Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 16!! Thailand

Let's go to Thailand!

Woohoo!!  Week 16!  We're moving right along and we've come to one of my dream vacations.  I love the food, love the scenery, probably would hate the weather and insects but I'd try not to complain too loudly.  Thailand is beautiful.  Have you ever seen pictures of the beaches in Phuket?  The crazy chaos of people in Bangkok?  There's great food and great shopping and plenty of historical and natural attractions to see.  Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is the only country never to have been a European colony.  It has a constitutional monarchy and the ruler, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (known as Rama IX), has been on the throne since 1946, making him the longest seated ruler in the world.  They take the King seriously in Thailand, in fact, the movie The King and I is banned in Thailand because they felt it was insulting to the monarchy. 

Thailand is home to many big/ long things:
  • the largest saltwater fish - the whale shark
  • the longest snake - the reticulated python (up to 33ft long)
  • the longest venomous snake- the king cobra (18 ft)
  • the largest lizard - the monitor lizard (7ft long)
  • the largest freshwater fish- the giant catfish (up to 10ft)
  • the longest name for a city - the capital of Bangkok's official name is... Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mhadilokphop Noppharatractchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathaltiyawitsanukamprasit !!  Whew, bet those street signs are big too!!  The name translates to City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of the Gods Incarnate erected by Visvakarman at Indra's Behest.
That is one build up for a city it must be pretty awesome!!  You can find this City of Angels on the map at 13.75°N/ 100.48°E.  This puts the country pretty close to the Equator and explains the hot and humid climate.  The rainforests thrive and the flora and fauna are exotic.  It is said that 1/10th of all the animals in the world live in the rainforests.  We will have to do a whole post just to cover the animals! 

I found a few customs in Thailand that I thought were interesting. 
  • The head is the most important part of the body and you should never touch anyone on the head in Thailand.  If you are in a conversation with anyone older or more important you should also try to keep your head lower than theirs. 
  • Feet are considered lowly.  They associate then with attachment to the ground and human suffering.  In Thailand you should never sit with your feet pointing at a person or a statue in a temple.  When seated you tuck your feet under your body.
  • When going in a temple or home you should remove your shoes.  It is disrespectful not to do so.
  • It is also disrespectful not to eat at least a small bite of any food served to you by a host.
  • To greet someone with respect you should join the palms of your hands and bow your head.

I think we've got a good start to an interesting week!  Hope you'll join us!!