Since arriving in Chiang Mai, I’ve been trying to avoid mentioning the protests in Bangkok. I’ve been hearing about them, thinking about them and praying about them; however, this blog is generally about boring stuff I do during the day, not about events on the world’s stage.
Yesterday, since I had a front row seat when the world’s stage raised its curtain, I’ll share my experience with you. It was an interesting day. I spent about an hour in the morning watching live breaking news as the military’s armored vehicles broke through the Red Shirt barricades and started securing the protest area in Bangkok. I was hopeful that things might finally be resolved – or at least settled for a while.
Around 11am, I went to meet some friends for lunch down by the river. After lunch, I had some errands to run on the other side of the bridge. As I was crossing the bridge, things seemed…odd. My spidey senses were tingling, so instead of crossing the street where I had planned, I continued walking and thought I’d take a more circuitous route to my destination. Along the way, I ran into 2 other students in my program, and joined them on a short detour to the flower market (lovely!). About 20 minutes later, I turned back to finish my original errand, but when I got back to the bridge, police were setting up barricades, and protesters were burning a pile of tires in the middle of the bridge (where things had seemed odd to me earlier). I had my camera with me, but I didn’t think about taking a picture, I just got in the first songtaew I could find and headed for home. By the time I got home, I heard that the major shopping centers in Chiang Mai were closing, a curfew had been ordered for the night, and a firetruck near the bridge was burning.
On another front, when I woke up yesterday morning, there was a tiny dead lizard in my bedroom being assaulted by ants. Instead of inviting a row of ants to invade my bedroom, I scooped him up in my dustpan and deposited him in the hall outside my door. When I left for lunch, the ants had already carried him (and his detached tail) 1/2 way up the wall to their ‘home crack’. I DID take a video of that, which is why I had my camera with me to not take pictures of the tire fire with. (?) I remember thinking “They’ll never fit him through that crack.” 4 hours later, when I got home, it was just in time to see the ants execute a 3-point turn with the lizard and then disappear with him into the crack. Amazing little critters.
Now, having said all that, things in my out-of-the-way neighbourhood are quiet as usual, and if I hadn’t have been on the bridge yesterday, I would have had no idea that something was awry. Even last night, the protesters ignored the curfew, and many banks and buildings in Chiang Mai were damaged – but I didn’t hear or see a thing from this part of town. We’ll see what happens over the next few days, but I still feel safe in this area.