The good news is I’m safe and I have food and a place to stay. The bad news is protesters have taken over the Suvarnabhumi International Airport and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight any time soon.
I was scheduled to leave for Manila yesterday morning. I was packed and ready to go but, uncharacteristically, decided to glance at the local newspaper as I headed out the door. The headline read “PAD shuts Suvarnabhumi.” I didn’t know what PAD stood for at the time (People’s Alliance for Democracy) and i wasn’t quite sure if that was my airport, but the secondary blurbs caught my attention “Thousands stranded as outbound flights canceled,” “Army refuses to step in to boost airport security,” “Somchai to call emergency meeting of security agencies.” I might have been half asleep when I picked up the paper, but I woke up in a hurry.
So that was yesterday at 6am in Bangkok. Updates have been few and far between.
I’m lucky to have some awesome friends and colleagues. As it turned out, I don’t have a global phone–in retrospect, not the best idea when traveling to Singapore, Bangkok and Manila (oh, and i missed the Manila leg of the work trip). But, because I was only going to be out of the country for a few days, I thought I could use calling cards and emails to stay connected with friends and family. And that’s where my support network has checked in. Everyone has been offering to help me find transportation, update my family back in PA, and otherwise giving me a lot of moral support.
For the most part, I’ve been able to remain pretty cool. Except for when I was on the phone with a travel company and the person I was speaking with told me she didn’t believe their insurance policy covered war. Needless to say, at this point I’m really not too worried about their policy on war. Hilarious.
Then news of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Reading about that conflict really made me appreciate having safety, food, and a place to stay.
I’m not sure when I’m going to get out of Bangkok but I hope it’s soon. That’s all for now.
Shawn Graham is Director of MBA Career Services at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (www.courtingyourcareer.com).