Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bangkok IV

We ended up back in Bangkok on the 11th - just in time for the Red Shirt protests to start. Chuck was a bit more concerned about this than I was. He checked the newspapers and online to see what to expect. Reports were claiming that within a few days there could be nearly 200,000 red shirters in Bangkok, and who knew what they would do. Meanwhile, we went about our business as usual as we made our plans for a visa run (that's when you leave the country in order to get a new visa because your current one is expiring).

The protests officially began on the 12th. We watched a bit of the news as we putzed around the hostel, seeing what was going on and how crazy it might be. The hostel assured us that things would be fine at our location - just don't wear any red shirts. There was a group of French kids who got all excited about the demonstrations and tossed on some red shirts to go join them. I don't think they really had a clue as to what the red shirts were protesting for or about - they just thought it would be fun to join the masses and pretend to be supporters I guess. The owner of the hostel very seriously told them not to come back to the hostel wearing the red shirts. That she didn't want any trouble following them back there. I told them to be safe out there. They came back later on, after having changed their shirts, unscathed and pumped up. I guess they had an exciting time mingling with the protesters. It was probably a pretty interesting experience. I would have liked to go out and see the crowds (and boy, there certainly were big crowds), but I was too nervous about the possibility of violence, etc. So instead, Chuck and I spent the next two days eating at and visiting our favorite Bangkok restaurants and shops, most notably sushi and BBQ at Sukishi, and buffet hot pot soup at the Sukiyaki place.

On the 14th we purchased our train tickets to Laos, and on the 15th we packed up and headed down to the station to catch the train. It was an overnight trip to the border, so most of the ride we were asleep. On that same day, the day we left, we heard some Red Shirt news about how they were threatening to over-run a military building in Bangkok, and even collect the blood of the protestors to spill on the Parliament House. I suppose we were glad to be leaving after we heard that. That sort of determination is something we thought it would be best to avoid.

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