The Iraq War from Bangkok
March 2003©Nigel Spiers

OK now what have we got on this TV in my hotel room – ahhh 17 channels:

CNN – split screen coverage of the Iraq war. Half the screen is given over to a dun coloured picture of the desert with LIVE plastered over it. A well dressed person in the other half is talking very slowly and repetitively. This is obviously a special broadcast for the mentally retarded.

Bloomberg – ditto. Boy they sure look after their mentally impaired folks in the US.

BBC2 – Full screen coverage interspersed with interviews with troops and commanders on the ground regarding strategy. In-depth discussion with notable war analysts and historians providing a balanced view of progress and likely outcomes.

CFI (France) – Endless footage of anti-war protesters, rallies and marches throughout Europe.

DW (Germany) – ditto

Thai channels – Endless stream of game shows and still pictures of the king and queen of Thailand.

Act One – Ted Turner (CNN) and George W. meet to discuss the war

"Good of you to see me at such short notice Ted"

"Yeh, yeh look I’m a busy man George – let’s cut to the chase here"

"What’s on your mind Ted?"

"It’s this war business in Iraq George – I’m really worried"

"Hey Ted don’t worry we are really kicking butt big time over there"

"No no God damn it George. The ratings are falling, that idiot Letterman wants to know why he’s been bumped for a picture of sand and I’ve got a new series of The Nanny starting Monday."

"Wow a new Nanny series ha – she’s one hot gal eh Ted?"

Ted stands and opens the door for George W. to leave

"Bottom line George – you’ve got one week to wrap up this Iraq shit"

"OK Ted I, I, I’ll have a talk to the boys and see what we can we.........."

CRASH! - Ted slams door

The next morning during breakfast I look up to find a Thai waitress stroking my shirt sleeve. “Velly bootiful, velly bootiful” she croons.
"Oh this old thing" I blurt out and the moment is lost.

Personal space is unknown in Thailand. Yesterday we finished our last meeting around six in the evening and walked outside to find a Taxi. As we stood on the pavement a solid sheet of tropical rain fell. It was instant and just like swimming standing up.
We found shelter under a street vendor’s umbrella along with the street vendor, his extended family and 20 other stranded souls. After about 10 minutes the locals began to accept the Ferangs (foreigners) and talked to us in Thai so we talked back to them in English. After half an hour I noticed that one of them was leaning on me and 20 minutes later another had their arm entwined with mine.

We never did get a Taxi, finally gave up and sloshed into a bar. I don’t remember when the rain stopped or how we got back to the Hotel.

Sawadee Kap

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