my triumphant return to the workplace was not nearly as bad as i had anticipated (it never is when you have great supervisors) and although my plate will be full, i am a linchpin in the workings of our department now and it feels good to be valued and appreciated. but not so good to be needed when you are gone...
and it seems that i left bangkok at just the right time. after leaving hanoi, i had a day to kill in bangkok and i was initally really excited about visiting some of my favourite shopping districts and wandering the crowded streets of one of my favourite cities.
instead, i had to avoid some of the best spots in bangkok and headed to the area where my favourite silver bracelets are sold (more than a few to me or my friends on my behalf!), but even in the areas further away from the red shirt protests, about every fourth shop was closed and the people i spoke to said that with the closure of public transit systems and the drop in movements of all kinds of people, businesses were suffering and the economy had gradually slowed down over the past two months.
i was tempted to check out the main red shirt protest site outside of siam paragon, but read the english daily and found out that foreigners had been shot in the chaos that had emerged this past week. often, no one knew who was shooting and what their targets were, so it was easy to get caught in crossfire. in fact, a former calgarian was shot yesterday. i decided i liked all my bits too much to risk them for a voyeuristic impulse and instead went for a manicure and pedicure and then met a friend for a delicious dinner in a suburban neighbourhood.
it makes me sad to see such a vibrant city so quiet and to hear the concerns of the taxis drivers and shop owners that i chatted with during my one day in bangkok. i still don't fully understand the ins and outs of the political situation, but i don't believe that this protest has been in the interests of thai people and it will have done more harm than good when the government regains control of the city.
i just hope that that is soon.