One of my definite to-do lists when I was back in Bangkok last December was to pay respect to the late King. The main reason wasn’t for the sake of myself paying the respect but to see the people and their activities around it.
Totally, it took about six hours that day to eventually get into the Grand Palace for ten minutes to pay the homage to HM’s body. Most of that time was just a wait in Sanam Luang, outside the Grand Palace. That would be enough for me to get a glimpse of the mourning environment.
Our wait started around 4pm when we got in an area big white adjacent tent that covered almost the north half of Sanam Luang. Underneath the tent, we were were assigned to sit in a section filled with white plastic chairs. That was our base until our section would be called to move in.
It took about five hours in the tent but it really wasn’t too bad. We were lucky to get a seat row next to a power outlet. The outlets were for fans to circulate the air flow in the tent and we got to charge our phones. While sitting there, roaming volunteers kept coming to offer us some food, snack, and trash disposal. Best of all, we could take off anywhere in the tent without worrying about losing our spots. So I took some strolls to see what would intrigue me.
The mood wasn’t so somber but it was certainly calm and organised. I was quite impressed with the patience of the crowd for that long wait. And even more impressed with the hospitality of the volunteers. Their services were obviously full of willingness and dedication. It could be fairly said that was once in the lifetime for everyone.