Photos: Hiding from Snipers

17 comments

View down Ratchaprarop Road, towards the fighting

Picture 2 of 8

Small signs on the razor wire warned that this was a rubber bullet firing zone. About two hours later, a soldier replaced the signs with one that said "No Entry. Live Firing Zone". It was about that time that I decided to head home.

Okay, I’ll admit it: curiosity got the better of common sense. I’d planned on staying in the quiet Banglamphoo district and avoiding the ongoing fighting between the army and protesters. And I successfully did so for a full two hours, then gave in and headed downtown.

I ended up at a corner of Ratchaprarop Road, about a quarter-mile away from the Ratchaprarop-DinDaeng intersection where heavy fighting had continued since the previous day. As I walked up the street, I noticed that a large number of Thais were gathered on a side street and peering carefully around the corner. As I joined them, a young woman said “sniper”, pointed down the street, and made a slitting gesture across her throat.

I looked down and saw a fresh bullet hole in the curb at my feet. Then I looked to my right and realized I was standing next to a young red shirt supporter who was wearing a black ski mask and taking photos. I quickly decided that this might not be the best spot to hang out and moved to the other side of the street, where I spent a few hours listening to distant gunfire and talking to people about what had occurred there in the last 24 hours.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Gillespie May 15, 2010 at 11:23 pm

That is unbelievable. What adds to the surreal nature of this photo, is the giant eye seemingly peering around the corner as well.

Reply

wes May 16, 2010 at 7:45 am

yeah, I like the eye sign as well. I noticed it while I was there but didn’t really think about it…

Reply

Lily May 16, 2010 at 2:19 am

Er … ok, tempting tho it may be to get close to the action, dont put yourself at risk of getting hurt or worse. Good story vs tragic end to your long planned and hard earned trip. Would you hide round the corner from a sniper in any other place in the world, do you have a false sense of safety because the lovely Thai people are so peaceful usually? Sorry, its maybe not my place to say this but please take care and be safe eg. get back from the action!

Reply

wes May 16, 2010 at 7:48 am

well said, Lily. I never felt that I was in danger and made sure I had a clear path to retreat if something did happen. I have a flight to Cambodia today, so my thrill-seeking days are over.

Strange to think of Cambodia, the land of Khmer Rouge and landmines, as being a safer place…

Reply

Kirsty - No Place To Be May 16, 2010 at 3:06 am

These pictures are really interesting. I think curiousity would also get the better of me!
I definately like your observation to stay away from the press!
.-= Kirsty – No Place To Be´s last blog ..Random Traveller #6 =-.

Reply

Mike at Irie Bean May 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

As I found out in Vietnam years ago, reconnaisance by exposure is not a very good idea. Because this is not really surreal at all, but all too too REAL. Curiosity is a terrible habit sometimes…Good Luck Buddy. It is your call…

Reply

wes May 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

Thanks, Mike. I kept my head low and am moving on now…

Reply

Casa De Dripping Springs May 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm

amazing – once in a lifetime experience (hopefully). Good to see you getting out to Cambodia!

Reply

TR May 18, 2010 at 12:24 am

I would say keep your head down, but that would mean your butt’s up and it’s the bigger target . . . Lol. Seriously, though, be safe, bro.

Reply

wes May 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

too true, alas…

Reply

Anil May 18, 2010 at 12:41 am

Be careful but not scared ;) Great picture btw.

Reply

wes May 18, 2010 at 8:46 am

Thanks, Anil — appreciate it.

Reply

leon May 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm

well I’m glad the trip is turning out to be more than visiting temples, drinking beer and sampling the local delicacies. very exciting indeed. way to get out there and live like a local. enjoy your time in cambodia. keep the images coming.

Reply

Nomadic Chick May 19, 2010 at 10:27 am

Late to the massacre again, but what stunning photos Wes. You could have sold those to a news agency.
.-= Nomadic Chick´s last blog ..How To: Get Rid of Paper =-.

Reply

Jen May 25, 2010 at 4:57 am

Wow, man, wow. We’re planning a trip to Thailand and even with everything going on, I still want to go. I guess it is curiosity. We’ll see.

Great photo. Watch out for them snipers. Might I suggest a bullet proof vest and…a helmet?

Reply

livecas April 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Johny your such an winner! I just appreciate your efforts for taking this picture though you your new in that place. Nice photographs!
livecas recently posted..Live Dealer Casinos ExperiencingMy Profile

Reply

Mo Draj May 9, 2013 at 6:32 am

Wes, you are crazy lol :D
Love it though! Will done on surviving!

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge