A reader in Thailand has provided this account from April 21 in Bangkok.
Now that things have moved so close to our house, grandma and I took a walk yesterday, to see what the fuss is all about. So I took my little point-and-shoot and off we went. Well, there was plenty to see. Determined reds, hyperactive journalists, stern police, and very uncomfortable looking soldiers, carrying real guns. I wanted to tell the soldiers to go home to their mothers on the other side.
There was also a small parade of the red’s counterparts. I dubbed them “Marie Antoinettes” but I think grandma does not approve. Anyway, they are very noisy office ladies waving little Thai flags and shouting “ai hia owk pai” at the reds. Such foul words did not become them.
As is invariably the case with demonstrations, life “around the corner” goes on as normal. In the evening grandma and I had another look-see. Things were much more animated, it was noisy and messy with lots of police. We went to have dinner on Soi Convent, where everything was more or less as usual, but for the razor wire and a few soldiers. It is amazing how quickly you get used to these extraordinary sights.
We followed our dinner with a cultural show at one of the museums in Soi Twilight. Business there was slow, so we went back to the demonstrations for more entertainment. We are just spectators in this drama, after all. I left grandma behind at an agreed meeting point and went behind the red lines by myself. It was dark and there seemed to be only one entrance/exit. In hindsight it was a bit scary as the reds had built up their barricades and would not let their own people out. I overheard a guard telling a lady as much. Behind the barricades I did not see any journalists this time. It felt a bit uneasy, but in the end it was no problem. After taking some pictures I wormed my way out and made it back safely to grandma. We were both hot and sweaty now. A few minutes later we were in a cool taxi, on the way back home. So that’s life in Bangkok. A bit surreal.