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Cobra Gold manoeuvers in Central Dept Store

Cobra Gold military exercises kicked off earlier this month in Chiang Mai and since then it’s been tricky getting a seat in Central Huay Keow, (a department store for those not familiar), food hall. US, (mostly), S. Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Singaporean soldiers seem to be tucking into the 25 baht noodle soup and crispy pork on rice with gusto yet KFC and Pizza Hut are almost empty – and Thai soldiers were strangely absent.

This leads to some obvious questions: 1. don’t they feed these guys? 2. don’t they pay them? 3. what’s the point of wearing camouflage gear in Central and 4. don’t they have any manoeuvers to go to? (and 5. what’s the UK English spelling of maneuvers cos I don’t trust my spell checker?)

Funnily enough we did see a couple of Indonesian troopers in the Western Union section of BKK Bank – they were trying to blend into the pot plants but we spotted them anyway – so either they had just been paid and their better halves in Jakarta were making demands or they’d run out money and were wiring mum!

Over a Kao Soy in the Lanna Foodmarket Corporal Whatshisname from Sth Carolina informed us they were involved in war-games on the top floor of CentralĀ  – that’s where the cineplex and bowling is by the way. But shouldn’t they be out getting some fresh air? Don’t they have a bush to hide behind? Are they going to accidentally fly their F16s over Preah Vihear again? Will next year’s Cobra Gold camouflage involve Doreamon or Hello Kitty? So many questions!

Anyway we don’t have any photos of Thai or US soldiers so we’ll post this one below instead though it does need to be pointed out that the Khmers weren’t actually invited!

Khmer soldier guarding rubbish bin at Preah Vihear
Khmer soldier guarding rubbish bin at Preah Vihear