Friday, September 22, 2006

Day 3.. more rumours..

Just now i have been told from 2 different sides that something is going on very close to here in the centre of Bangkok, something like a demonstration or disturbance but nothing verified at all. This is in keeping with the general sense of nothing having changed but underneath some very real fears that problems may arise quite suddenly. Best thing to do is to stay in touch with the news but dont let every piece of information affect you until your really know what is going on. As for a typical Friday evening in Bangkok, well for me the usual choice would be to head to a bar near my home and relax and unless something major happens then i will still do just that! But always better to be safe than sorry right.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Coup Day 2

Everything back to normal? well on the surface yes, but rumours still abound in Bangkok that there could be some reaction to Tuesday nights coup. The junta today have started to clamp down on some democratic freedoms including the right to form a political party and the martial law stops public gathering with more than 5 people. Outside of stopping football games i dont see this causing much issue just at the moment but it could be that if any pro-Taksin elements exist in the army then they will rise up sooner rather than later. Very little has been covered in the media about activities outside of Bangkok and here is where Taksin's party have always had their support, Bangkok is Bangkok, the rest of Thailand has a totally different political makeup.

Perhaps the feeling of back-to-business today is a sign that the interim period until new elections are put in place will be peaceful, but it could also be a false sense of security masking the fact that having a army in place at the helm could soon start to cause tensions that are also dealt with in a show of force. I trust in the people's love of the king and that any rocks in the path ahead can be smoothed with a simple word from his Royal Highness. Hopefully that will not even have to happen as influential Thai's get together, bash out a new constitution and take the opportunity to rebuild the democracy on a solid and fair basis..

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

20th September - Thai Coup Day 1

Well it has been 6 months since i first really saw the writing on the wall for the PM Taksin but last night he was ousted in a coup held by the commander of the army Sondhi. Quite sureal to see it unfold in front of your eyes here in Bangkok and this morning it seems that no-one is quite sure what is really going on. There are rumours of violence in the Rattanakosin area of the city, although from here in Chidlom in the shopping district the only sign something is amiss are the troops stationed on intersections and an abulance which left heading in that direction with its sirens blaring.. it might well have come from the military hospital just further down the road.

Today has been announced as a public holiday but currently i am in the office at 6:00am waiting to do a remote training session for some guys in the US, another amazing thing about working with the timezones is that by the clock over there this has not even happened yet, lets wait and see what everyone knows by the time the rest of the world wakes up on Wednesday 20th September.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The longest flight from old Don

Since i last posted i seem to have been everywhere, and nowhere at all! The major achievement during the last 2 months for me has been to take a brief 2-stage holiday in Thailand, first down on Ko Lanta with an old friend of mine from University and then over to Ko Chang for a really relaxing time playing around in the waves all day at lonely beach.. I can't say that i did a great deal during my time off, but that is exactly what i set out to do! before that i was back in Germany, the US and China working pretty hard so to spend time concentrating my mind only on playing cards and working out what to order from a menu for a week and a half felt like a medicine missing since last Christmas when my family came out for their hols!

The end of my vacation has somewhat predictably coincided with yet another trip to America. In my last post i said that New York is a long way East or West from Thailand, but this time i took Thai airways' flight TG970 direct to JFK and this makes it in just under 17hrs! The route heads due North from Bangkok over Laos, China and Mongolia and then across Russia to loop around the North Pole and down to the US over Canada. I can definitely now recommend this as the preferred way to get to the East Coast from SE Asia as i have done it via many different connections and this is certainly the easiest to handle. I left after having a couple of beers with some friends in Bangkok on Friday evening and now i have just finished lunch in Rhode Island on Saturday! The jet lag seems to be much more slight than usual as you go to sleep at midnight Bangkok time and have one very long nights rest before waking up at first light, ready to arrive into the US. -this of course if you can sleep on planes, so i can also recommend that you book using Premium Economy or Royal Silk class if possible!

So this trip is going to be (maybe counting my chickens to early here) my last in and out of Don Muang airport which on the 28th will be officially be replaced by Suvanabhumi as Bangkok's main airport. I have seen countless photos of the new airport and i flew over it very recently and actually i think it is quite an exciting prospect to go there soon and really have a good look at the place. One thing that perhaps will be missing will be the atmosphere that Don Muang has, it is probably undesirable to replicate the slighty peeling, musty and humid ambience of the old airport but there is no denying that Don Muang has a definite character to it! During my holiday i flew down to Krabi on Thai air, and being ushered through an indistinct door and the VIP domestic departure lounge, sitting amongst politicians and others before walking through almost covert corridors direct to the metal detectors had a 70's spy-era feel to it at Don Muang! i am not sure that the glitzy new terminal building will provide an equal experience now the modern and high tech has replaced the old guard but it will be a fantastic new airport for the region.