Monday, January 7, 2013

The Thailand Excursion

In an attempt to find relief from the stifling heat of Phnom Penh in late December, my family decided to take a World Pop Tour to Thailand. 

Our tour guide had a soothing voice and some funny stories, and the daily meals and schedule were relatively well-coordinated, but beyond that, I was disappointed that we were taken mostly to tourist traps (including a swallow's nest outlet, leather dealer, and jewelry factory) rather than to any historical or cultural sites. We managed not to set foot in a single wat nor visit a floating market. It was an odd tour. I'm burned out on sitting in moving vehicles.
Bangkok sprawls.
Bangkok: The Los Angeles of Thailand?
My favorite part of the trip was the two hours we spent on a beach in Pattaya, swimming, drinking coconut juice, and watching a seemingly endless stream of jet skis and speedboats whiz around. It was incredibly smoggy, though, and made me long for Kampong Saom.
Apparently these coconuts are injected with flavorings.
At an "Orchid Resort" where we watched an elephant show that made me very sad for the elephants
Coconut as compensation for indignity.
On the way back to Cambodia, we stopped at a Tesco Lotus, what I gather is Thailand's version of Target/Walmart.
Everywhere is becoming just like everywhere else.
(Read The Machine StopsPaul Davis tweeted about the short story many weeks ago and I finally got around to reading it when I got to Cambodia.)

On the bright side, it was good to spend time with Khmers who currently live in Cambodia, France, Australia, and other parts of the US. Despite my recent increase in social awkwardness, I managed to have a few pleasant conversations by the end of the trip, and even got to talk with a Cambodian-born Aussie named Adam about being a writer.

And then, I became a happy hermit.

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