Tsunami Birthday

December 26, 2006

Tsunami sign in Ko LantaNow that I am out of sequence, I thought I’d point out that it is a big day here in Thailand. It is the Tsunami anniversary. The photo to the left was taken in Ko Lanta, two weeks ago in the Tsunami zone.

It was difficult for me to understand how the Tsunami affected the Thais before I came to Thailand. The Tsunami was so unexpected and devastating that not even the royal family was spared casualties. While it has not had quite the same impact on the Thai national psyche as 9/11 did on the US psyche, it is close.

It has had a major impact on people’s view of the weather and travel. There is a new level of fear (respect?) everytime the news reports on rough seas. On the plus side, before the Tsunami, Thais did not feel welcome in Phuket. It was just for the tourists. Only after the tremendous loss of life (and tourism) did the Thai government start a campaign to encourage Thais to visit.

Dressed for dinner.On a more personal note: it is Soyan’s birthday and our last night in Thailand. Yesterday we went shopping and tonight the efforts bore fruit as Soyan dressed up for dinner. We went to some sushi place that is alleged to make the Japanese swoon. While the food was quite good, I did not see anybody actually faint. You can’t really trust reviews.

Tomorrow we go to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia to visit a friend and celebrate New Years. Then to the Philippines and we come back to the US of A. I can’t believe we’ll be home in just 3 weeks! The trip has gone so quickly and been so much fun!

Merry Christmas from Bangkok

December 25, 2006

Central World Mall on ChristmasChristmas is no longer a christian holiday. Through TV, Movies, never ending Christmas songs and the power of international retail Christmas is a worldwide phenomenon that transcends religion. Thailand is 94% Buddhist, and today is not an official holiday, but you would never know that if you went to any of its many malls.

For the Jewish perspective on the Chinese take on Christmas be sure to visit my friends the Shamrock Jews.

NB: I have been writing about our fantastic adventures in Thailand, but I haven’t posted anything because I was trying to keep things in sequence. So please forgive this time warp. I am trying to catch up.