“Is this your first revolution?” “Yes, it is.” “Congratulations!” - conversation with a fellow tourist after he asked me to pose for a photo with him
Only in Thailand is what I kept thinking to myself as I watched the military coup-turned-tourist-attraction scene in front of the government house yesterday. Not that I’m complaining, though. The situation is still far from being completely resolved but so far things are calm in Bangkok.
On Tuesday, I was over at Cafe Democ (directly in front of the Democracy Monument near Khao San rd.) with some friends for the weekly Club Pros night. Just as things were getting started at 10:15 or so, they killed the music and informed everyone that a coup was underway and a bunch of tanks were headed towards the monument. Time to leave.
A frenzy of phone calls ensued in an attempt to find out exactly what was going on, but there was little information to be had - all of the local news stations were broadcasting only photos of the king. The only thing we could find out with any certainty was that something big was going on. Since the area around the monument was the site of some fatal shootings during the last coup (15 years ago) most of us were in a hurry to get out. I hopped in a cab with Pui to flee the scene and about 5 minutes later we saw a few tanks parked in major intersections. I tried to snap some photos but none came out at all…
Pui and I headed back to her place and tried to get some updates but the local news was completely shut down. Rumors spread like wildfire; my favorite one: that Tata Young was holding an impromtu concert in the street to show her support for the soldiers. CNN and BBC were reporting, however, so at least we were able to hear that there hadn’t been any violence and the situation appeared calm so far.
Yesterday was quite a strange day in Bangkok. Aside from some soldiers in the street and the odd tank here and there, it was simply a quiet day in the city. Due to the “state of emergency” declared by Prime Minister Thaksin (who is still out of the country, now in London), the banks and stock market were closed as well as most schools and businesses. After checking the news online I decided to try and round up some friends and head out to the government house to see whats up first hand. A couple hours later I met up with Nadia and Pui at the Siam BTS station and we all got on a bus.
As I said before, the situation at the government house was more a media circus / tourist photo-op than what I was expecting from the scene of a military coup, but thats not such a bad thing after all. I took tons of photos before we met up with the rest of the gang (Glaw, Gift, Andy, Aom, Jojo, Nat) and went out for dinner near Khao San.
And today, things are feeling quite normal… Some announcements have been made by the head officers of the military and the king himself has announced his support of the takeover, which should help to keep things peaceful until all is resolved. The main players in Thaksin’s ousted party are gathering in London at the moment, though, so there may yet be more to the story. I’ll keep posting updates as things happen.
In other news: I am moving to Bangkok. A new business venture with my good friends Apolonio and Pete has yielded a signed contract and so I am finally settling down in my own apartment in order to help complete our first project.
More on that to come as well. I will be moving into the Ratchaprarop Tower Mansion near Victory Monument station on October 3rd, signing a lease that lasts through January. It is official. Come visit.
I hate to do this. Really. But these days my mySpace page gets more of my attention than this blog. I know, mySpace is evil and it sucks. You can handle it. I’m not abandoning this site by any means, it’s just that for day to day staying-in-touch-ing mySpace is more convenient. I’m sorry.