In case anyone is interested, here is an update on my recent travels.
Around the World in Eighty Days is an adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Jean Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club. Traveling around the world in 80 days was quite a feat in 1873!
Luckily, today’s travel is easier and faster. Yesterday evening, I returned from an eight day trip around the world. I spent 5 days in Bangkok, Thailand plus a day and a half traveling to that city and another day and a half returning home. In any case, I am now back home and am working on new articles for this newsletter.
The 12-hour time zone change was a killer! I returned home last night about 6pm local time, went to bed about 10pm, and slept until 10am today! 3pm here on the east coast of the United States is also 3am in Bangkok. At least it was easy to figure the time difference before calling home!
Luckily, voice calls are free on several of the Internet services if both parties have the same app installed. My relatives and I use the Signal encrypted communications app and I was connected via the hotel’s free wi-fi. I experienced two-way video calls with several relatives and friends and we talked as long as we wished at no charge for toll calls. You have to love today’s technology!
If you ever get to Bangkok, I strongly recommend a visit to the royal temple Wat Pho, which houses the Reclining Buddha and the ashes of King Rama I who ruled from 1782 to 1809. A short walk away is the gilded Grand Palace, a conglomeration of temples, courtyards and gardens. Also, take a cruise along the Chao Phraya River.
Bangkok’s Grand Palace
Finally, you might spend a few hours at the new and ultra-modern IconSiam shopping center.
I’m not a fan of modern shopping centers but it was quite a contrast to the open air markets that are almost everywhere in Bangkok. The IconSiam also has all sorts of restaurants to choose from. I found there’s a lot to be said for a shopping center’s air conditioning in Bangkok’s tropical climate!
A typical Bangkok shopping area
Make sure some of your travel is via a tuk-tuk, a three-wheel taxi. I will say that tuk-tuk travel is exciting! Bangkok’s traffic jams are some of the worst I have ever seen but the tuk-tuks weave in and out through the traffic easily. Tuk-tuks usually will get you to your Bangkok destination faster than will a 4-wheel taxi! Admittedly, foreign visitors might experience some white knuckles as the drivers cut in, around, and through the traffic!
This was also my first around-the-world flight. Since Bangkok is on the exact opposite side of the world from where I live, it didn’t make much difference if I traveled eastbound or westbound to get to Bangkok as the distance is about the same in either direction. While I didn’t plan it this way, when I went online to schedule the trip, the airline’s default was for me to go eastbound to Frankfurt, Germany and then connect on to Bangkok. For the return trip, the airline suggested continuing eastbound from Bangkok to Taipei, Taiwan; connecting to San Francisco; and then connecting to Orlando. All but one of the flights were red-eye.
In short, I went around the world. Admittedly, I only saw one city plus the insides of several airport terminals. I do think I lost a day somewhere, however.
I did find that genealogy is not a major interest in Thailand. I asked several local residents if they or anyone they knew was researching their family trees. The responses all were negative.
Death certificates reportedly are available from the various government agencies. Almost all other records of interest to genealogists are made and stored by each family. In most cases, a genealogist needs to ask his or her relatives who keeps the records for their family. The availability of those records varies widely.
If you have an interest in Thailand genealogy, I might suggest you start first with FamilySearch Wiki’s excellent Thailand Genealogy article at: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Thailand_Genealogy. That article states that “Genealogy records are kept on the province level in Thailand.” Apparently, almost none of those records are available online. As you might expect, records are almost always recorded in the Thai language (ภาษาไทย).