Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bangkok on New Year's Eve Day

Bangkok is infamous (that's IN-famous--you know, more than famous) for its traffic, something I blogged about in November.  With that knowledge as a baseline, this morning's commute was bizarre.

I caught the late shuttle this morning, which past experience has shown requires anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes to make the run to the Embassy.  Just for comparison, the two earlier shuttles, which leave 15 and 30 minutes earlier, need only about 30 minutes.  This morning the late shuttle got to the Embassy in 25 minutes.  TWENTY FIVE minutes.  I barely even had time for my customary morning nap.

The 7-Eleven in the building next to the Embassy was closed, so I had to walk an entire block down the street to find the next 7-Eleven so I could get milk for my cereal.  Fortunately that one was open, because I wasn't sure I'd make it another block or so if that one was closed.  For those of you not catching the sarcasm here, 7-Elevens are ubiquitous (that's UB-iquitous--you know, more that iquitous).  The streets were so deserted that I just walked right across the street to the 7-Eleven.  Got my milk and walked right back across.  Most days trying to cross the street near the Embassy is, quite literally, risking your life.  I generally prefer the pedestrian bridges, they are much safer.  And a lot of them have poinsettas on them for the holidays, so they look pretty this time of year.

How deserted was it?  Let's just say that at any minute I expected to turn around and see Tuco, Angel Eyes, and Blondie in their classic Mexican standoff while a tumbleweed rolled across the street and the theme song from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly sounded in the distance.  Ooey-ooey-oooooh.  Wah-wah-waaaaaah.

Tonight is going to be a diiferent story, however.  An estimated one hundred thousand people are expected to show up at Central World Plaza in downtown Bangkok.  I ain't gonna be one of them.  Ooey-ooey-oooooh.  Wah-wah-waaaaaah.

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