"Goodbye Bangkok" - UPDATE

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April 15th 2009
Published: April 15th 2009
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“Goodbye Bangkok’ - update:last day in Bangkok Wednesday 15th April 2009 ,

Just a quick update to our last (and we thought final) blog from Bangkok, to enable us to publish these couple of fairly dramatic photos taken on our way to the airport on Monday. The situation there had escalated by Monday morning when armed forces turned on demonstrators with tear gas. We had planned to spend our final day sightseeing but by lunchtime (and check out time) it was evident, following the armed response to the rioting, with tear gas employed, and burned out vehicles just a stroll away down Sam Sen Road, that we needed to get to the airport whilst still possible. So we headed to the airport ridiculously early, getting there at about 4 p.m. eight hours before our flight. Our taxi driver had to make a circuitous route around the city centre, because several roads were blocked off by burning vehicles and barricades of burning tyres. As we crossed the elevated section of the Bangkok Expressway smoke was billowing up all around us from streets below. Armed police were all over the city on alert. We passed five major fires between the centre and the airport.

The airport was rammed with people. Many were there because they had panicked and packed their bags (ignoring advice to just stay in hotels for a day or so) and headed for the airport to try to get flights out. By the time we were landing at Heathrow on Tuesday, the whole situation had ended anyway so many holidays were unnecessarily cut short. Tourists were never in any danger in Bangkok during the few days of rioting. For example, when the situation got a bit intense on Sunday near Siam Square, shoppers were just asked to evacuate the malls and the area, which they did. Songkran festivities still continued; we even had kids in happy high spirits, squirting water at our taxi as we were heading for the airport, just a stone’s throw from a burnt out coach, armed soldiers and masked demonstrators brandishing clubs. All a bit surreal!

We are now back in Berkshire, England, chilling and recovering from jet lag.


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