A late afternoon in Bangkok’s main ba ckpacker draw Khao San Road, everything looks quite normal. Street vendors are selling kebab, fried rice and pancakes as usual. The backpacker crowd is offered suits, massages and cold beer – as always.
But still Khao San seems a bit more silent than usual, the loud speakers are a bit more quite and a few shops in the side streets are closed.
This Thursday afternoon on 21th May is special. Just the day before Bangkok was put on fire when the leaders of the Red Shirt movement surrendered to the police. The capital of Thailand was in a state of total anarchy for several hours, and the government imposed a curfew from 8 pm to 6 pm.
Thursday everything seems a bit more quiet, but still there are shootings and a strong military presence in some areas. And the curfew is extended for three more days.
Two Swedish girls enjoying the sun and some shopping this afternoon are Johanne Andersson, 21 and Elina Feurst, 21. They arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday from Vietnam and soon realised something was wrong:
“We arrived at the airport around eight o’clock and then when the taxi dropped us at the end of Khao San Road we saw that the whole street was completely empty,” says Elina. Johanne continues: “And then when we were at the front door, there was a sign saying that everyone should stay inside after 8 pm.”
The young Swedes have received several calls from friends and family in Sweden telling them to leave the city, but Thursday they decided to stay for four nights:
“We know that we can’t go everywhere but in this area it fells very safe, so we decided to stay,” says Elina.
The girls spent Thursday shopping and chilling in the area around Khao San Road, but one of their plans for the next couple of days is to go on a boat trip around Bangkok, which they have been told should be safe.
And Thursday night the girls will enjoy a relaxing evening at their hostel, thinking about the current political situation in Thailand:
Johanne says: “It’s so weird that we are happy tourists here and just some minutes away people are dying in the streets.”