In life, people often act more like cattle - following the footsteps of the one before them. Granted, if short on time I wouldn't be against the idea of using a guidebook as a supplement for your travel information - rather I use them mostly as a guide for how to avoid tourist gathering spots... 'watering holes'. I would advise not to rely on them as one might a religious text or methodology - unless you want a very predictable outcome which I find utterly pointless. (of course, you needn't agree). Interacting with the local people is often very rewarding assuming you are able to comply with local culture/customs - you'll learn about things the guidebook isn't ever going to provide you. If you are ready to go to the slaughterhouse, get on that trailer with all of your brethern - otherwise, take a chance and do something different.

( testing the local spirits)

I'll admit that from time to time I borrow guidebooks from other people, I hope to end that practice, but as with most elements of change - time is required.

December 5th was His Majesty's 79th birthday... Thai people love and honor their King more than most Westerner's can fathom... he's noted to be the longest reining (living) monarch - enjoying nearly absolute popularity with his people. Most people wore yellow or gold shirts to mark his birthday - he's noted to have registered more than 2000 projects benefiting his people. If you've ever been to Thailand, you know that before each movie you watch in a theatre - there is a moment when all stand to pay homage to him. It's a very interesting phenomena... of course, there is always political sides to take in most countries, and the King apparently manages to remain impartial (so to speak).

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