Bangkok | Outside the Gates of the Royal Cremation

We were all stuck along the sidewalks and roads, jammed into cafes and buses. Some fell asleep waiting. Others watched on their phones. Everything was happening a mere two blocks away, but it may as well have been miles. The royal funeral procession and cremation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej had been in its planning stages for over a year, since his death in October 2016. And with the country in mourning for just as long, I never expected the day, when it finally came, to go any differently. And so we waited together and apart for nothing really. Distant canons and a plume of smoke seen over the rooftops. Blockades and volunteers tasked with little more than saying you can’t go there or you can’t stay here. The crowds prayed and burned sandalwood flowers at temples nearby as the sun beat down and others passed out from heat exhaustion. All for a hopeful glimpse that would never really come. The procession was long and glitzy and beautiful but I didn’t see a single bit of it save for on the various screens they’d set up around the city. Which was just as well. I’ve always preferred to be on the sidelines of history. So here are some photos from the sidelines.

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