Subject: Re: Indian Ocean disaster / Risk consideration
Hi Linda,

Being 74, and even loving to travel as I do, I think there is much reason to be concerned for your friend. I spent a week in Bangkok and loved every minute of it, and I've not been backed off of trips because of high-jackings, terrorism or the possibility of natural disasters. This is a very real disaster of a magnitude none of us probably has any real concept. At such a time, not only are all medical facilities and practitioners strained beyond belief, but I think none of the normal assumptions can be made, i.e., always English-speaking people available to help, embassies able to come to your aid, etc. Add that Bangkok is a city built on water, and we don't know how the klongs are affected. Much of the transport is by boat on the klongs (unless you want the thrill of the tuk-tuks - not every day for me).

Aside from the probably increased health considerations due to all that is in the water and the air, they will not be experiencing the Bangkok they hoped to see. To me, it would be like rushing to New York City right after 9/11. Yes, my age probably colors my perceptions, and I don't claim to be an intrepid traveler, but I don't want to leave my family and friends worrying the whole time I'm gone, and I want to maximize the experiences of my travels when I do go. If they still choose to go, they should contact the Intenational Health Organization and have the names, addresses and telephone numbers of several doctors in the area, since a large number of them may have gone to Phuket or areas where the disaster hit the hardest.

Sue, I know you will disagree with me, and I admire your spirit. You are the truly intrepid traveler.

Lou Matthews in overcast but warm Lakeway, TX