The picture above is of Phi Phi island in Phuket. Up until a few months ago, all I knew about Thailand was that there was a terrible tsunami there several Christmas’ ago, Leonardo DiCaprio filmed “The Beach” on Phi Phi Island, Bankgok was known for being a city where anyone could purchase anything (or anyone) AND it was the destination of our first full (with Thomas) family vacation in Asia, this Christmas. Up until six weeks ago, I was very excited about spending three nights in Bangkok and going up and down the river and visiting floating markets and Buddhas lying down, eating amazing Thai food and getting several good massages. And then flying to Phuket and spending time with baby elephants and actually going to Phi Phi Island…But about 6 weeks ago, I started to notice that almost daily, I would find an article in the Japan Times and the Herald Tribune about political unrest in Bangkok. And as I started noticing them, and reading them with more attention, they started getting a little scary. And then the riots began and the bombs and then a few weeks ago, the take over of the airports in Bangkok by the opposition party. I have to admit, I started to feel bad for MYSELF! How could the Thai people do this during the high season! Couldn’t they have their political coup after the New Year??? The control freak in me started to take over and I started learning all I could about the two sides of the struggle, interviewing any Thai I would come across. I just happened to be signed up for a Thai curry cooking class and I spent a good deal of the four hour class peppering Kitty (the curry chef) with my questions. She was worried too about what was going on but she told me that the King was going to speak the following day (December 4th) because it was the night before his birthday and he always spoke on his birthday. She assured me he would say something that would heal the people and things would improve rapidly. The next morning, I opened my newspapers and looked anxiously for the review of the Thai King’s speech. Buried on page 3, there was a small paragraph in both newspapers saying that for the first time in the history of the King’s Birthday Speeches, he failed to make one! His throat was bothering him and he wasn’t feeling well enough to speak (he is 81 but come on people, this seemed like a delay tactic to me!) I even emailed Chef Kitty to see what she thought about it. “Yes, very bad. First time in history. Might be more problems coming. Ok, have happy Christmas! The positive news is that the international airport did re-open last week and all the foreigners who were stuck there for weeks are slowly getting to leave…just in time for people like me and my family to arrive!
P.S. obviously, if things are iffy, we will cancel our trip! Not to worry!!!