Synchronicity: arriving in a foreign city at the time of a disaster

Erawan  Shrine bombing in Bangkok  1 year ago

 Erawan bombing

TV image of the bombing disaster at Erawan Shrine

I arrived in Bangkok just 30 minutes before the horrific bombing took place at Erawan, one of my favorite holy shrines which I visit as often as possible, on a Monday evening one year ago. I probably sat on that particular bench a number of times where the bomber took off his backpack which caused the implosion. This place had such a strong spiritual energy. The mere thought of the disaster sent chills through my body during the hot night.

Erawan shrine
Erawan shrine: a holy place for prayers

The sound of the implosion shook the car as I was arriving into the Central Business District in Bangkok  from the airport. What had happened? The sky looked particular somber that night.  After checking into my hotel room my TV showed the disaster that had happened when someone, I believe still unidentified even after one year, imploded the holy site.  Quite terrifying when you find yourself  alone in a foreign city where you do not understand the language.  Everyone I met were extremely supportive, although shocked and horrified.  I was going to visit our office in Bangkok the following 2 days and so many colleagues were checking into each other via WhatsApp. This is such a great tool when you are traveling.  Everyone were rattled in disbelief that anyone could cause such a horrible disaster at a holy shrine visited by thousands daily in prayer. Thankfully no one from our office in Bangkok were injured, although one of my American colleagues was very close, shopping for food for an office reception the following day.

Bangkok noir
Bangkok at night that night seemed very somber

I have a fascination of Bangkok by night. The massive BTS train structures, the silent lanes of cars lining up, grid locked, stop and go. How the neon lights at the CBD add that layer of mystery and reflections. It became a bit of a tense week, but the following days I felt safer seeing so many police officers at every major building or important infrastructure.

Bangkok noir
Bangkok at night near Chong Nonsi BTS station

Thankfully the second attempt at bombing the bridge at the river landing and BTS only 2 stops from my hotel near Chong Nonsi BTS (sky train) failed. It felt somber and too much of a close call, as I also frequent that area often to go along the river in a long boat. The Thai people were all wonderfully supportive and caring while the government was on high alert all week. What a horrible thought that someone would bomb sites that are so dear to all and holy, symbols of world peace.

Bangkok noir
Bangkok noir: neon signs across from  Chong Nonsi  BTS reminds me of timing and synchronicity

Written by Zia Hansen. photos by Zia Hansen