Monday, December 30, 2013

Dec 30 2013 - Bangkok (mostly) peaceful protests

Olga and I had been thinking about taking a cooking class together in San Francisco, so when we had an opportunity to take a Thai cooking class on this trip, we jumped at it! After a little research, we decided to join May Kaidee's class at her vegetarian restaurants. May and her assistants did most of the prep work, so all we had to do was throw the ingredients into a wok in the right order. At times, it seemed like May almost intentionally left out a few small directions so we wouldn't be able to compete with her :) For example, one ingredient in the Pad Thai was "prepared tofu" - how did she prepare it? May will happily explain if you ask, but you have to keep on your toes! May replaces fish and oyster sauces with her own custom mushroom sauce, this too took a little bit of explanation after I noticed it wasn't explained in the take-home cookbook she gave us. I'm mostly kidding though, we had fun in the class, and once we get home and manage to find the ingredients (do they have Kaffir Lime leaves and Galangal in California?), we'll have fun trying to recreate the recipes!

May Kaidee has a certain
je ne sais quoi about her!
Best Pad Thai I've ever had! (it's
so much better without the fish sauce!)

On our way to the class, we walked past what seemed like a big party, so we headed back in that direction to see what was going on. It turns out it was a part of the government protests in Bangkok. From what we could see, there were several locations throughout the historical region of the city that where various 'protests' were occurring. Most of the protests we saw were more like festival concerts, with musicians playing and speaking from stages, Jumbotrons everywhere, locals sitting around reading, listening, chatting, and eating... At one point, we stood at an intersection and could hear two competing protests with Chinese/Thai traditional instruments blasting from both sides.

Why go home to pick up your camo
when you can buy it at the protest
One of the protest concerts

From what we could see, protesters were enjoying themselves. We received a lot of smiles, waves, thumbs ups, and the like. There were plenty of booths and volunteers handing out water, blankets, food rations, and first aid supplies - but there were also plenty enterprising vendors selling junk food, toys, trinkets, souvenirs, and camouflage military-style clothes!

Tents, tents everywhere!
Very long queue for free chips

As we passed through one small protest at the end of the parade grounds, and while we lingered for a moment trying to get our heads around the eclectic music being sung from stage, a Thai local came over to Olga and warned us to go back to our hotel by 10pm. I thought maybe he know of a specific and credible threat, Olga thought they were just looking out for naive tourists. I don't know if this is related, but there was a shooting at one of the protest that night according to this article.


Karen the 1st said...

Love the cooking caps! May saved the pretty pink one for herself though. She's shifty that May. :) Dave, in S.F. you'd probably have to wear a hairnet on your gotee. Good you took the cooking class there in Thailand.

Karen Wilson said...

You guys look so cute in your cooking outfits!