Following the daily kabuki of the Bangkok protest in January and February, the internal debate on including Bangkok in my itinerary was a cloud on my plans. Was the protest going to be an Arab Spring melee or like the tame Occupy Wall Street? Banking on the latter, I proceeded with travel plans.
Walking along Pathuman, drawn by the sound of a loud live band pumping rock music, several streets were cordoned off for a mass of Thais who were rocking, dancing, chanting and singing to the music.
Weaving in and out of the relatively peaceful protest that seemed more like a picnic, with some protesters having reflexology massages, picnic spreads, beach umbrellas, barbeques, food spread out on blankets or makeshift tables, naps on lounging chairs, it seemed surreal. To avoid being caught in the middle, in case a fracas ensued, red and yellow outfits were avoided. Red was the color of the protest and yellow, the government side. In some multi-storey parking buildings, camping tents neatly placed in rows took the place of cars. Some side streets were also tent alleys.
Just in case home cooked meals ran out at the protest sites, the streets of Bangkok did not lack for street hawkers or food vendors.