Perspectives After Vacationing in Thailand

November 1, 2012 01:39 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Escape from U.S. election hype was a vacation in itself

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Although it took 19 hours or so of sitting in an airplane (one way), my recent vacation to Thailand was a much needed break from the hype of U.S. election coverage – and of Washington itself. Some observations:

  • Asian papers are giving small coverage to U.S. elections. What a relief to pick up papers and not be hit with all the nuances of the coming elections. For around ten days I did not watch the biased US cable stations, and I did not even glance at the (my opinion) biased (for Obama) Politico.

  • The only hurricane I dealt with was a drink (or two). The horrible impacts of the real one on the Jersey shoreline shows, again, that when needed, politicians from both political parties (in this case, President Obama and GOP Governor Chris Christie) can work together for the common good. The development showed, again, that Christie is a rising star in the Republican Party.

  • One of the books I read on my iPad during the trip was The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward. Having reported on a lot of the ins and outs of the sorry state of the US debt and deficit situation, the book captures what most Americans feel: a total breakdown of leadership in Washington – at all levels. However, the book led me to increase my respect for one U.S. lawmaker – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The book includes more than a few references to how agricultural subsidies factored into all sorts of options from both political parties in failed attempts to reach a solution to the lingering issues. But it showed lawmakers from both political parties are more than willing to include big amounts of cuts in ag subsidies as part of deficit reduction.

  • What I observed in Thailand: Lots of Toyotas, and I mean a lot. Lots of advertising for Samsung products. The price of bottled water was "dirt" cheap, especially compared with the rip-off rates charged in this country. The coffee is not as good in Thailand – not sure why. And if you want to spend a few thousand dollars to get to Thailand to save a lot on clothes, Thailand is the place for you. And if you think you're too old (or heavy) to ride on top of an elephant, you are not. One of the highlights was an extended ride through a beautiful section of the country. Perhaps the trainers of those elephants should be brought to America to "train" lawmakers into being effective.

  • Escalators. Each time I go to Asia, I find it odd that I never see an escalator out of service – unlike the frequent downtimes at U.S. airports and elsewhere. Congress should investigate!

  • Food: I mixed my love of sushi with the cravings for fast food I always find when I travel abroad. The only times I go to McDonald's is when I travel, and they are all over Thailand. Ditto for KFC. I found that the chicken at McDonald's is better than KFC.

  • Observation from an Australian: The world lacks strong leaders...we need more like Germany's (Angela) Merkel.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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