Thai Days: The Khao San Road Bombing That Wasn’t


Hugh Paxton’s Blog recommends the Khao San Road to any visitor to Bangkok. It has no architectural merit (in my opinion) but it’s full of life and different people. Backpackers with new backpacks and one stamp in their passports sit in cafes trying to look professional and world weary and are happily looking at menus that are in English.

Tough “gap year” guys who have been on the road for three or four days look relaxed and superior but have run out of money and are wondering how to explain it to their parents.

While they try and solve this tricky conundrum (“Hi, Mum, I went to Pat Pong and was mugged by a transvestite who I took to the Hilton and…umm”) they swig foul local whisky and watch a bootleg movie that has yet to reach any movie theatre in the city.

People sell things. Tailors fix you up with a silk suit. Travel agents can fly you anywhere or stick you in a boat to an island. Rubies. Emeralds. Silk. The latest novelty from China (life expectancy one or two hours). Food is cooking. Smells are smelling! Breakfast time? Banana pancake city! Hopeful, happy faces. Young and old.

I like this road. I like the way I can sit in a fish and chip shop with my daughter and while she fools around by a pond with a stone elephant fountain hearing a rude English voice saying:

“This fish is cold! I’m not eating it!”

“Sorry sir.”

Then asking my daughter:

“Can you see that pompous arse? What a git!”

“It’s my deputy headmaster.”

Yes, that’s the Khao San road. A place where the world mingles; Danes, Chinese, Brits, Yanks, Kiwis, Aussies, Koreans, Nigerians (watch those, they’re not here on holiday) Thais, rich men, poor men, beggarmen and…oh no! Jews!

It’s those Jews again!

Somewhere in the vicinity is a synagogue (for security reasons I won’t tell you where it is on Rambutri Rd) and there is a Jewish restaurant that only accepts Jews.

Fair enough.

If they don’t want anybody else eating squashed peas and horrid sweet kosher pickles with dill it’s fine by me. But if I had a restaurant that had a sign saying “No Jews” I think it might arouse discussion. CNN might even bother to turn up.

It was the Jews who attracted the attention of the Islamic militants and it was the Jews who saved the day.

The Islamists planned (as usual) to blow things up. These guys need anger management therapy. Why don’t they send butterfly bombs? Large balloons that pop and release butterflies? Just an idea! Back to the plot!

Target: The Khao San Road. A Bali bomb thing. During the Song Kran Thai water festival (which coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover), when the road is full, and I mean FULL of people having fun.

Mossad, bless them, were ahead of the game and the Thai cops, bless them, were swift.

Two sad and religiously demented men came to Thailand hoping to go to heaven. Their planned ticket to paradise was killing lots of people in Khao San Road during the water festival.

They have failed to get their virgins and gardens. And paradise might await, but it will take time.

They are in the Thai penal process. That takes a lot of time.

And it’s hell.

Khao San road? The games go on. The fun. The meetings, the arrivals, departures, the banana pancakes, the cheap hotels, the phone calls to Mummy saying “Please could you send me three hundred pounds because…umm…”, the colour and life.

The rather pathetic thing about this bomb plot is that nobody noticed it and that two men have ruined themselves.

The men, for the record, were one: a Lebanese-French national and two: a Lebanese-Filipino national. I won’t waste your time or mine with their names. Like their owners, their names are worthless.

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