The four Aussies headed off to the Australian Embassy in Bangkok to cast our votes. There was an air of optimism and festiveness to the occasion. Getting into the embassy building was high security. We had to hand over our bags and were only allowed to take our passports and wallets into the building. We were also told to “spread ’em” while we were scanned with a weapon detector. After going through several layers of security, we finally made it inside to the voting area. There was none of the usual hustle and bustle of party representatives handing out how to vote cards and negotiating last minute with undecided voters. Instead, there was a lonely Greens supporter (bless him!) handing out how to vote Greens flyers. I was ridiculously overjoyed to be in a room surrounded by Aussies, and enjoyed chatting with embassy staff about the election. We asked one of the embassy staff where we might be able to watch the election coverage that evening. She laughed apologetically and said she had no idea, there wasn’t that much interest or support for the election in Bangkok – apparently even their proposal for a traditional Aussie sausage sizzle had been rejected! That’s just un-Australian! We asked the Greens guy on the way out and he suggested The Australian Bar and Grill – normally it only showed sport, but he thought we might be able to convince them to at least put one TV onto the Australia network.
As we left the embassy we wanted to take a photo, but the security staff would not let us take a photo that actually showed inside the embassy compound, so we had to settle for the sign next to the entrance gate!
Later that day we arrived at the Australian Bar and Grill and negotiated to have the election coverage put onto the TV right next to our booth. They even turned the sound up for us (although at times it was hard to hear over the music)!
In a fit of patriotism, I ordered the vegemite chip sandwich!
As the evening progressed, the election results were more and more depressing and the patrons in the bar became equally so. In the booth next to us were two of the worst specimens of gross Australian sex tourists with their Thai ‘girlfriends’. It was sickening listening to them, particularly as they became drunker and progressively more offensive towards the girls, who either didn’t understand or were prepared to accept that kind of behaviour for the chance of a decent income.
In the ladies restroom, there were signs on the toilet doors – they really needed to be in Thai.
Sigh… some days it’s hard to stay proud to be Australian…