Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Thailand and Some Food For Thought

Yes, it's true.

Thailand is a Third-World country, but the capital city of Bangkok certainly doesn't fit your mental picture of what a Third-World country should look like.

Do you want to spend a million (U.S.) dollars on a condominium? No problem. There are hundreds to choose from.

Ever experience the desire for a Starbucks coffee, McDonald's Big Mac, or a 7-11 hotdog?

Don't worry; they're all here in Bangkok. In fact, there are about 4 thousand 7-11s in Thailand.

Starbucks now has 100 locations in Thailand.

McDonald's won't let you forget that they're here.

So, on a "Western Level," Bangkok is very civilized and it's not the only city or beach area in Thailand that reminds you of home, or at least the big city.

Having lived in Bangkok for a few years now, I was shocked to learn about a report from the Thailand Public Health Ministry, a.k.a., The Health Department.

In just the first 3 months of 2008, over 250 thousand people in the Kingdom of Thailand have been reported to be sick from eating and drinking contaminated food.

A total of 37 people have died from the contaminations.

The public is being warned about diarrhea, food-poisoning, typhoid fever, cholera, and rabies.

The Public Health Ministry of Thailand says, "The hot weather and drought are perfect conditions for germs and bacteria, particularly in places where hygiene and sanitation are inadequate."

Street vendors seem to be a bigger source of possible food contamination than the established store fronts, but a recent inspection of restaurant cutting boards revealed that almost 50 percent of them are contaminated with bacteria and fungi.

If you are in the United States, you take for granted how regulated the food industry is.

In many parts of the world, handling meat, bread, chocolate, donuts, and other food items with the sellers "bare hands" is quite common.

Go to the weekend market in Amsterdam and buy bread and meat. They just pick it up and put it in a bag after they handle your "clean" money. It's just the way it is and Holland is not a Third-World country.

I admit that I have had diarrhea after eating a meal occasionally, but it is all apart of the greater experience.

Carrying hand sanitizer that contains Ethyl Alcohol is a smart idea and when I know I'll be dining from a stall vendor or at a public fair, event, or market, I usually have a small bottle with me.

I'm not paranoid about the health issue, but I am happy to see that the government agency is addressing the issue and suggesting steps to help reduce the problem.

Thailand is a country of about 65 million people and millions of people from all around the globe visit this warm and friendly paradise. Personally, I love living in Bangkok and I know the city like the back of my hand, having spent a lot of time here since 1991 and finally moving here in late 2004.

High temperatures do mean a greater chance of getting ill from unsanitary conditions, but don't let news like this keep you from a fabulous place to vacation, shop, or retire.

Just a mention of common sense; if it looks dirty, it probably is; if the food isn't cooked thoroughly, you might have some discomfort later; and wash your hands often, 'cause you'll never know when or if I'll be shaking your hand.

Lazz Laszlo is a former Investment Executive and Radio & Television Financial Reporter with many entrepreneurial endeavors to his credit. He spends his time as an emcee, public speaker, enjoying life and writing about business, travel, retirement, strategy, and pleasure. To learn more, please visit Lazz's website; http://www.925-wage-slave-alternatives.com

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