Edit Blog Post
Published: December 15th 2008
A royal funeral in Bangkok
The Thai King's sister's cremation temple. The ceremony went on for weeks and the city was crowded with people paying their condolences.
Well, they finally left the airport.
It took a whole week, but eventually after an impossible stalemate, via a political wrangle I don't really understand, the national courts decided that the government should be dissolved and the PM banished from politics for 5 years. As a results there was jubilation in the occupied airports as the PAD had achieved their goal. Meanwhile, on the streets of Bangkok, their red-clad counterparts in the pro-government group, held angry protests. Scandal and mudslinging abounded as each side accused the other of corruption and violence. Nonetheless, whoever threw grenades in Bangkok and whoever fired guns and whoever was corrupt and unjust...there remains the fact that closing down the airport has had a big impact on the Thai tourism industry. I wonder how many people who are taking a 2 week holiday next year will choose to fly to Bangkok, when they know it's at risk of being closed down by protesters, leaving them either stranded in Thailand, or stranded back home unable to get to the beach.
"No one's smiling now..."
To illustrate the mood in the tourist areas, one day we had to head into Bangkok for the day to pick
up a case we had stored on Khao San Road at a guesthouse. After the usual journey of bus-skytrain...it was then time to pick up the river ferry. For 2 baht more it's a tourist boat and a guy stands at the front and tells you about the sights using a microphone. It's been the same bloke since we arrived in 2006 and we're used to him telling us stuff about temples and palaces and, oddly, the price of lots of hotel rooms. This time around as we sailed up the river on the big ferry boat the crowd dwindled to around 6. Presumably most tourists - now trapped in the city had already done the river too and were either sitting in a bar waiting, or cowering in hotel rooms expecting civil war! Anyway, he was visibly upset by this and wasn't his usual spritely self. Eventually he blurted out - "Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles....but no one is smiling now...".
Sums the mood up I think for the people dependent on tourists.
A stroke of good luck at last..?
Some of you may remember that when we were initially coming to Asia
What's your poison?
A cunning ploy by beer manufacturers to sell ale in Thailand. They employ women in tight dresses to smile and ask you to drink their brand so they can get commission. From left to right - Tiger Beer, San Miguel, Singha and Chang. By the way, in case you're wondering - Kate took the picture...
again we had a job lined up. We did telephone and online interviews and everything...they just had to tell us a start date. The just before we flew (having bought a ticket for Thailand) it fell through. No vacancies emerged and they had to let us down gently. Throwing caution to the wind we decided to go anyway and decided after a visit to Thailand we'd head to Ho Chi Minh and seek work. Of course, doing this we ran the risk of getting a job with a terrible school just to earn a crust...but as you know, our adventurous spirit knows no bounds.
Then we got trapped in Thailand. What are the chances. So we missed interviews arranged in Saigon. Grr. Then....we received and e-mail from our contact at the original company. Saying basically - "I imagine you both have jobs now, but if not, two urgent vacancies have arisen..."
Crikey. We accepted. This means that rather than going to Vietnam poorer than we intended (due to the extended Thailand stay) and being jobless...we should arrive into fulltime employment with a reputable employer.
So, the plan is, now the airport is open (fingers crossed) to fly to
The very camp waiter suddenly springs into shot.
Bear in mind that at this point the airport was closed and we were trapped in Bangkok. Looks dangerous, eh?
Hanoi on Thursday where we're collected by the company and put in a hotel for our induction. After that they transport us to Haiphong, 2 hours away by the sea where our job will start! So everyone hope the airport remains open and the current seeming calm in Thailand remains.
More on Vietnam when we get there...
I am slightly disappointed we won't be spending christmas in Ho Chi Minh City, as I was going to title the blog - "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh: Christmas in Vietnam". Now it won't be possible. What - Ha Ha Hanoi?? I won't accept it.
Honestly, do you think I come up with these things off the top of my head...?
Tot: 1.069s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 10; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0089s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb