01-07-10 - Thailand 2

It's a damn shame the way Thailand has changed over the past 20 years and how it continues to change. I wrote before I left about people who want you to boycott tourism in Burma and why I think that's not a good idea - but I DO think it's a good idea to boycott places like Thailand to encourage them to develop their tourism infrastructure with less impact. There seem to be basically no environmental controls or concern for preserving places (if there are any laws they aren't enforced). One of the biggest tragedies is all the reefs. The Andaman used to have gorgeous coral all over, and it now is 99% dead. That's partly due to the tsunami, largely due to over tourism with no concern for running boats directly into the reef, dropping anchor right on the reef, etc.

Sadly Thailand is getting richer quick and lots of tourist destinations are going "upscale". What that means is instead of charming old wood buildings with lots of trees and fresh air around, instead you get depressing concrete cubes with noisey air conditioners, artificial pools and fountains, and a complete detachment from why it's a nice place.

A few days ago after I wrote the last post I suddenly got sick of Thailand. Sick of the smell of open sewers everywhere, sick of guys asking me "tuk tuk?" every twenty feet, sick of being hustled and ripped off, sick of the Thais who hate tourists and give you the stink eye, sick of all the trashy westerners who have no respect for the culture and think vacation is for drinking and prostitutes, sick of the awful beds and mosquitos and bed bugs. Fortunately we decided to rent a car and get the fuck out of god-awful Chiang Mai and then had some marvelous adventures in the country and that travel fatigue passed.

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