Thailand is the first country I've visited that has a fairly heightened level of political unrest (perhaps with the exception of South Africa). Almost exactly one year ago Thai protesters occupied their international airport for one week and had numerous violent protests in the streets of Bangkok, all for reasons that I had no clue about. Before arriving in the country I kept a close eye on the political climate but still didn't fully understand the situation. I tried to learn more about it while I was there both just for safety reasons and also because I found it really quite interesting.
Today I successfully passed all the requirements for my PADI Open Water Diving certification. w00t! Unfortunately they don't really celebrate Halloween in Thailand, so this is as good as I could do:
I suppose the alternative would have been to dress up like a woman and pretended to belong to one of their many transvestite cabaret shows...
p.s. There are a few options for companies to use for diving in Phuket, I went with Marina Divers, initially because they were slightly cheaper than everyone else, but they also ended up being really great too :).
All over Khaosan Road there are people trying to push things on you and get you to buy things; tuk tuk rides, suits, thai massage, little wooden frogs, clothes, random gadgets, fish massage, etc. We got suckered into all of them at one point or another, the last being the "fish massage".
We'd seen other people doing it, and really, it just looked too bizarre to not try. It works by dipping your feet into a fish tank full of Garra Rufa (??), also known as doctor fish, at which point the fish flock to you and nibble the dead skin off your feet.
Having been to the worlds biggest fish market just a week or so ago, I thought it only natural to visit the world's biggest market when I found out that it was in Bangkok.
So the other day (after getting mislead by a conniving Tuk Tuk) we caught a cab and headed for Chatuchak weekend market. This market is 35 acres in size, more than 5000 booths and apparently has 200,000-300,000 visitors EVERY SINGLE DAY (that it's open, since it's only a weekend market). Here's the google map of the place.
We arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon and so far have just been mostly relaxing and enjoying the food. I have a Thai friend in Bangkok that I use to work with so we've gone out with him a couple times and had amazing food (I just let him choose the food :) ). It's been quite humid, but fairly moderate temperatures in the mid-20's so quite bearable. Sam's mom arrives today, so we should finally start doing some sightseeing today or tomorrow. We're staying near Khoasan Road in Bangkok until Tuesday and then heading out to the islands.