Our plane arrived early due to favourable winds, but we landed in Bangkok to less fortuitous reports the King of Thailand had passed away. Not that I’m putting any more into this than coincidence, though visits to Thailand have often coincided with events surrounding the king.

Life appeared to be proceeding as normal on the way from the airport to Phranakorn, but in retrospect, the scene may have been more subdued in the tourist areas nearer the Grand Palace (confirmed later).

A momentous time for Thailand given the King is much revered, and was the world’s longest serving monarch. Perhaps the military being in power will prove a good thing on this occasion and neutralise any tensions (though, they could possibly end up using this as a reason to post-pone announced elections)? I doubt the main opposing political groups will attempt to exploit the situation for awhile yet.

All television stations are broadcasting stories about the king and his legacy, even the English language ones, but unfortunately only in Thai.

There will be one year of mourning, but a briefer period of 30 days to begin with, though I’m learning this as I go. Not really sure what will be open or closed. Plans thrown in disarray a little (and already were by the bombings earlier in the year).

For party-goers intending to travel to Thailand, I imagine most business will be as usual, but in a more discrete manner – bars/restaurants serving alcohol in dimly lit surrounds – no live music etc. That might not necessarily be a bad thing if you’ve witnessed Khao San Road’s reincarnation from low-key backpacker destination to Chaos San Road, for example.

After checking-in to the normally staid Roof View Place and showering, I left it to the histrionic shrieks of the couple in the next room. Their life was going on as usual.

Had a meal and a beer at Numtongleaw, a small pub/restaurant in Phranakorn. Again, didn’t notice much difference to the mood, but this is not a real party scene area anyway. The pork pad sieaw was great, and a larger serving than normal, though doubt that had anything to do with royal bereavements.

Continuing on, and closer to KSR, in Soi Rambuttri an obnoxious European was giving a Thai stallholder a hard time about a dragon-fruit fruit shake, reinforcing that if Thailand sometimes changes for the worse it has a lot to do with the attitude of foreigners.

I ventured toward a shrine Thais usually attend to pay respects to the King, but it was dark and deserted. A few cops and military personnel stood around at various points.

So, I returned to the hotel where the couple next door were still going at it. Maybe they were making a movie. He seemed to be pushing the right buttons – or else she’s a sublime actor.

Will see what tomorrow brought regarding the King, the people’s mourning and the navigating of Bangkok and Thailand.

It was now 1am. I tuned the iPhone to a radio station in an attempt to drown out the sexual histrionics and drifted off.