May 1

Still (stuck) in Seka

Personal Experiences


In my last update, I told you guys about being in self-isolation in Seka, somewhere in Isan, North-East Thailand.

Well, the 14 days of self-isolation have passed and I'm allowed to leave the hotel room now. However, I'm still stuck in Seka. Right now, province borders are closed so there's no chance I could get to Chiang Mai or somewhere else in general.

Airports are closed as well. And I'm not completely sure if I would have to self-quarantine again if I would go to Chiang Mai. If so, I don't know where I would have to self-quarantine. In a military hotel, a designated hotel, hotel of my choice... So just to be safe, I decided to stay a little longer in Seka.

It's not ideal since Seka is... well, it's a little boring for such a long time. I feel like I have seen now what this city has to offer and there's little new things to discover.

I still have a lot of time now to get some work done so that's a big plus. I'd rather be working at a coworking space, being able to connect with other "farang" but that clearly won't be happening this month.

So, what have I been doing the last couple of weeks? Not much actually. First thing I did on the day I could leave the room was going to 7/11 and get myself an iced coffee. I went to the local market with Poppy to buy some food and in the evening I had barbecue with her family.

I visited some friends of Poppy as well. We had dinner and drank some sangsom (thai whisky). It's hard to respect the social distance rules though. These houses are so small and so many people are living in it, that it's hard to keep 1,5 metres away from other people. Fortunately, this province has no infected people (and never had) and province borders are being checked but still..

I visited some place in Seka that's like a big lake where youngster seem to meet to drink and smoke.

The local temple here is quite small though but has some nice peacefull spots.

Seka is the first city in Isan I visited. And it's definitely another version of Thailand compared to the islands in the south and Chiang Mai in the north.

Isan is a poor region, with a lot of people working on farms. Quite a few of people from Isan had a job in Bangkok or some other tourist hot spot. They all had to return because there is next to no tourism anymore in Thailand and most - if not all - of them lost their job.

So many families here were supported by a family member working in a tourist hot spot and being send money to buy food and other necessary items to survive. Now these workers have returned and it's heartbreaking to see how difficult it is now for Thai people to survive.

Not only in Isan, situation is getting worse by the day. Also Chiang Mai is being hurt very bad because of lack of tourism. The lines for free food I get to see on social media are insane.

The stories I hear are horrifying as well. Thailand is very proud to have so little people infected by COVID-19 and their efficient approach. However, if I hear stories about desperate woman, wanting to jump of a bridge with her daughter because she has no money to feed her, that breaks my heart.

Yes, there are very little infections and very little deaths by the virus directly. But suicides because of the economic damage this virus is doing is rising 🙁

Anyway, I will probably be stuck for another month here in Seka. As of next month domestic flights should be going again and I'd be able to go to Chiang Mai. And probably the alcohol ban and curfew that has been in order since a few weeks should be lifted as well.

My visa got an automatic extension until 31 July. That means that I don't have to do a border run in May (which isn't possible because of closed borders) and I can stay in Thailand until 31 July without having to leave the country.


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