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Love makes the world go round

From Argentina's love hotels to matchmaking across the DMZ, GlobalPost's far-flung correspondents dig up stories of the heart for Valentine's Day.

Welcome to Thailand: Happy Valentine's Day from Bangkok

What's Valentine's Day like in the sex capital of the world? Brutal.
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A Thai couple kisses during a competition for the 'World's Longest Continous Kiss" to mark Valentine’'s Day in the Thai resort area of Pattaya on February 13, 2011. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)

BANGKOK, Thailand — Just when you thought the droves of Western men who moved to Bangkok have it easy when it comes to women, you read the Bangkok Post and stumble on a story about local Valentine’s Day cards.

These things make the dating scene here look like a serious adrenaline sport.

In other words, the Bangkok Post wonders, what would Valentine Day's cards look like if they actually told the truth about love, life and gender relations in the sex capital of the world?

But be warned, gentlemen.

This collection covers the greatest fears a man can encounter while dating in Bangkok, such as:

1) Your girl is only in it for the money
2) Your girl doesn’t look anything like her online profile
3) Your girl likes Thai romantic comedy
4) Your girl likes to dress you up in metrosexual outfits
5) Your girl is also dating somebody else
6) Your girl is threatening you with castration

And best of all:

7) Your girl turns out to be a man

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

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Uzbeks reject government ban on Valentine's Day

Authorities in Uzbekistan cancel Valentine's Day events, urging citizens to celebrate the birthday of the Moghul emperor Babur instead
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Authorities in Uzbekistan want people to forget Valentine's Day and celebrate the birthday of the Moghul Emperor Babur instead (Ralph Orlowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Authorities in the central Asian state of Uzbekistan have canceled several Valentine's Day events as part of attempts to encourage the population to commemorate the birthday of the first Moghul emperor Babur instead, the BBC reports.

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Welcome to Thailand: Thai Mr. & Mrs. Smith get married underwater

Thirty-four couples take part in Thailand’s 16th annual mass underwater wedding. Happy Valentine's Day.

TRANG, Thailand — As they descended 30 feet deep in the water off the coast of Ko Kradan, one of the most picturesque islands in southern Thailand, Manit and Jane sealed their marriage vows silently, through a series of diving hand signals.

Instead of “I do,” Manit held up his hand in a diving “OK” sign, by pressing a thumb and index finger together.

Jane, wearing a plastic white veil for the occasion, did the same.

Kissing the bride required Manit to remove his regulator, but since he was an experienced dive instructor, even a bit of underwater French kissing — bubbles and all — was hardly a hurdle for him.

“It was fantastic,” the couple said of their wedding experience, as they rose to the surface and were immediately surrounded by a dozen of local reporters.
Manit, 39, and Jane,35, both from Bangkok, were one of 34 couples who took part in the 16th mass underwater wedding ceremony Saturday.

The event takes place every year on the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day in the Trang province of Thailand.

This year, only six couples ended up going through with the ceremony in full diving gear, some 30 feet under water.

The rest snorkeled and enjoyed southern Thailand’s stunning beaches and later joined up with the divers for a traditional Thai wedding celebration on the beach.

Another couple, Max and Pu, were equally excited about their choice of an unusual wedding venue.

The two, who are both competitive shooters, met in a Bangkok shooting range.

“We are Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” said Pu, who — according to the groom — is the better shooter.

“But I am better at quick draw,” added Max.

Thai Mr. and Mrs. Smith ascended from the water holding their hands up in a Thai hand signal meaning “I love you,” which looks exactly like the Western heavy metal hand sign for “rock on.”

The two have been waiting two years for their chance to get married in the underwater wedding ceremony.

“More than 60 couples applied this year, but we could only accept 34,” said Salil Tohtubtiang, Chairman of The Trang Chamber of Commerce, who organizes the annual event, which runs on a "first come, first serve" basis. 

The tradition started on Valentine’s Day in 1996, when a Thai man and woman fell in love in Trang during their participation in the first eco-tourism event aimed at saving coral reef.

Every year since, the local chamber of commerce has organized an underwater wedding for other reef-lovers.

Eventually, they got so many takers they had to introduce a quota for the number of couples they can manage to pronounce husband and wife underwater.

While getting married with an oxygen tank, in a decidedly unromantic wetsuit, isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect wedding, a wedding underwater has its advantages.

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