18 June 2010

Lumpini Park

.
18 June: Yesterday was an all day trip for me into Bangkok. The main event was an evening meet up with my Bangkok libertarian friends, but I caught the boat in the morning for visits to theaters and bookstores and to take a city walk.
.
In mid-afternoon I took a long walk, the middle leg of which was in Lumpini Park, one main scene of the Red Shirt occupation last month. I had walked past it before but never through it, and it is more beautiful than I expected. There are many ponds as well as a lot of shade trees and pavilions.
.
I saw two monitor lizards on the shore, similar to but maybe not exactly the same species of monitor lizards we see at the house. (Tuk calls them “crocodiles” or “monsters.”) The adult was almost 6 feet long from snout to tail, and the other maybe 3 feet long. As I approached them they headed into the water and swam away.
.
My main reason for going to Lumpini, besides the exercise and exploration, was to stand in the spot where a Red Shirt protestor fired 5 grenades from an M-79 grenade launcher at the Sala Daeng Skytrain station on the night of 22 April. The attacks killed one woman bystander and wounded a number of others. The Red barricade at that time was right by the statue of King Rama VI, facing the Sala Daeng intersection. (King Rama VI had created this park in 1920 when this was the outer edge of the city.)
.
The M-79 was my main weapon in Vietnam, and I had checked out the general location of the attacks earlier, determining for sure that it was all within the M-79’s range. But now I was where the former Red barricade had been, and I could look over the ground from the perspective of the grenades’ exact trajectories going out.
.
It was a exact match to the location of the TV news video footage of the shooting – minus the barricade – where a loud “bloop” of the M-79 was heard and an explosion a few seconds later at Sala Daeng station. The idea of that weapon as such an effective urban weapon still amazes me.
.
I was soaked in sweat and very dehydrated, so I headed to an air conditioned theater to cool off. By the time I met my friends, my backpack was completely loaded down with books.
.
In our group, we are mostly Americans but also have two guys from India whose insights and wisdom are really refreshing. We learn a lot from each other, which is what friends are for. We had incredible conversations on just about every subject in the cosmos, and we didn’t leave until after 1:30am closing time. Sadly, some of the world’s problems were left unsolved.
.
Arriving home after 2:00am, the streets were quiet and cooler, and our cats were waiting up for me.
.

No comments:

Post a Comment