Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life Update: Annoying Family E-mails

So even though at this point I'm still blogging about Japan I'm actually in Thailand. Of course if you follow international news you know about the political protests going on in Bangkok. Yesterday protesters were able to shut down the Bangkok Airport leaving many tourists stranded. A bomb exploded earlier this morning in the airport and shots were fired yesterday injuring a few people. Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5234917.ece
PAD Protesters outside Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand

I got the following email from a family member of mine:
Hi Vincent:

We all hope the best until you came back US.

Bullet doesn't care where you are, especially you are US citizen.

It's easy to think the worst and think Bangkok is a very unstable, dangerous place when reading news like this. And yes, tourists need to be vigilant wherever they go, but really, things are not as bad as they seem, especially if you simply avoid the protests. In this unfortunate case the airport, a major hub that tourists use, was affected. However, when I was in Bangkok the political protests were generally confined to the government buildings. Protesters left the tourists alone, and tourists should avoid areas of demonstration; in this case the airport - just extend your vacation or take the train to a different city's airport.

The reality is the world is not as evil or dangerous a place as everyone makes it seem. Not every place in the world is war torn Iraq. Yes, bad things happen, yes, terrible things happen; but these things occur everywhere. Trains collide in Los Angeles, fires rage in California, shooting happen in schools in the USA, bombs go off in London, lethal gas is released in Tokyo Subways. Does this mean everyone in CA should flee the fires? I mean.... CA is a big place. Did people at UCLA stop going to school after the tragic and horribly fatal shootings at Virgina Tech?

Thailand is not that small of a country. I'm currently in Phuket which is 500 miles (840 KM) from Bangkok. In Phuket there are no signs of trouble, just many old European men with young Thai bargirls.
Old European Man with Young Thai Girl at Kata Beach

Everything in Phuket is safe, and based on my visit to Bangkok I would imagine most tourists places in Bangkok are actually fine. If you're planning on flying into Bangkok I might try to hold off on it just because the airport would be unavoidable, but if you're already there chances are you're probably ok.

Be smart when you travel, get informed on the places you're going, avoid trouble spots, and don't be stupid. In general the most you have to worry about are pick pockets.

By the way, if you happen to be stuck inside Bangkok Airport or need to get in I found a post on the Lonely Planet forums that will inform you on how to do so. I'm going to cut and paste the information below:

By the way according to the Local thai news it is possible to access the airport via the back road from bangna trat road. A few BMTA buses go this way and thus avoid the crap. Provided one can get from the terminal building to the bus terminal a few KM away to the north east.

Routes 558, 552, 552 A use Bangna Trat road to get into the back of the airport.

Otherwise its along walk down the road to bangna trat road (10km plus about 4 hours)or to the SRT station at Hua Takhe (6 km at least about 2 hours).

That might help some people stuck in the airport get out

Suvarnbhumi Airport Flight Status

As for me, I'm done playing in Thailand actually, but I'm not going home quite yet. Next stop... Singapore. I'll do my best to catch up on my blog as soon as possible!

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