-ipod-sun combo which lasted until the sun went down. Who cares about big empty golden buildings anyway?

Thailand is an unusual country, with a very very strong buddhist population yet huge problems in prostitution, trafficking and drugs. They have a vibrant democracy with frequent protests and an open media, yet admire their King like a god and have military coups every 3 years, like clock work. They have wonderful wonderful food but are so thin; 1 huge city but almost no others... The country is so full of foreigners it is crazy: beach-tourists, backpacker-tourists, sex-tourists and more. I am not used to seeing so many white people! Having said I am not used to seeing so much sun. And I am sure I won't be seeing too much sun in the next couple of weeks either -Sand storm season is coming, yay!


At 11:28 pm, Blogger jolin said...

I also think Thailand is an amazing country, though I only got a chance to stay in the Bangkok airport for half a day and watched through the windows and guessed what this city would be like. I like the scent in the air,,a kind of tropical scent I met in Manila as well one year ago, that you never meet in Beijing or Shanghai.


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