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C9 Hotelworks Founder and Managing Director Bill Barnett is a noted columnist, author and leading authority on travel trend, hotels and property.View all the books from C9
Life in the nation's capital is playing out like some electric kool-aid Kodak moment that Ken Kesey and his merry pranksters could not have imagined in their wildest visions.
Instant images beamed around the world by TV and the internet to a legion of willing slaves of the moment. Anxious heart-beats are more like the constant banging on gigantic bongos as that holy scripture headline hits their screen 'breaking news, ' it's more than the feint hearted can handle.
Tweet tweet, tweet tweet, as toy soldiers become the hostage image of all things Thai. The country's dramatic story caught live on camera has somehow managed to combine brutal violence, political gamesmanship, shifting sentiments, and somehow a surreal sense goofiness that absolutely defy description.
For islanders here in Phuket who can at least maintain a brave face and certain detachment there are far more questions than even a well placed answer book stashed in your car's glove compartment could fit.
As for the rest of us, questions about the larger answers of what in store for hotels, property, and life in the Kingdom most often result in wrinkled faces, glances at that well placed coconut in the tree about 10 meters up or a faraway look in the eyes often associated with overly chatty seatmates on a long haul flight.
I was once advised to never make eye contact with those I consider insane or else so mind numbingly boring that I could not even muster up a single word, and that remains a key component of my often times disassociation with life on the planet.
Images frankly speak more than the best chosen words and while the Tourism Authority of Thailand is currently looking at investing millions or billions into the noble cause of revitalizing tourism; frankly speaking they'd be better of flushing the money down the nearest toilet or even better giving it to me. Either way the money that is better spent then trying to lure back visitors at the moment.
Imagine landing in some strange say North African country whose name somehow slips from my mind but the airport is crowed and musty; chaos fills the air as you jump into a taxi and flee the scene. As the car hurdles down amongst the sand dunes, dodging camels, your eyes fix onto the eyes of the driver in the rear view mirror and recognize the red shoots of madness.
As the car goes faster, the air is filled with the smell of alcohol and tension, so tense that you could cut the air with a waffle iron. Deep into the night, on a flying carpet into the terror filled nothingness of certain doom or possibly your desired destination. Neither you nor the driver knows for sure.
Welcome to the present and unfortunately for most of us there are no clues what's going to happening the land of many shirts. So many shirts that sooner or later, the shirts must be shed and it will be onto the pants or shoes or even perhaps the slippers. Once we hit the slippers we know its game over.
Media being media is just the way of the world. As for now be it foreign travel warning, YouTube video footage or even those annoying little tweets tweets, Thailand is the taxi passenger of the moment.
Yes as in all things this too will end. We will return to rebuilding the tarnished reputation of the country through our own various businesses and the discounts will be back bigger and better than.
Tweet tweet will be replaced with cheap cheap. Once it gets cheap enough they will come back and back as in numbers never seen again. Of this I am sure. And there we go again into the hamster wheel of cycles, running for our lives just to say ahead of impending doom. The price is right.
Wheels go round and round and like reality shows, even the loons have their day in the sun. From hero to zero and back again makes good copy and soon enough the comeback poster child may displace the current wackiness that has seeped into our daily lives like cheap perfume and stale cigarettes.
As for now, I've taken to walking to work, while tuk tuks and taxi's buzz by and coconuts fall from the sky, the island remains sunny for the most part, when you stay out of the shade.