Trouble in Bangkok...

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November 30th 2008
Published: November 30th 2008
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A Bad Omen...

Soooooo...we had a great holiday in Thailand. We met up with old friends. We spent time on the beach. We revisited old haunts. We even arrnaged interviews in Saigon for our arrival in Vietnam.

Then, Vietnam visa bought, we booked two seats on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Bangkok to Ho CHi Minh City (formerly Saigon) leaving on Wednesday the 26th of November.

That morning we got up early to collect our tickets from the travel agent. We crammed all our belongings into our bags. The last to go in was Kate's pair of hiking trainers. As she picked them up they suddenly brimmed over with what seemed to be an entire colony of large brown ants that scattered in every direction. God knows where they came from but they'd seemed to set up home in Kate's smelly shoe. Anyway, it took a good while swinging a flip flop to squish the lot and afterwards the room was one of ant devastation.

Little did we know that this was a sign of bad news on the way (maybe..).

"Hi! They closed the airport!"

Seconds after we dispensed with the ants, my mobile rang. It was Neeracha, the mother of twin boys Kate and I used to teach when we lived here in 2007 (we kept in touch via e-mail). She knew we were scheduled to fly to Vietnam that day and called to tell us what she'd seen on the news. I'm not sure I totally understood what she meant, but she was definitely saying that the international airport was closed and we couldn't fly today.

We headed straight to our travel agent and she told us she would have to wait until 9 to call the airline. Maybe we could get breakfast...?

We went straight on the internet to check the news.

As you might know by now, we picked the worse possible day to fly out of Bangkok. Anti-government protesters dressed in yellow from a group called the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) stormed Bangkok international airport in their thousands, took control of it and effectively closed it down. They did a similar thing at the internal airport too. After that they set up camp and waited, demanding the resignation of Thailand's prime minister.

Unsurprisingly, he refused.

Bang went those Vietnamese job interviews we had set up for Thursday...


For more details check the news! I just thought I'd post this blog to say we are fine and currently waiting at a Thai friend's house 2 hours outside Bangkok.

At the time of writing the PAD are still holding the airports and 100 000 foreigners are stranded in Thailand. The Thai authorities are currently flying people out of a small military airport but the backlog's immense and things are chaotic. The government and the protesters are at a stalemate. The police did suggest they'd "remove the protesters peacefully", but I'm not sure how you eject 4000 people from an airport who refuse to go, without using force...

Anyway, other than what we see on the news and read on the internet, we have seen no trouble at all. When we were in Bangkok and people assumed the city was a warzone we were sat outside a bar having a beer. Now we're out of the city and even further from any trouble. We'll wait it out and see what happens and post a new blog if we make other arrangements to leave.

Nobody worry!


1st December 2008

Oh dear! Sorry to hear your travels have been delayed again. The news re Bangkok was worrying so very pleased you are both not at the airport. Good luck!

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