President Obama was in Bangkok Sunday as part of a three-day tour of Southeast Asia. The primary purpose of his visit is to attend the East Asia summit in Cambodia this week, but he is fitting in short visits to Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) as well. As coincidence would have it, I was crossing Ratchaprasong intersection on the way to lunch at Central World Plaza just as his motorcade left the Four Seasons Hotel.
The thing that struck me as most interesting is that the police put fewer restrictions on traffic (see that commuter van hanging in the middle of the intersection, waiting to turn right) for President Obama’s motorcade than they do for the motorcades of some members of certain Thai VIPs. In fact, pedestrians are usually not allowed on the bridges when those VIP motorcades pass. That said, the entire block around the Four Seasons was full of Thai and US security personnel and there were checkpoints on the road heading both directions.
My friend Doug de Weese received an invitation to the reception and dinner for President Obama held last night at Government House. These pictures are courtesy of him. Here we have the President and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra posing with the performers from the reception. Notice how the children in the front row are dressed – it took me a while to figure out what was going on.
In this picture, the President is greeting the performers. Oddly, the caucasian students are dressed as Thai farmers and the Thai students are dressed, I guess, as how Americans children are perceived to dress. The boys are dressed as punks (along with the one boy wearing a “I heart Hugs” shirt). In the pervious picture, you will see that the girls are all dressed in some vaguely 1980s Cyndi Lauper / Madonna look. Curious.
I wanted the Pres to be in a black van with 2 American flags — didn’t see that — I guess it would be too obvious ~ ~ ~ Hah! Love the little girl with the bare tummy (front row, center right)!
The crop tops and mismatched socks are an interesting choice, haha. Interesting video/ photos!
Aww… the kids are so cute. That’s a lot of cars in the motorcade. I’m glad you were in the right place at the right time (hmmmm….). I watched the election coverage till the end. J called me just as CNN was announcing that he would be re-elected. We were both quite happy & relieved.
The kids are dressed to impress, I guess! I also wonder why Four Seasons, the hotel is kind of dated? But that would be good advertisement for the Four Seasons chain, I suppose. Where would the other dignitaries stay at when they visit BKK?
@CurryPuffy – There are a limited number of hotels that can handle that level of security, I think, and the Four Seasons is pretty well-placed to get to the embassy and elsewhere as well as easy to defend.@ElusiveWords – Relieved because the chance of Canada being invaded diminished?@mizz_chan – Did the boys really have to get mohawks just because the president came to visit? Sad…@slmret – That’s an interesting outfit. A bare middrift would never be okay for Thai teens.
@christao408 – I really hope that’s not the case. It’s funny how we stereotype cultures though (even our own..).
I thought about you when I heard he was over there! that is so neat! the vice president came to our neighborhood because his press sec. was getting married and he came to the wedding just a few blocks away.Veep Joe Biden and she is one of Jim Richarson’s daughter’s a few blocks away from us. She married a fellow who is someone else’s press sec.in D.C. but I forgot who.
Great opportunity for you to have been there at that time. Thanks for the video. And the kids, they look great.
A bit of culture clash and today I heard the Burma PM speak. I was cringing at the way she spoke but still I am glad that an attempt was tried.South East Asian gets more respect. South East Asian gets more respect. I can’t say that enough and hope we will do more for Asia.
@mizz_chan – Thankfuly, children in Thai schools (well, the boys) have buzz cuts so I doubt they had hair long enough for a mohawk!@PPhilip – It is the Asian Century, right? Here’s to hoping…@ZSA_MD – Glad you enjoyed it.@Texasjillcarmel – We’ve both had brushes with the executive branch recently, then! =D
@christao408 – yes, but I didn’t see anything but the police and the road blocks-well, I guess that’s what you saw,too.
@christao408 – Yeah, the hotel is well situated and not as exposed as some buildings, such as its neighbor, the Grand Hyatt. Gosh, I’m long overdue for a visit! : P
Really enjoy the video of the motorcade. The little boy int he blue sweater and red mohawk is a cutie. great shots and Ty for sharing.
I had to visit you to see the Thai’s, not Obama. (Sorry.. ) Seeing as how I’ll not get back there in this life time..
@armnatmom – Sorry to hear you won’t be able to return!@Grannys_Place – Glad you enjoyed – thanks for the rec!
such a stereotype of american fashion. the thai people, just like everyone else in south east asia, been watching too many american 80’s and 90’s tv shows. they need an update. bad.
@rudyhou – American fashion was stuck in the 90s, it seems…