Hat Yai Stories and Tips

Selected notes from my trip to Southern Thailand

Early Saturday, Sept, 10.

Our time in the north has flown by and now we are on a Thai Airways plane enroute to Hat Yai and Songkhla Province.

No matter what people told me about Thailand in advance of my trip here, the superlatives were not adequate: The people here are gentle and friendly, the food is wonderful, the filth of the air in Bangkok is extraordinary. The bawdiness of the thigh bars is impossible to exaggerate.

We flew from Bangkok to the regional airport here aboard Thai Airways and were transported by car to a spectacular Princess Resort amidst the Water Buffalo-festooned rice paddies of Southern Thailand. Here, many restaurants are little more than four poles covered by a roof (we call them shelter houses in Iowa) and the hotels and other buildings often have no doors. The rooms at our hotel our appointed with lovely teakwood and all the niceties of a five star hotel in the U.S.

We ate dinner at a waterside restaurant. The freshest food I've ever eaten. The dock at the end of the restaurant was loaded with cages sunk into the water and when you order a dish, they plunk the main ingredient--still kicking--out of the water.

Since the purpose of the trip is to provide information about American journalism, my notebook is filled with odd facts that I have jotted down. For instance:

--A Thai study suggests that the large amounts of Cumin eaten by the people here have reduced the risk of cancer.
--It's not unusual to see entire families-husband, wife and two children-zipping down the road on a motorcycle.
--A major issue in the last Thai election (and the downfall of the majority party) was the traffic congestion in Bangkok.

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