I've never been to Thailand, but I've heard and seen so much about it in many forms of media that the only thing left for me to do is to actually go there. I heard a lot about it from my friends and colleagues as they dubbed it as the cheapest retail capital of Asia. It's shopaholics heaven for sure and as for me, I've always seen Thai culture very rich. Temples and their food already make them world renowned and distinct, not to mention the mushroom of spa and wellness tourism they so rightly publicize.
My mom, aunts and I are scheduled to go there this June. We already have the tickets and we're currently in the process of searching for accommodations. I think we would go in a scheduled tour. My travel mates this time aren't that adventurous.
Yesterday I found out that a colleague is scheduled to go there this weekend despite the unrest. There is a civil war brewing in Thailand as I type. Anti government protesters have chosen Thailand's commercial district as camps and numerous deaths and violence have ensued in the streets. Red Shirts, a group of Thais fighting against dictatorship, wants to negotiate differences with the government being led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The other party believes the current prime minister is not good for Thailand and they are fighting for equality and a better economic and political chance while the government fights for peace and stability that they see fit. The unrest has been ongoing since April and I do hope it ends soon.
I really hope the unrest ends soon because I really want to see Thailand. I want to have good memories there and not arrive with visions of violence and civil war. I want to go to the floating market, get a taste of their authentic cuisine, see my aunts and mom shop like crazy, visit the temples and watch their cultural plays.
As expected, my mom grew scared and wanted me to confirm with Cebu Pacific if they are willing to reschedule the flight. She has been seeing bad news recently and global encouragment to stay away from Thailand is being publicized. Realizing my mom's anxiety, I called the carrier and they told us to wait for further information, but as far as they are concerned, all flights are still opearational despite the state of emergency raised by the government. I had to be honest with my mom and told her that, but I added the casual fact that my colleague is going there this weekend to appease my mom's apprehensions. My colleague was pretty cool about the whole thing. She received information from her sister who lives there that the malls are still open and the places are generally manageable, not to mention dirt cheap tour prices. I asked my colleague to stay safe and share with me her experiences there once she gets back. If everything goes as planned, I'll see her on Tuesday.
For my mind to focus on the more exciting part, my colleagues and I ate at Banana Leaf last Saturday, which showcases great Thai, spiced and curry rich dishes. I can't wait to have one of their satays and rice paper rolls, and not to mention their recommendable milk teas.
Oh please please please, let us go there in peace.