Update May 27, 2014 11:50pm
Last night on May 27, 2014 Me and “Paul the Toy Man” went flying quad copters at Pattaya beach as usual. At about 10:40pm as I was flying the Phantom s/n 3 I could hear in back of me the sounds that you hear from a two way radio normally carried by the police. I did a quick glanced over my shoulder and verified there was indeed a group of 3 or more dark blue colored cops the kind that carry guns (the real ones not the tourist police). I continued to fly like I didn't know they were there and acting as if I didn't know I was doing something wrong. Paul in his infinite wisdom and charm goes and talks to the cops and finds out they just stopped there to see some of our quad-copter air show. For a bit I thought I was about to have some hand cuffs put on my wrists and dragged to jail for being out past the Curfew that was supposed to be at 10:00pm. Paul even ask them when all this curfew stuff was going to be over and we hear “oh tomorrow all done”. Shortly after my battery was dead and I had to land the phantom, the group of police continued on there way down the beach to look for real criminals. So that was a relief. So with that we continued to fly till 11:50pm until we were all out of batteries and had already crashed and broken one prop on the X quad that we were testing this day. So we packed up all the gear and headed home, but before we did I went to see if the Family Mart was still open but to find it had already closed some time before 11:50pm so not sure how late they stayed open on this day.
Update May 26, 2014 11:10pm:
The coup in Thailand may not be fully over for most of Thailand, but it has started to lax now here in Pattaya on May 26 2014 at least up to 11:10pm when I was out. The most important improvement is that all the family Marts on the beach are no longer closing at 10:00pm. Starting with the the one at Soi 1 at the beach I was able to go in and buy the peanuts I wanted at 10:38pm. As I walked down the beach back to my apartment at soi 13 I noticed that all the Family Marts on the way were still operating but all the 7/11 shops are still closed at what seems to be the prescribed time of 10:00pm. By the time I got to the last Family Mart near my apartment it was 11:10pm and I was able to buy a bottle of water just to prove to myself and others that it was really open. On my walk along the beach walk I didn't see any police flashing any lights at anyone for the entire hour past curfew. The ladies were still in full force in there normal locations. The bars again many closed but some still operating in stealth mode with the lights and music off but still serving beer. So as far as I'm concerned the coup is OVER in Pattaya. I, being a beach bum, buy my beer from the Family Marts or 7/11 stores and normally go home by 11:30pm any way so at least for me it's over and things are almost back to normal here. I also took some short videos at about 10:50pm of some people exiting the Family Mart at Soi 8 and the activities still seen at the beach if you don't believe me I'll publish them for you to see for yourself.
Update May 25, 2014:
Last night I went out at 11:00pm May 24, 2014 around Pattaya central just to see if I could get some peanuts at the 7/11 store but found both the 7/11 and Family Marts near my apartment were all still closed. As I walked the block of Soi 13 to soi 12 I did note that some of the bars were dark and quiet but still had a small number people in them and they were still serving beer much like they do when we have other dry religious holidays here. I didn't see any police or military personnel any where in site on my short walk. My satellite TV service has also begun to open at least for HBO and all the movie channels and others, but all the news channels like CNN, BBC, CNBC, BMBG are still all disabled on my True satellite service here in Pattaya. Internet service has continued to work throughout the military coup and I haven't noticed any added network filters preventing access to any websites yet.
Update May 24, 2014:
At least the 7/11 stayed open about an extra hour now close at about 10:00pm instead of 9:00pm last night. We did our normal beach party thing at Mike's shopping Mall beach stage up until about 11:00pm when a police man on a motor cycle that was riding on the foot path stopped and flashed his flashlight at us and told us we had to go home. We pretended not to notice and continue to finish off the beers we still had. He gave up on us as he was probably too lazy to climb the 4 steps of the stage to make a closer apearance to our group. He then continue down the beach to harass other people instead of us as there were still many people along the beach at that time. By about 12:00am there was a few more cars and motor cycles with flashing lights so I decided maybe it was better to move down to the beach on the sand were there was less light and we wouldn't be noticed and in a worst case we could just go swimming if the police or military ever came to give us any more trouble. At about 12:45am I saw another group of police moving up the beach toward us. At that point I was getting tired anyway and thought it not worth having any problems and I also used it as an excuse to my friends that it was time for me to go. Many of our beach bum gang stayed behind and told me the next day that they had no problems when they continued to party at that location long after I had left.
Original article published 5/23/14 9:23am
I was here in Pattaya for the last coup in 2006 that seems like nothing compared to this one. In 2006 there was no curfew and things in Pattaya went along as if nothing happened. In the last coup most of the action was centered in Bangkok. Last night when we heard the news that there was going to be a 10:00pm – 5:00am curfew nation wide we thought no way that was going to be happening here in Pattaya. I said “they would have to bring in some tanks and start shooting if they expect any of the whores to go home”. So we went to fly our quad copters at pattaya beach as we had originally planed. The first thing we noticed was at 9:00pm they closed all the 7/11 stores and Family Mart stores. That has never happened before. The 7/11 stores never close 24/7 365 days a year over the last 12 years I have never seen one close. Even when we had the flood were there was a river of water 3 feet deep in the streets the 7/11 store still stayed open. So this was history in the making. But I already purchased all the beer I needed for the night as I suspected the stores might stop selling beer so we continued to fly and party as normal. A bit later the tourist police came by and told us about the curfew as it was about 9:30pm they told us everyone should go home. Big Paul says “ do you have a gun? No? So I guess we don't have to go then.” in a joking manner not to the police but to our group as we all laughed and continued to have fun. It was about 11:00pm when our group started to break up as all the batteries were dead and my aircraft had malfunctioned with another broken wire. So Big Paul went home and “Toy Man Paul” also went home a bit early to try to find a restaurant that wasn't closed. So me and Raf were left and we had to take one last scan of the beach to see if there were any bargains to be found with any girls that might need a place to stay during this turmoil. In most cases when there are problems like this there are always good opportunities that show them selves. But at that moment as we were walking past Pattaya police department suddenly a group of large green military vehicles pulled up around the police station and a group of about 20 solders fully armed with automatic weapons jumped out and ran down the street beside the police station and stood in force all around it. Wow I couldn't believe it so they are serious. So I pulled out my camera phone and shot a short video just to show that I'm not just kidding about this, it is really happening.
If that last video fails to render in this embeded video I'll add this one just in case with both videos I captured combined and compressed to 11mb:
When I saw this I said to Raf, we got to go check out Walking Street. There is no way they could shut down Walking Street in this city that never sleeps. As we walked to Walking Street we passed the Royal Garden that was completely closed down. Even the Macdonalds Restarant that is open 27/7 was closed for the first time in history.
When we got to the Walking Street entrance we found only a group of about 10 tourist police guarding it with all the streets completely barren of people. Never in my life at any time of day or night have I seen walking street without a soul on it. At this hour of 12:00am there are normally wall to wall people or at least 1 for every 2 square meters of street. As we approached the entrance to walking street one of the tourist police came forward and put out his hand and told us it was curfew and that no one could pass. I insisted that I wanted to take a photo of this for the news and that if he didn't let us pass we would have to take the shots from the air with our quad copters. I was still carrying the quad that was now broken and I just used it as an excuse in hopes to get one shot. I asked who would I have to speak to to get the shot and he pointed to someone in the group near the walking street gate. I started walking toward the group and got to the point I wanted to take the shot and started filming.
It looked like one was just about to move on me until he saw what I was trying to do. I got my shot and said that's it that's all I wanted. And with that me and Raf headed home. There were still many whores on the street and a few Indians still working them as that was the only thing left open in pattaya. We had no beer but we never run out of whores. Even with a military invasion it would take more than 30 troupes to get our girls to go home. This is just the first day so I wonder what going to happen in the next few days. When I got home I turned on the TV to find every single one of the 300+ channels of my True satellite service were ALL just a picture of some military symbols and some background music.
Wow even in the last coup they only shut down the local television stations. How did they shut down the satellite with HBO, BBC and all that turned off this time? With this I suspect at some point they might also shut down the Internet so I want to make sure I get this out before everything goes black here. I also plan to pull about 20,000 baht out of the bank or ATM as I think that might become a problem if they close the banks. I've now stock piled a 50 day supply of rice (15 kilo rice) and beans and some coffee and a few other staples like BEER (3 day supply of beer) and pulled cash from the bank to last me up to 60 days (26,000 baht) just as a security measure. As they say expect the best but prepare for the worst. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.