Monday, April 03, 2006

One year and going... (Llama)

So I've been here in Bangkok now for over a year. Pretty amazing... we are approaching Songkran again (the water festival). I remember blogging about it last year. I don't know, just kind of wierd to know I've been living long enough in Bangkok to become somewhat familiar with the holidays. This year, if I have the opportunity, I hope to be more participatory in the festivities. I avoided all the obvious wet places before... this time I'll take an afternoon and seek them out. Probably bring my Austrialian buddy so I'm not the only white face worth aiming at... just the tallest.

I splurged yesterday. Went shopping for a new cell phone (or "mobile" as it is exclusively refered to over here.) The one advantage to going to Bangladesh is that I get a per diem of $98 per day, which is about $20 more per day than is required. So after two weeks I have a tidy little bonus for myself. I was torn about whether to spend or save... I would have spent it in a heartbeat but I didn't really want anything. Eventually I decided to get this new phone. Why? For you, my dear friends! You see, many times I've been walking around the city and seen something that I wanted to take a picture of and share with you. But, since my digital camera is bulky, I never carry it with me. The model I bought includes a camera and an MP3 player as well, so I can reduce the number of electronic devices I carry and take those cuff-of-the-moment snaps of life in the City of Angels. I think of it as a hardship reward... spend two weeks in Dhaka, here ya' go, buy yourself something pretty.

You've probably seen the stories about Thailand political protests in the news. It's really quite divisive. Talk to someone poor and uneducated, they love Thaksin. Talk to the middle class, they hate him. Thaksin thinks he can stay in power just by the votes of the rural poor; he's wrong. True, in a democracy, it's one person, one vote, and Thailand is about 65% rural. However, it's the middle class that is most politically active and can wield the greatest economic bullet. If they middle class continues to protest instead of work, the Thai economy will get hit hard. Already the retail sector is quoting millions of dollars in lost revenue. I think the only question is, are the protest leaders clever enough to keep up the momentum they've built and keep the pressure on, or now that the election has happened will things move back to the status quo?

Dum dum dum, time to go.


kristybox said...

And April 3 was your birthday, right? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

I missed it, because the baby makes me go an entire day occasionally without looking at my calendar. Sammy says Happy Day too!

pacatrue said...

Yeah, happy B-day, you old fogie. I will never be as old as you... for four months.

And thanks for the new posts. Gets me off the hook, cause I was sitting here with a blank.