• Saturday, December 23, 2006

    Storms in the south, elephants and cold in Thailand....

    Mahoot in Ayutthaya with the dreaded hook used to "control" it. We witnessed one poor sod getting a beating with one of these because it wouldn't walk backwards quick enough.

    For the last few days the southern coast of Thailand has been battered by storms and waves reaching up to 4m in height. 1500 fishing boats have been grounded, hundreds of families have been affected and something like 15 houses have simply been washed away. For some reason the papers have been a bit reticent about reporting this. In today's Bangkok Post is was given a small space on the inside pages whilst JK Rowling and the latest edition of the Harry Potter series of books took the front page. Playing down a disaster so as not to have any impact on tourism perhaps?

    OK, indulge me, I'm going to moan here. Also in the Bangkok Post there was a big photo of a five year old elephant entertaining school kids in Ayutthaya. The poor thing was dressed as Santa and sitting down spinning a hula-hoop on its trunk. I just don't see that promoting such a magnificent beast as purely a source of entertainment is a good thing. What message does this send to kids? How can the next generation be expected to have a serious attitude to towards conservation if this is the image of an endangered animal that is promoted.

    Temperatures in Bangkok are expected to drop to 15c today. Luuuvely! The sun still shines but it is comfortable. The wife is wrapped up in a thick jumper and complaining about the cold, saying her skin is drying and cracking. Hmm, a spot of exaggeration I feel. Up on the peaks of some of the highest hills/mountains in the north it is expected to fall to between 0-3c. The problem is that the natives of those areas are never prepared for the cold and have all sorts of problems and there's a last minute scramble in Bangkok to get foreigners and locals to donate warm clothes. Begs the question: why not prepare earlier in the year?

    Moan and gripe over. Back to preparations for first of the weekend's guests.

    Storms in the south, elephants and cold in Thailand....

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