Coup Deux – Come Visit

Thailand is a country that likes its “collect stamps” cards. Patronize a business ten times and get a free coffee, or the like. When it comes to coups d’etat, it seems to have a similar proclivity. Depending on your count, this is the 17th, 18th, or 19th coup since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. For me, I have collected two “coup stamps”. After my fifth, I get a free t-shirt.

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The last coup was in 2006. A link to some of my entries about it is here. As for why Thailand has so many coups, there is an interesting article here. And if you want some insight into what is going on and what the next steps may be, the Economist has a useful article here.

As soon as the coup happened, and even when martial law was announced two days earlier, I was flooded with messages from friends who were worried for my safety. Thank you to everyone for your concern, but I’m afraid the important message is this:

Keep Calm

The words “coup” and “martial law” seem to prompt a visceral response, aided and abetted by the media showing close-up photos of soldiers, protesters, and political violence. In reality, the political violence over the last six months has been limited – only 28 people killed. Not to minimize the importance of that loss of life, but we regularly have bus crashes on the road here that take that many lives.

Considering the size of the country, and even the size of the city, political violence in Thailand is not sufficient reason to be alarmed or for governments to issue travel alerts warning their citizens not to travel to Thailand.

The last thing this country needs is for its economy (which is teetering on the edge of recession) to be further damaged by tourists staying away. It is an excellent time to visit the country – the weather in the early summer has cooled a bit from the Songkhran highs but the full monsoon has not yet arrived. Plus, hotel prices are amazingly low because… well, because of the political unrest.

I would ask you to help me be a de facto ambassador for Thailand. As you hear people talk about the country, let them know that your friend Chris lives there and assures them it is okay to visit. And, if anyone you know is considering travel here, urge them to come! They can always contact me for recommendations!

 

Waffles

April and May have quite a few holidays here in Thailand. Days off can be strategically taken to have, for example, a five-day weekend using only one vacation day. Since I am still relatively new at my job and am saving up my vacation time for my family’s visit this summer, I am not taking any time off. But I did decide to celebrate the long weekend by making waffles for breakfast.

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There are countless recipes for waffles, but I quite like the one on the Pioneer Woman Cooks website. Ree Drummond’s recipes are well tested and her waffles are light and crisp, exactly the quality I admire in a waffle. The trick is to whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and then fold them into the batter just before cooking. This helps the waffles puff up instead of turning soggy.

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Truthfully, I’ve not sure that waffles are as great a breakfast choice as they may have once been. I am reaching an age where a heavy, carb-loaded breakfast doesn’t give me strength to go out and plow a field. It just gives me the strength to take a long nap. Which may be perfectly fine since it is a long weekend.

 

DIY Taco Night

Recently, a friend invited me to cook at his place for about 15 guests. The menu: do-it-yourself tacos with fish, pork, and beef fillings. I took the opportunity to shoot a video, something I haven’t done in a while.