23.06.2007 - 23.06.2007
On first day of work on the study tour we took the skytrain to meet Professor Brian Sheehan, an Australian academic living in Thailand and Hugh O'Connell, an English academic living in Thailand.
The presentation started with Hugh giving a very interesting talk about Thailand. Hugh touched on things such as the Peoples Alliance for Democracy who are protesting again the current government, the murder rate in Thailand and the weak legal system, corruption, drugs, prostitution, the royal family, the 1997 economic crash and the difficulties involved in owning a business or land in Thailand.
Hugh gave us a tour of his offices and Brian later talked to us a little more about his views on Thailand.
After this meeting we took the ferry to the Museum of Forensic Medicine. The ferry ride was interesting. The water in the river was the colour of mud. During the ferry ride I had my glimpse of the monks. On the ferry there is a special area for monks that others are not allowed to stand in. Victor told us that women are not allowed to touch monks, I assume that this was because we were dirty, evil creatures, I was later to discover it was because we were temptresses....much better! There were also some young boys wearing the orange robes of the monks, these were novices, likely to be orphans so they spent time with the monks.
There was a lot of poverty to be seen along the sides on the river (very different from our river), a lot of shanty style living.
The museum was fascinating, although I did feel a little bit ill by the time we left, some of the pictures were quite gruesome, not to mention the preserved babies, these were very sad. I can't imagine any one allowing this to be done to their children, but then, Thailand is very different from Australia.
The museum was followed by dinner and shopping at Khao San Road. I didn't enjoy Khao San Road too much, if possible it seemed even dirtier than the other areas we had been to but mainly because the vendors wouldn't barter nearly as much as the others near our hotel!!
A moment to remember at Khao San Road was the easy access to a degree from a large number of universities. We weren't able to find a Curtin degree, but there was a degree from WAIT available!
After another tuk tuk ride home I was absolutely exhausted...showing my age, so was happy to call it a night.