27.02.2009 30 °C
The sweet fragrances of frangipane and jasmine have scented the evening air throughout our journey, but their delicate blooms pale in comparison to the exhuberant hues of hibiscus, lotus and lillies like these ....
It is summer here in the tropics, but it's always summer. Only the hot monsoon downpours mark a change in the season and bring relief to the sun-parched rainforests. And, with the welcome rain, comes a profusion of blooms in the canopy; clusters of vibrant red, pink and gold dangle like giant ornaments on Christmas trees, while fragile-stemmed orchids cling to the lower branches.
Walking anywhere here - even through the grimiest of city slums - is like strolling through the Tropical House at Kew.
Love blossoms in this beautious place, both for honeymooners, and for old-fogeys like us who are rejuvenated by the eternal summer. However, all is not rosy in this equatorial Garden of Eden. Thailand is renowned as the epicentre of sex-tourism, attracting multitudes of fat, ugly and old men to despoil the beautiful young flowers of this ancient kingdom. Young girls, and boys, forced by poverty and often encouraged by family and friends, prostitute themselves with the low-lifes of our 'civilised' society. It is sickening to see men who, at home, might be considered upstanding citizens, parade their nubile catches as trophies; inviting us to pretend that they have conquered by charm and good looks and not because of a handfull of cash or a promise of a passport to a better life.
Here is just one of the many thousands we have encountered ....Yuk!