I'm an American living and working in Bangkok Thailand. I will attempt to write about cool foreign travel stuff on this blog so that when cool foreign travel stuff happens to you you will think back to this blog and be all, "oh yeah, I remember that blog".Ask me anything you like. Submit
Completely unedited notes on my trip down to the home-base of opposition demonstrations: Democracy Monument, Bangkok, Thailand
First political rally in a foreign nation in the midst of a (sometimes) violent uprise
My camera was dead upon arrived.
Note to self: never ever, buy electronics near a tourist area in Malaysia.
First impression: it was weird walking past the traffic barricades with absolutely nobody manning them for security. I’d anticipated being stopped or atleast looked over at this point- but nothing. And it smelled of piss from the jump. I attribute this to my entrance from the far end of the protest area. Seems like the front door to a KS veteran. But really it was a few hundred meters from the action.
I felt very awkward as a farang. made worse by a recent confrontation I had with a friend over some comments I had posted online that she took (I think wrongly) as offensive.
- Exascerbated by the presence of blonde and bearded white people- ubiquitously tank-topped. Infrequent, but present. I felt the same aversion to them as usual, just a very hightened awareness of their proximity to me. I’m flying solo folks. Thank you very much.
I would love to say the mood was electric, or heavy or celebratory or in some way affected me. But in truth, everyone seemed to just be going about their business. They clapped and whistled in unison each time Suthep stopped to smile or catch his breath. They drank their beers and ate their food and bouht their silly sunglasses.But there was nothing either frantic nor particularly happy in the mood; as I might have imagined would be the case after sucha well-orchestrated and truly, globaly unique turn of events- seemingly in their favor.
Bought a whistle as a souvenir and exchanged cash slight-of-hand style, a lá adrug transaction, on account of my tourist shame
Banks of very expensive looking large-screen televisions broadcasting a live feed of Suthep making an apparently empassioned/grandiose speech and looking winded all the while. It was hard to tell if he was somewhere nearby or being brought in over the wire.
The amber lights of the King’s birthday added a lovely ambiance
The distinctive 4-towers of Democracy monument, cast rgb by the monitor banks and with that dappled halo of the Fathers Day glow was quite a surreal scene. I stopped and took time to absorb that image.
Busses, presumably mobile toilets, parked along the walk way- literally dripping with piss all over the ground. Difficult to ignore the juxtaposition of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of electronics equipment and portos that wouldn’t pass snuff at a Skynard bbq
The weather was clear and exceptionally cool.
Walking back to Khao San wasn’t so much a wake up call as a slap in the face. Equally foreign and fervent and weird to my senses. Atleast I got to pay my 5baht and piss in a urinal like a mostlyhousetrained human.
The motorbike ride back was invigorating. That I could find bikes deep within the crowd, far inside the barricades, and then seamlessly exchange directions and price information without hesitation was a liberating feeling. Puut Thai dai mak, yo
Then I exchanged semi-flirtatious tinglish banter with the shop girl in my bulding, as per usual, and came upstairs to jot this down.
-Apologies if these come off as weird/offensive/insensitive/shallow/whatever. I threw it down to gather my thoughts. I posted it. Thought the raw first impression might be useful to someone. Maybe I’ll regret this in the morning.
Long live the King
And then the police were like, “fuck it. Come on in.”
Someone at the top decided the ego dent in allowing peaceful demonstrators to occupy the police building was better than the backlash of actually having a live-round confrontation. Seems like a brilliant move.
"Bizarre", is all anyone is saying.
Police removed all barricades and razor wire and literally greeted the protestors with an honor guard and flowers. Protestors were seen waiing (bowing) to officers and apologizing for misbehavior after yesterdays crazy ass siege; which included tear gas, a few live rounds, water cannons, hijacked fire and garbage trucks and at least one tractor.
No more explosions today, I think. Ha
How could you not love Thailand.
… of course, the opposition leader called his shot yesterday evening. Which means he’s clairvoyant or the fix was already in. We shall see.