The Land of Smiles

As I prepared to make my trip to Thailand I was ready for the hot weather and relaxation. In recent weeks the country of Thailand has been overwhelmed with protests by the local people wanting to hold another election so they can have democracy. I honestly don’t know too much about the situation but it was quite a view once I actually made my way down to the main protest area in Siam Square, Bangkok. I was off to locate one of the electronics market near the Siam Square and I quickly realized that everything was closed. As I walked closer to the electronics market I began to see people wearing red shirts. It was like no sight that I have never seen before. The weather was a grueling 96 degrees and these people were camped out on the sidewalk. I know in the evening time is when the full protest begin. I figured since it was only 2pm, I would be ok. It looked like they were there for hours. Everyone was wearing a red shirt and had a hand noisemaker. I figured that I could make the most out of this situation by snapping some quick photos and be on my way. This area was occupied by “Red Shirts.” I didn’t see a foreigner in sight. I decided to take my camera out slowly and stand by the guard rail and started taking photos. Although the crowd was nonviolent at the time, they were very loud. Everyone was using their noisemaker and was yelling. I was in Bangkok for one full day and you really could see how the protest affected the city. Everything was closed. Many taxis refused to go near the protest zone. Bangkok’s subway system, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), was on and off with service. The day after I visited Siam square, more than 21 people were killed and hundreds were injured. I was lucky.