And the seas parted…
There is this regular phenomenon that happens in Bangkok. As you’re walking along a street you start noticing that there are pairs of policemen at each junction and street corners busy on their walkie talkies. This eventually leads to all the traffic mysteriously stopping and the silence is almost eerie without the noisy tuk tuk engines and buses, not to mention the hundreds of motorbikes and the cars, of course.
And it’s not just the traffic that’s stopped it’s also us on the overhead skywalks:
… leaving lonesome cops standing in the middle of empty streets normally teaming with traffic:
This usually means that someone important in a posh cream coloured mercedes limo is about to drive through together with its string of ominous black vans and motocades.
Usually it’s royalty, and hence why we are also stopped on the skywalk as out of respect we shouldn’t be standing above their heads. Just like you shouldn’t lick the back of stamps with the King’s head on it, like I almost did once infront of a very disapproving postman.
It must be a logistical nightmare to clear the streets of Bangkok to make way for Royalty, but when you’re standing there watching it all seems to be done with such amazing fluidity. Or is it?
Recently I was talking to one of my business clients who had an American exchange student with her for 3 months who happened to be best friends with one of the Thai princesses who normally lives in the USA but was in Bangkok during her summer holidays. My colleague asked me to guess how long it had taken her the other day to drive from MBK to Mochit – 10 minutes, she said. This is just unheard of. You’re lucky if it takes you less than 30 minutes.
As it turned out her exchange student kept inviting her best friend the Thai Princess everywhere, which meant that traffic had to be cleared for her each and every time, which took a lot of preparation and time with her personal body guards having to call all the different district police to clear the roads. Tiredly, after a couple of weeks of this, my colleague had to ask her exchange student to stop inviting the Princess to everything. Understandbly I’d say.