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Thailand's Messy PoliticsLast February's newsletter began with a story about anti-government protests in Bangkok. We are not sure what is seeping into the news outside of Thailand, but here in the happy Kingdom the great political divide has become a national obsession with two opposing sides, both with passion and team loyalty that rivals even soccer. While annoying at times, the current impasse has given us all something to talk about instead of the hot weather, and occasionally things to laugh about as well.
What we most want you to know is that there is no public turmoil and nothing dangerous or even uncomfortable for visitors. There are no tanks in the streets, although plenty of pretty young soldiers are around to keep us all safe. Aside from newspaper stories you might not even notice that there is a movement to bring about political reforms, end corruption, and oust the current "caretaker government" from their jobs. On some days it seems that there may actually be a light at the end of the tunnel, and most of us are hopeful that both sides will reconcile.
If you are really interested in the nitty-gritty of what has been happening here for nearly four months and have an hour or two to amuse and enlighten yourself, you might want to read Douglas' Blog: Tomatoes & Democracy, which reflects his personal observations and does not represent the opinions of Purple Dragon Ltd. He also discusses growing 100 tomato plants in a 10th floor condominium, the hazards of vitamin C, emergency room photography, and the real location of Flight 370.
Spring Clearance Sale...
We will be the first to admit that Thai politics have been ruining business for our industry. For better or for worse the Chinese, Taiwanese and Koreans are staying at home. While Purple Dragon is better off than most, we are feeling the squeeze, so Purple Dragon is offering a special promotion for people who want to travel to almost everywhere we offer during June and July. If you reserve and pay during May for travel in June or July, you can take a 15% discount on any of our packages except for Bhutan, Myanmar or overnight cruises (except Halong Bay). This offer applies to new bookings only and cannot be used in conjunction other promotions except for Club Sanook's Members' Specials. If you plan to use VIP, Superlative or Ultimate hotels, the discount is 10%. Please mention this offer when you reserve.
...And a 50% Off Sale on Bling
Diamond Membership half price? As you may know, we added a "Diamond" membership option around this time last year. Diamond Members get 10% off the first Purple Dragon package they reserve and 5% off any others as long as they are Members. Diamond Members earn an extra 50% bonus points on the trips the book, and get back any points that might have expired. Points never expire as long as you are a Diamond Member. The cost to become a Diamond Member is $400 for three years. During May, however, you can upgrade to Diamond for just $200 for three years or $300 for five years. To upgrade to Diamond just go to www.clubsanook.com/upgrade.htm. In the "promotion code" field enter either 3YEARS or 5YEARS. You will hear from me soon thereafter.
Disease du Jour: Thread Lifts
Blame it on gravity. As we age, the elastic material in our skin begins to break down and things begin to sag. While this happens with the skin over all of your body it is often most visible on the cheeks, jaw line and neck. If you are not yet ready for the pain, bruising, recovery time and the slicing and dicing that goes with a full face lift but still want to pull the skin back to the place it was five or ten years ago, a good alternative (until you decide to go for the whole enchilada) may be a "thread lift," which works under the skin the way a good brassier does.
Threading is a minimally-invasive procedure that requires no anesthesia or hospitalization and leaves no scars. The threads used have tiny exterior fibers, something like barbs, that that all lay in one direction. Under local anesthetic the threads are inserted under the skin, then gently pulled back. The barbs catch the sagging tissue and the thread is anchored to underlying bone. There is no pain, results are immediately apparent, and any swelling is gone within three or four days.
Even though the threads slowly dissolve after about a year, they help to create a new underlying architecture for your the. They cause your body to produce hyaluronic acid, which will helps to make skin more supple, and also stimulate the rapid growth of both collagen and elastin fibers, the building blocks of healthy skin.
This procedure usually costs around $300/ 215 euros / 180 pounds per thread in North America and Europe. You can have this done in Bangkok by an MD in a private clinic for a set cost of only 30,000 baht (around $1,000) for up to 50 threads. It should take no more than two hours, plus a short post-procedure observation time. You can have Botox injections and/or fillers at the same time if necessary. Threading can also be used on sagging skin under the arms, on the hips and other parts of the body. You should have a consultation with a physician to find out whether thread lifts are for you. Ideal candidates are from 40 through 6o years old. If you are interested in a consultation, please ask Purple Dragon. They can help you with a full face and neck lift, too--and their service is at no cost to you!
New Balloons Above Bagan
One of the most memorable experiences you can enjoy in Myanmar is a hot air balloon trip over the temples of Bagan when they are bathed in the warm early-morning light. Until recently we have not had many options when it comes to balloon trips, which are often fully booked. However, a new company in Bagan is taking its balloons to a higher level. The original balloon operator uses up to three balloons, with gondolas (the basket under the balloon where passengers stand) that accommodate up to 40 passengers! (We wonder how they choose who gets the front row spots to stand.) The company we have switched to uses gondolas that accommodate just eight passengers, which makes for a first class experience. The cost is only about $15 higher than the other balloon operator. The company observes the highest international safety standards and balloons are operated by licensed European pilots. >Visit Bagan
High Season Prices
It's that time of year again. It's only May but we are looking forward to 2015 already, and are working on enquiries for as far in the future as November 2015. Purple Dragon uses nearly 400 different hotels in nine countries, and most contracts expire between the end of September and the end of December. This year we got an early start, so we expect that most of our 2015 prices will be published by the end of the first week of May. This is a tedious process, so please bear with us. If you do not yet see prices for the destination you have in mind, don't be afraid to ask. We expect to be able to publish Myanmar prices for the first time in nearly three years. Yeah!
Leave Your Footprint: Pick The Winner In the Race towards Gay Marriage
We are all on the edge of our seats waiting to see which country in our part of the world will be the first to legalize same sex unions. Cambodia's late King Norodom Sihanouk wrote in his personal blog that it was about time for same sex couples to be welcomed legally. The Vietnamese government is set to discuss amendments to the country's marriage law soon with the next few months. A recent English language newspaper carried a story about changing attitudes in that country, and shared results of a recent poll that determined that more than a third of the population supported marriage rights. Saigon has a very open and vocal gay community that has staged a number of public "weddings" in the past. So where does that leave Thailand, which is considered the most tolerant and open? Some here are skeptical, citing that those in power in Thailand are far too conservative. Others are optimistic in the long term. In the short term, Thailand has not had a functioning government for three months, no legislative branch, and the reasonable prospects for elections in the next three or four months are small.
So tell us what you think at the same time when you leave your "footprint." You will earn 100 Purple Bonus Points automatically and it takes just a minute or two. We ask Members to read this newsletter and leave their digital "footprint" at least once a year or we bid them farewell. We will publish the results of this fanciful poll in the next edition of the newsletter.
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