Saturday, November 29, 2008

Political situation in Bangkok

A friend in Northern Ireland who works for a newspaper, asked me to send him a bit on what's happening here in Bangkok. The following is what I sent:

My dad left Bangkok on Tuesday, on the 13:45 Thai International Airways flight for London. I had to be at work, so I couldn't see him to the airport, but I got a phone call from him shortly before boarding time. All was well. He had taken a taxi to the airport, which is not far from our house.

My worst fear was that employees of all the state enterprises had planned to go on strike on Tuesday in support of the Democracy protest, and in retaliation for a bomb that had gone off at the government house (occupied by the protestors) killing one and injuring a few others. I didn't know if Thai International Airways was one of the enterprises that would be affected by the strike, so I had advised my dad to leave the house earlier, so as to ensure that he would be checked in, in case there were problems (long lines, etc.). There was no problem. He boarded, and they took off.

Probably while his plane was somewhere over Central Asia or someplace, I had put Abie to bed, and had actually fallen asleep, my mobile (which I use for an alarm clock) signaled that I had a text message. I use the service of one of the local English newspapers whereby they text the major headlines to my phone. I never get a text so late at night, but the text read that the airport had been closed, due to the protesters blocking the enterances. That was a bit disconserting. I was very glad my dad had left when he did, but apparently, about 10,000 other travellers weren't so fortunate.

As I said, we live close to the airport -- in fact, right under the flight path. It's cold season (Thai winter, making it feel like summer in Ireland), so the wind blows from the North, so the aeroplanes take off over our house this time of year, making it very noisy. That's been one of our major complaints about the house we're currently renting. However, for the last two days, it's been very peaceful!

However, we're not close enough to the airport to notice any activities or hear explosions or anything like that. The school where I teach (and Abie attends) is close by. Everyone just talks about it -- that's all.

Since sending the above to my friend, our school anounced that because we're in the emergency area, there would be no school the next day (Friday). At this moment (Saturday), we are down at my wife's parents' place. I hope school is back on on Monday.

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