Thai people are really friendly and welcoming, even those on the way to massive political demonstrations. The Western media has portrayed Bangkok as a dangerous place to be lately.
Well, maybe the wiring is a tiny bit dodgy….
On the same day as the biggest planned traffic gridlock in Bangkok’s history, we had to cross town to get to the airport. We got caught up in the crowds of flag waving men and women, wearing the red, white and blue Thai colours in their hair, round their necks, blowing whistles.
There are many pro government supporters from rural Thailand, but the anti government supporters have a lot of backing in Bangkok. The anti government supporters organised the standstill, and it was well organised. Even extra massive bags of change were on hand for the Skytrain station booths to cope with the thousands of extra passengers. The pro government supporters, the Red Shirts, kept away. Things may escalate as the elections in February draw nearer.
We were very lucky that we decided to leave earlier than even the original early plan. 1pm was the target standstill time. By just after 11am the freeways were beginning to block, and we got to Mo Chit station (the beginning of the Skytrain line) as it was starting to look like we wouldn’t get any further. Visitors and demonstrators alike were making their way to the overhead stations. 9 million people live in Bangkok.
We had to queue first for change and then for tickets, and we were fast-tracked along by everyone else in the queue when they saw the bags and cases.
It was equally impressive that someone was able to wear a woolly hat in near 30 degree heat, only a wee bit north of the equator.
We are all a bit sad to be leaving this amazing country. Adam has already started thinking about plans to come back on his own. Katie and I have had, amongst many other things, an unforgettable experience getting up close to rescue elephants. We still have a long list of things we want to do or see in Thailand. Or maybe Laos or Vietnam or Cambodia.
Asia’s had quite an effect on us all.
We had a grown-ups night last night with our friends Lee and Vicki, and Vicki’s dad babysitting our 6 kids (thanks!!). Charlie’s outdoor (totally wacky) bar on Sukumvit Soi 11, a Mexican and one or 5 too many margueritas, then a trip to a 33rd floor rooftop bar round the corner. Fab view of the city lights at night.
We are on our way back to Europe now via Dubai to set off again in the campervan in Spain. We think we are working our way round the south coast of France and down into Italy, but who knows….. the world’s an oyster.