21 September 2006

Life in Bangkok...

...is remarkably normal, 48 hours after the bloodless military coup. For a while I was less informed than if I were overseas: the tv was playing old footage of the royal family. Guests at my hotel were advised not to stray too far away yesterday (Wednesday). The streets around the hotel were strangely calm. There were no stalls up at the daily street market. Some shops were open, but the mood was subdued, with none of the usual chatter and animation. Today, Thursday, life has returned to normal. In retrospect something like this now seems inevitable; there has been no parliament for seven months and the Thai Prime Minister was deeply divisive, power-hungry and corrupt. For myself, I'm very relieved it has turned out bloodless. The Thai King's carefully calibrated 'reported' endorsement of the caretaker government will no doubt help.

The BBC, desperate for something dramatic to report, had to settle for a 1 per cent fall in the value of the Thai baht - something that can happen on any perfectly normal trading day.

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