Friday, December 19, 2008

PAD-Thai

Thailand is up next.

But unlike our previous trips, this one has got us a bit nervous. That's because the week of Thanksgiving, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) took over the country's two main airports for 8 days to try to oust the current prime minister at the time. It essentially stranded over 300,000 travelers (including those who weren't visiting Thailand since Bangkok's airport is an important international hub) and really impacted the country's economy (especially its tourism). It was also the culmination of numerous protests and demonstrations that took place ever since we first heard about it since returning from our Africa trip.

Now we had entertained thoughts of canceling our trip, but considering how expensive this trip was (and the land portion was nonrefundable), we knew we were going no matter what.

Just this week, the country elected its new prime minister (the third in as many months) from the opposition party. I'm sure there's now the pro-government supporters of the previous regime not happy with this development. As to whether they'll stage a similar protest to halt the economy or cause social disorder, who knows?

So you see, that's where we stand today. And even though politics has affected our travels in the past (like Kenya's post-election violence and Zimbabwe's Mugabe-dominated electoral martial rule), we have managed to come out with a deeper appreciation of how the world works and why people do what they do. We'll just have to consider this yet another educational experience (and waterfalling adventure, of course)!

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