Its been three days since I arrived in the land of smiles and three days under Junta rule. If you ask me, as a Bangkok resident, "are you better off today than you were a year ago?", I would say 'yes'. The calm and peacefulness is so striking that its kind of eerie. All my Thai friends seem to be relieved and they now can go back and concentrate on making money and living their lives normally again. And aside from one broadcast tonight during dinner time, there is no disruption of TV cable service. And aside from one police 'checkpoint' where they normally shake down the motorbikes for helmets, expired registrations, etc. there was little else in terms of a military or police presence. Life is good, life is grand in the big mango.
Its actually a very good time to visit Thailand. If you are not a politician or media person looking for a story, you will find no crowds, a weaker baht, and vendors willing to make a deal. With the lifting of the curfew in Pattaya, the nightlife there will be resuming and I am sure there will be bargain rates for those than choose to partake in its charms.
Amazing Thailand is still amazing. The people and places of a country make up your experience when you travel and not the government. The government can make things difficult for you to roam freely, but that has not been the case here. Don't do stupid things and stay away from demonstrations (which are falling by the wayside - 100 people for a demonstration - give me a break - there was more press than demonstrators). The food is still the same and if you come now, Mangosteen and Lychee are in season!
In a couple of days I will be heading up to the country to attend a celebration of B's cousins going into the Monk hood. To Thais, this is a revered tradition for males, after which, they are ready to take on the responsibilities of manhood. They may stay only a couple of weeks in the Wat, but its a tradition that the parents plan and save all their money for. I'll have a photoshow of the celebration when I get back.