It’s been an interesting week.

Thailand has been in the process of shooting itself in the head. You’d think that a country that relies so much on its image as a good place to holiday would take care of its tourism industry, but apparently not so… As the PAD protesters blockade both of Bangkok’s airports, paralysing the movement of people in and out of the country, the government continues to do nothing, but wait for them to go home. The PAD started out as a principled group of protesters with a simple goal of calling elections to try to displace the apparent puppet government. Now they’re running around with bombs and guns and ruining their own country’s economy. If they’re looking for support, now they can rule out anyone who loses their job because there aren’t any tourists. What a shame – it was such a nice country…

Obama is living up to my expectations of becoming just another president. His appointments reek of old-school Washington with all their preferences and prejudices intact. I want to wait to give him the benefit of the doubt, but all I’m reading just confirms that he will be a “steady as she goes / look on the bright side” president while the country goes through crisis after crisis. The guy can deliver a speech, but it looks like he isn’t strong enough to stand up as the events of history are poised to sweep him and everyone else away.

Sending more troops to Afghanistan is hardly going to make anything better for the people who have to live there and endure bombs from the sky, bullets from the hills and streets and acid thrown from passing morons on motorbikes.

Bush wants to be remembered as a guy who liberated 50 million people and who helped bring peace to the world. Well, sure, I think we’d all like to be remembered in a positive way. But if that isn’t evidence that he is psychotic, then I don’t what is. I suspect the history books will remember old George as a man who bankrupted a baseball team, then an oil company, then a country… perhaps the world.

The global economy lurches from one piece of bad news to the next. I’m so glad I don’t hold any major debt such as a loan or a mortgage right now. I feel for my friends who are going through tough times. All I want is the A$/yen exchance rate to stay where it is for the next year or so at least! Selfish, yes, but hey – everyone else is trying to make money so why not me too?

This really puts the bailout into perspective. The current bailout is only comparable to the entire cost of World War II, and even then this bailout is costing more. Another way of looking at it is by checking the bankruptcy risk. At this point California has been assessed as being a higher bankruptcy risk than Slovakia. If your bank or country has a lot of debt in dollars, it’s not a good thing! You can add China to the list of countries suffering at the hands of this crisis.

So what next? While some are predicting the decline and fall of America, deflation, maybe bankruptcy, or perhaps another world war, the consensus is that things will definitely get worse, maybe much worse (OK – probably very much worse!), before they begin to get better. Oh, and that other crisis – about food – is still going.

Personally I’m counting down to December 22, which is when I take off for a week in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with the lovely Sheree, providing she can make it through Thailand without incident. After that I head back to Japan via Hong Kong and some time with my good friend Fatima. Christmas in Cambodia, New Years in HK, then back to work in freezing Japan. Such is the life of a jet-set penny pinching old bastard.

Japan is weird. Really weird. A good article about the wedding industry here in Japan – especially its fetish for foreign wedding celebrants. China is trying to catch up in the weirdness stakes. I wish I knew where I could find this shop.

And THIS is just wrong!