My daughter turned six and much celebrating ensued. We had a huge variety of school events-- costumes to create for international day, Songkran splash celebrations to partake in and, of course, birthday cupcakes to make and deliver. And, our family took an amazing beach holiday to Hua Hin, full of relaxation and intense sunshine.
But, while all of these glorious events were taking place, the UDD (also known as the Red Shirts) protests started on March 14 and have continued on, placing Bangkok in a State of Emergency. In addition to regularly marching throughout the city (peacefully and happily, appearing in a parade-like atmosphere with lots of smiling, waving and honking), the Red Shirts have occupied several protest sites at locations throughout the city. For the last week and a half, the protesters have intensified their efforts to dissolve the current government by fully occupying Ratchaprasong Avenue, at CentralWorld. This move successfully brought Bangkok's city center and main shopping district to a screeching halt.
Prior to occupying the city center, there was the much publicized blood draw and blood spilling on key sites throughout the city. Protesters drew small portions of their own blood, mixed it together and took the large containers to dump at the the gates of Government House, the Prime Minister's home and the Democrat Party headquarters. Extra blood was then used to paint large artworks depicting the struggle of Thailand's lower economic classes. In an unfortunate evening on April 10, the government attempted to clear the protesters with use of force-- resulting in much finger pointing, opposing stories of what happened during the confrontation and, sadly, 20 people dead and over 850 injured.
Which brings me to today. It's Saturday morning in Thailand. Our family of four awoke at 5:15 by one of the first big thunder storms of the season and we've enjoyed a relaxing start to our weekend. As the days go on and the protests continue, our normal life is a bit less than normal. With the exception of my husband's daily commute to his office, our family is primarily confined to our immediate neighborhood. Usual travel routes to my daughter's school are closed and I'm joining the hundreds of others trying to navigate Bangkok's main arteries that are annoyingly jam-packed and dotted with soldiers.
So, as the days go on, we will continue to stay out of harm's way. And, we will continue to celebrate the amazing aspects of life that having two young children and living in a foreign country provide. The cacophony of events continues...
Cooking in a Thailand: entry no. 83:
Quick Thai Pickles
If you're not feeling in a pickle from political distress in your city, you'll still enjoy a twist on traditional Thai pickled vegetables. Street vendors apply quick pickling techniques to a variety of vegetables and serve them alongside many different dishes. Use the recipe below and replace the cucumbers with anything from sliced cabbage to matchstick-cut carrots or cauliflower florets.
approximately 10 peppercorns
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tablespoon dried ginger
white vinegar (amount will depend on container)
small crisp cucumbers, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Boil a large pot of water. Turn off the heat. Add a clean glass jar and lid, that you will use for your pickle container, to the hot water and allow to sit for 3 minutes. Remove jar with tongs, emptied of water, and place onto a towel lined counter top. Allow jar to cool until just warm, then add the shallot, pepper flakes, and ginger. Then, pack the cucumber slices into the jar tightly. Pour vinegar over the top until the jar is full. Refrigerate for a minimum of overnight. Will keep in fridge for one month.