Bangkok – Soi 21

Bangkok – Soi 21

The sun, streaming through the curtain-less window, illuminates the room: sparse, yet clean. The hot water refuses to function, while the cold water struggles to flow. A soaked face towel suffices, and twenty minutes later I inform the receptionist of the problem. Assured they will attend to it, I take a short stroll to find breakfast, then armed with a camera, I wander. Since leaving the hotel I keep hearing lots of noise, similar to hearing a football crowd from a distance. It doesn’t take long, (roughly a ten minutes walk) before I discover what’s the source of the commotion. The anti-government protest has begun. Picture the scene; huge screens, a gigantic stage, a massive crowd, a tented city. Street vendors everywhere selling  food, trinkets and t-shirts. The atmosphere is carnival. A crescendo from the constant whistles urge you to feel joyful, blowing my own doubts into the warm morning air. 
Before heading north, I  want to visit temples, but to do so, I need to pass among the protesters. It is Sunday, a languid atmosphere prevails as I weave easily through the throng and arrive at the metro station. Modern and efficient, the ticket buying is simple, pricing cheap (fifty pence for five stops), trains on schedule and carriages clean. The temples (called Wats) are grand, but three temples later I’m ‘watted out’ and as the sun is sinking fast, I make my way back.

bangkok demo
the spirit of Bangkok

Huge crowds have accumulated, perhaps quadrupled from the afternoon gathering. The decibel level has increased, the rhetoric from the platform speakers having stirred the crowd into repeated frenzies of whistleblowing, clapping and cheering. It reminds me of rallies long past, when good orators could excite. I stumble upon a bar, order a beer and watch history evolve before my eyes. A fantastic sight to see, hear, smell and witness. A special place and time for me.

Bangkok - Soi 21
peaceful revolution

 

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