A Note about Travel Now – Siam Summer

I have struggled with whether I should be writing this blog about the time I have spent in downtown Bangkok right now. There are many countries in the world that are still under lockdown and many place are only starting to open their doors back to the world to see what it is like out there. A bunch of uncertainty hangs in the air about what will happen next and whether it is safe to go out and enjoy life again. Bangkok is also going through this. They just happen to be a little ahead of other countries with getting back to a daily hustle and bustle, yet there is still a long way to go. There have been a lot of question bouncing around the back of my mind as I wonder who stayed in this place before us, whether the places I have been going to have been taking it seriously, and why do some people believe they are above common safety reason by walking around without a mask. It makes me wonder if we are safe by doing this.

Then I think about the other side of it. Why am I living overseas? I am here to experience other cultures, and travel and see the world. It is the main reason that we made this choice, and if I spend all of that time in a little house looking out at my mango tree and waiting for a soi dog to walk down my street, I am not really living the life that I wanted to. I know that there are many people out there thinking the same way as they spend another day in quarantine, and it would not matter where I was in the world, but I would have to go through the same kind of experience of staying indoors. Though some people might believe otherwise, this is not a problem that is isolated to one country; it is a worldwide problem. It is just some countries did a better job of handling the problem than others, and if I am living in one of those countries, should I take advantage of it?

Thailand is one of those countries that did a great job of containing this virus. It is not completely under control yet. There are still cases popping up daily, but they are so minor, the biggest spike being 17 people one day in the last couple of week with it usually being under five people daily, that it would seem silly to keep a population of people at bay. Like I have been talking about in my last posts, it is not completely opened up yet, but there are opportunities out there, and as long as I take reasonable precautions, I can enjoy my time out here, and still feel safe.

But this is not the worry that I have while writing this blog. My thought is about all of those people who are reading this still stuck at home while I am out there enjoying life again. I know that I have a lot of readers in America and they have been going in and out of quarantine. I understand your suffering because just like many other people in the world, I have gone through the same experience. It was not fun, and the walls of my place started to beat down upon me and I felt like I would never leave that place. But the time I spent in near isolation paid off as the causes of the disease died down and Thailand is now a safer place to live in. Yes, there are a couple of inconveniences. I have to wear a mask when I go out and I have to be aware of my proximity to other people. They ask that I check in as I go into stores so if there is an outbreak they can contact me about the way I have been exposed, but this is a minor problem compared to the bigger ones that could happen if I contract the disease. It is then that I become a danger to other people, and I do not know if I could have that responsibility on my conscience.

This whole summer has been great to see Thailand without all of the tourists. I have been lucky that way, despite the fact that things were not always open the way that they usually are. I know people are suffering right now, but it is nice to see that things are starting to turn around for them, and the economy is starting to pick up again. But know that just like you, it has not been an easy journey, and they is still a long way to go to fully recover from this. But they understand that everything is very fragile right now, and another outbreak could cause everybody to revert back to the devastating lifestyle we had to endure earlier this year. I hope that never happens, but I am also doing my part to prevent this for coming back as well.

I guess the reason that I wrote about my travels this summer was not to cause you frustration and anger because somebody was able to do something that you were not, but instead I wished to give you hope and inspiration that if you do the right thing, that travel could be in your life again as well. It may not look the way that you had thought it would, and many opportunities might not be available to you, but make the most out of the situation, and you will still find that life can be rewarding. Just know that it will happen again someday, but until then, do you part to help mitigate the problem and you will enjoy that reward even more when you finally achieve it.

Travel During Covid19 – Siam Summer

Even the stuffed animals are fitted with face masks

Usually, during this time of the year, I will have already hopped on a plane and have taken a long plane ride back to the United States to visit with family and friends. I would be unwinding from a busy school year, and trying to get over jet lag while making the adjustment to the new time zone. It would be a time to cover a lot of ground that I have already been over before, but I would be looking forward to the familiar.

This year has been a little different with the emergence of this new virus that has stopped the world in its tracks. It is an extremely dangerous time to travel, and I had no idea if I would be allowed back into Thailand for my job if I decided to leave it. There were options, but the most logical one was to stay put for the summer and hope that I would not go crazy doing something different while still stuck in the rut that I had experienced at the end of the school year.

So I am here in Bangkok, trying to find ways to enjoy the summer as best as I can.

Luckily for me, Thailand has done a really good job of getting the pandemic under control in its country. It has basically banned anybody from entering the country for unimportant reasons, closed down all of the shops and public places to make sure that the spread of the virus did not happen, promoted a culture of social distancing and wearing face masks, and creating great programs to track people so if there is an outbreak they can quickly get it under control before it gets out of hand. Because of this, many places are starting to open up again, and it is starting to return back to normal.

Of course there are a couple of places that are not allowed to open up yet such as bars, sporting events, and certain kinds of massage parlors, but there is really only one of those that I partook in anyways, so I can patiently wait for the bars to open up again, and it is probably a good thing that they have not done this yet.

There are a couple of hot spots in the nation as well that have not opened up its doors to people inside of the country yet. The pandemic is getting under control in these spots, but it has not been long enough for the government to feel safe to open them up, but most of them are a long ways away from Bangkok and not something that I could get to easily, mainly Phuket, Chiang Mai, and the national parks. There is also talk that the parks will open up at the end of the month and the other will follow soon.

In other words, Thailand is taking their time to make sure that they are doing things right so by the time the dry season starts and tourists want to make it back to the country, they should be able to do it safely. It just means that Thailand will be a quiet country this summer, making it the perfect time to explore it. The plan is to make sure that we are not spending more than a week at home at a time, and spend the rest of the time exploring the different parts of the country. It is still a little too early to go crazy on the coast or the northern mountain regions, but it is a great time to head down to the downtown area and explore the places we haven’t seen there yet. We won’t be able to visit the big tourists sites, or enjoy the rooftop bars, but we are okay with this. It is just nice to be outside of the house, and get to look at four different walls. It is not the summer I would have planned a couple of months ago, but I am still going to be able to make the most of it, and have a great Siam Summer.