Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 23 February 2007

The Gecko: 23 February 2007

The Gecko: 23 February 2007

Newshounds

puzzled by the lack of hard news in recent weeks from the great democracy of Sweden

can now rest easy as there is a logical reason for the blackout. A deep-cover Post

investigative team can now reveal exclusively that over half the population of Sweden

is currently on vacation on the island of Ko Chang in Thailand. Escaping the dreary

winters back home, seemingly millions of robust and well-fed Swedes can be seen all

up and down Ko Chang's western coast participating in what locals call the "lobster

sunbake".

One local Thai resident confessed to complete mystification at the phenomenon. "Ooooooey!

Falanf baaa, nah! Khon Scando come here, white skin so muh, vely nigh. Then Bah-bah-Koo,

all led lie lobstur, na ka. My kao chai."

A Swedish woman named Ingrid from Gotesberg sporting skin the color of Santa Claus'

suit complained about the cloud cover. "Jaa, I vant a gud tan befor I go back

to da Sshveedenp until about 15 years ago Ko Chang, Thailand's second largest island,

was off the tourist map.

Backpackers led the way in making the island known to the white-sand-beach-chasing

public. Add countless hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment

later and Ko Chang is now peppered by all the trappings of the world's largest industry

- tourism.

In the north of the island, closest to the mainland, the main road is Jam-packed

with rows and rows of businesses that include: handicraft shops, massage parlors,

1-baht-per-minute internet shops, moto-rental shops, 7-11s, travel agents, scuba

dive shops, and Indian tailors with guys from Uttar Pradesh standing outside cajoling

passersby with "have-a-look, have-a-look, what country you from, have-a-look."

But then, in the remote south of the island, which guidebooks describe as having

"people living in traditional styles", one finds villages packed with businesses

that include: handicraft shops, massage parlors, 1-baht-per-minute internet shops,

moto-rental shops, 7-11s, travel agents, scuba dive shops, and Indian tailors from

Bihar standing outside cajoling passersby with "have-a-look, have-a-look, what

country you from, have-a-look."

The road from Sre Ambel to Koh Kong is now paved and most bridges will be completed

by year-end. Phnompenhois should follow the trail blazed by world-famous Australian

lawyer Matt Rendall and consider driving to the border and then visiting Ko Chang

on their next vacation. The beaches are absolutely beautiful.

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