Possibly the most noticeable thing I’ve seen in Thailand over the past few days are the tributes to the beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is almost impossible not to be in view of something commemorating him. Eulogies are displayed across billboards and public buildings. All hotels have a shrine and often a book of condolence. Many Thai websites have a black background in memory of the King. He passed away when I was in Colombia during last October. A year of mourning is underway. The Thai royal family is held in great regard here and while I’m obviously no expert in Thailand history or politics I’ve read many accounts how the King had a positive impact on a sometimes turbulent country. I’d like to offer my condolences to my Thai friends and I’m not just saying that because I may be passing through Bangkok at some point later in the trip.

Another thing that is no laughing matter is the golf ball sized thing on my arm that appeared as a result of some sort of reaction to an insect bite. It’s now a strange shade of yellow. I’ve stopped even taking photos as it’s no longer a bit of a joke. As tempting as it may be to try to drain the fluid in order to speed up the healing, I’m paranoid about it becoming infected. A Thai waitress in a bar saw my arm and looked horrified. A few minutes later she appeared with a cotton wool ball and some black potion. While her intentions were obviously kind I had to fight her off rubbing goodness knows what onto the wound. Imagine trying to explain that to my insurance company if it worsened! Writing this a few weeks later, it has thankfully almost completely healed although I’m likely to have a scar to show for it.

I’m glad to have given Phuket another chance. It was a nice place to relax for four or five days. Any longer and I’d have have become a bit bored but it was good to chill out before the bright lights of Bangkok and then travelling around Myanmar.

One of the numerous tribute billboards to the King