A Big Kids Playground

Trip Start Apr 30, 2006
1
59
Trip End Mar 25, 2007


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bangkok, Chang Mai, Phuket, Raily, Ko Phi Phi, Ko Tao, Ko Phan Ngnan, Similan Islands

Anarchy with a beautiful smile - that's Thailand.  Naturally, the 2nd largest SE Asian country has beautiful mountain ranges, immense rivers, bright-green rice terraced hills and incredible beaches.  Run out from the beach, dunk your head beneath the surface of the water and if you happen to have a mask and snorkel strapped to your head, you'll be sure to experience a colorful fish and coral-filled warm-watered paradise.

If you think the country has a wide array of environmental lures (which it does), check out its social array.  Unless your deaf and blind, one of the first things that will hit you in the face as you arrive Bangkok will be the insane amount of prostitution.  It's there and no one is hiding a thing.  Outside of grandparents day, no where in the world will you see so many balding, grey haired men holding hands with young girls.  And if this doesn't shock you, walk a bit further and you'll see transvestites, katoeys (girls that were once men) and men, all wanting to sell their services.  It's crazy.

The array of social disparity is ironically encompassed within the envelope of Buddhism.  Everyone believes in the religion to the bone and many decisions are based on Karmic lines.  For instance, the prostitute that sponsors her sister go to medical school will most likely commit 4,000 negative karmic "professional deeds" in her lifetime.  However, her sister who she is supporting will most likely heal that many in a year.  Therefore, her decision was favorable from a Karmic perspective as the years pass and her sister heals more and more.  The country is Buddhist through and through.  You'll see a public bus load of people, wie (hands together, small bow) casually, almost unconsiously as the bus passes an important wat (temple).  You see this sort of religious importance in other parts of the world, but rarely in a place that, on the surface, seems so westernized.  People dress like they do in America or Europe and 7-11s, McDonald's and Starbucks rule the streets.

If it's clean fun you're looking for, Thailand has boatloads of that too.  Tourism is king here and if you want to, say camp on a deserted beach while eating lobster that the boat captain caught, chances are you can do it.  And chances are, it will be cheap.  Anything, anywhere.  That's Thailand.

During our 25 days in the country, we descended down from the mountains of the north, skipped around various island chains, camped on uninhabited beaches and snorkeled the days away.  Around the cities we awed at the bluntness of the adult industry and Myles even interviewed one "worker."  Interesting stuff.  Anyway, hope you enjoy the pics!
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