On the Street

The day after the coup, things were pretty calm in Khrungthep.  Traffic was light as most businesses were closed, as were banks and government agencies.  Shopping malls and cinemas were open as usual although the malls closed at 8:00, an hour or two earlier than usual.

We saw very few soldiers in the Sukhumvit/Asoke area.  In fact the only ones were a group of eight or so who were relaxing in the shade around a pool at the Asoke Condominum complex, across from the Sukhumvit Metro station.  We noticed this while eating lunch at Bitter Brown, the owner explaining that the soldiers were guarding the Metro station and were using the pool area for breaks.  The dark-skinned skinny country boys in camoflauge were sleeping on the deck chairs, pulled into the shade on this already-cool afternoon.

Police officers were conspicuously absent – there are normally one or two at every intersection but I didn’t notice any, even as we drove past the National Police headquarters on the way to Siam Square.

This is the slow reason for tourism, September being the rainiest month of the year, so there was already a low number of people out and about.  The coup provided additional incentive for people to stay indoors, although there was no sign of any danger in being out.

Martial law is in place and gatherings of more than five people is not allowed, meaning that you have to choose your dinner guests more carefully.  We met Tod for dinner at T42, so were only three and were okay.

Me and You Before dinner, we watched “You and Me and Everyone We Know,” Miranda July’s unique take on relationships and connection in a very disconnected world.  (Roger Ebert’s review here)

The story centers on two characters: a divorced shoe salesman with a teenage and pre-teen son, and an eccentric performance artist who struggle to connect with each other after obvious attraction when they first meet.  A host of other interesting characters populate the movie, each playing out the different and desparate ways we seek out connection in this age of chat-room dating.

The film won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, and at Cannes won the Camera d’Or as best first film, and the Critics’ Week grand prize.  It is really a beautiful and lyrical film, and captures characters so realistically and so unlike many – especially American-made – films.


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