• Monday, December 11, 2006

    Protests and coups, Bangkok immigration staff, and electric vehicles...

    I found this thing crawling up the wall next to me in the office. About 4" across.

    The protest by the Sept 19 Network took place yesterday with about a 1,000 people in attendance. They started at Sanam Luang and marched to Democracy Monument on Rajdamnern Avenue, Bangkok. A few weeks ago reports were that there would be about 30,000 people in attendance but for one reason or another than number was considerably reduced. By all accounts it was a peaceful protest.

    I've said it before but here it is again, life under this particular military government is quite good. I've been asked by people overseas what it's like and if I feel threatened. Nope. And to be honest, having spent many years here on and off since the early nineties this is the first time I've felt that there is someone in power who is genuinely working for the collective rather than trying to hang on to power and milk the country for all it's worth. Despite the democratic issue things are good.

    I haven't read too much about the coup in Fiji but I have noticed that the international community has taken a stronger line on that one. I'm sure I read that aid had been cut and there was some pretty damning condemnation. The US, which was one of the biggest critics of Thailand's coup, have sent George Bush Senior and his wife as a rep of George Junior, they are here now. I'm thinking trade and weapons deals.

    There was a letter in the Bangkok Post today about the new Suwarnabhumi Airport, again. This time the complaint was the immigration staff. YES, at last I'm not the only one! I've thought for many years now that the biggest problem in Thailand is the immigration staff at Bangkok. It doesn't seem to be the case with other airports in Thailand, just Bangkok. They are rude, impolite, miserable and generally toss your passport at you rather than handing it. They never smile or speak and present a bad image of Thais in general.

    Fly into Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai etc and you'll find people with a smile on their faces. But not in Bangkok. Often I travel with a young child and there have been occasions when airport staff have whisked me through the VIP/diplomatic desk. They smile there and you get a conversation out of them. I guess it pays to be "important".

    I found a company making electric vehicles on the net. They're called Myers Motors and are based in the US. They make three wheeled bike/cars that can do 70mph but only have a 30

    mile range. Looks very similar to the cars featured in Austin Power's Gold Member movie, staring Mike Myers. A connection maybe? I'm interested in electric vehicles but just haven't found one yet that meets all my requirements and doesn't look odd. See more [here].

    Today is more like winter in Thailand. The sky is overcast and there's a cool breeze. It's nice and refreshing and hopefully it will stay like this for the rest of the day. Better still the rest of the week. Now I'm being coerced into a Christmas shopping expedition. What joy!

    Protests and coups, and Bangkok immigration staff...



    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Immigration in Bangkok is fine. No they don't smile, but I have never had a passport anything but handed back to me. And this is passing through there at least 40 times in the last 6 years.

    10:49 am  
    Blogger Life Out East said...

    I've been in Thailand on and off since 1992 and never once had a good experience with the immigration guys at Don Muang, except when going through the VIP gate.
    Just my experience and that of many people I've met and read about in the Post. I was surveyed once at Don Muang, customer survey. When I mentioned the immigration problem the girl told me nearly everyone she'd spoken to had the same experience.
    Maybe you're lucky.

    12:00 pm  

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