akujunkan: (Default)
Let me start by saying that a certain widely popular travel guide franchise desperately needs to update its Laos title. Given their description, I'd expected net connectivity here to consist of someone on a rotary telephone dictating zeros and ones to me, yet here I am on broadband connection that's faster than the ones I used in Thailand. For shame, Lonely Planet!

Yesterday was truly surreal. Went to sleep at about two o'clock to the sounds of the roosters crowing in the powerlines (yes, they can apparently get up there. Who knew?) after a futile attempt to figure out whether or not the airport would be open tomorrow.

Ironically, it was the foreign population of Bangkok who knew about the coup first, given the fact that we all tend to be up at midnight. My driver to the airport (who I'd hired the day before), was pretty stunned--he hadn't found out till he'd woken up and got out onto the streets.

Which were pretty much deserted--pretty unnerving when you're used to the insane round the clock bustle of Bangkok. Had a really charming conversation with him about how to say 'coup' in English, and the meaning of the word. (He thought, for instance, that d'etat was some sort of abbreviation of demonstration, and wanted to know what the "etat" meant.)

Of course, had to drive right past--or rather, around--all the avenues blocked off by soldiers and tanks. The soldiers actually looked quite festive (disregarding the automatic weapons), as they were decked out in jasmine garlands and yellow ribbons and carnations (the colors of the Thai royalty).

"Take pictures, take pictures!" gleeful Mr. Driver kept urging me; I however, felt that photographing tanks from the back of a taxi during the early stages of a coup might not be such a great idea. I did get a quick shot of a couple of grunts standing on a street corner, though.

Seeing that that tack had failed, Mr. Driver then rolled down the window so that I could shake hands with the soldiers. I chickend out and settled for waving.

Anyway, that was the fun bit. The not so fun bit was the part that every bank and business was (understandably) closed, which meant that I could neither eat breakfast nor exchange money.

Am a bit worried about the fact that the military dude apparently heading the coup says that democracy won't be established for a year, as I've got some more time in Bangkok before flying to Korea. Who knows? I may just end up stranded in Laos with it's vastly superior Internet connections.

That will be all.

Update #2

Sep. 20th, 2006 01:39 am
akujunkan: (Default)
There seem to be plenty of taxis on the street, which bodes well for my being able to get out tomorrow morning.

But seriously, guys. I'm staying about a fifteen minute walk from the buildings that are currently surrounded by the military. The riot police I saw in the TIB were probably in the process of occupying the government centers while I was in there, which is probably why no one wanted to give me a city map. >.<;;; Even saw a couple of those nifty loudspeaker trucks. No tanks though.

Good lord.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
That's French for HOLY FUCK! )

I attempted to call the U.S. Embassy and ask for advice, and was put on hold for so long that my money ran out. I then decided to head to ye olde Internet cafe to see what the Embassy website has to say about the situation. Which is...nothing, although they've got several useless links to the shit bush has spewn from his mouth recently. Way to lose at life, embassy.

Thus I find myself refreshing the NYTimes homepage and reading what the Japanese news media has to say about the situation over the shoulder of the woman next to me.

All I can say is, I better get out of here tomorrow, because I don't have enough money to buy another $1,100 ticket back home.

That will be all.

PS: I should have known something was up when I stopped into the Tourist Information Bureau this evening and found it full of police in full riot gear. Unfortunately, I've spent too much time in South Korea.
akujunkan: (Default)
So here I am in Bangkok, which is like a playground for foreign tourists. I am so not joking, and I am so in love with this city. Alas, even the most state-of-the-art Internet cafes are incapable of handling USB 2.0, which means I cannot upload any of my fabulous Angkor Wat pictures. Seriously, I cannot wait to let you guys see them.

In other news, I have about 70% convinced myself to postpone my return to the states in order to travel to Laos for a week; Bangkok is one of about five airports with direct flights to the country, and it sounds relatively free of tourists and just an all-around wonderful place. We'll see how much money I can manage to cough up to fund the trip.

Anyway, I will be coming back at some point, at which time I'll have the time (and money) to go through and catch up on all the flist posts I've missed.

That will be all.

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