Deadly Riots, Tropical Paradise, and One Very Dingy City

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 05/24/10 •  7 min read

To say the last few weeks have been interesting would be one hell of an understatement.

I’d like to first off apologize for the lack of relevant updates over the last couple weeks, as my life has been thrown into a bit of upheaval due to a variety of things.  However, I’m going to try and recap as best I can, and then get us back to the regularly scheduled programming here in the next few days.

So where to begin, ah, well how about the bullets whizzing by my ear about a week and a half ago.  Seems to be as good a place as any.  As most of you know, Thailand has been experiencing a bit of civil unrest due to the Red Shirt protests over the last few months.  Well things finally came to a breaking point as the Thai government set deadlines that the protesters failed to acknowledge.  Essentially the Red Shirts decided to take to the streets, and all of the fears that we’d hoped to avoid were realized.

Soliders on my soi

Soliders on my soi

What this led to was an expansion out of the protest zone which was largely headquartered in the commercial center of the city, out to a few other strategic areas.  Unfortunately for me, this included the intersection one block from my house.

I left my building to head out to lunch and a legion of soldiers were marching out to the main street near my apartment.  Didnt think much of it – or the five gunshots that were fired a minute later.  I came back and was curious as the streets started to get a little more rushed and panicked – I head out to find the main street closed off and a steadily growing mob of protesters beginning to, um, how do I say this…piss off the soldiers.  As my buddy Cody and I began to walk back home we hear shots fired in our direction and we dove behind a pickup truck faster than Usain Bolt on speed.

Note: I have no idea if these were actually fired in our direction.  They probably weren’t, but it was certainly a radical departure from a friendly game of paintball.

We were able to safely get out of harms way – but unfortunately, this was only the beginning.  Within the next few days I saw vehicles blown up, fell asleep to constant gunfire and explosions, and saw numerous photos of dead bodies that were taken three blocks away.

The “Land of Smiles” had turned into a cross between Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto.

Imagine this happening in your front yard. (Courtesy of The Big Picture)

Imagine this happening in your front yard. (Courtesy of The Big Picture)

It would be two days later that I was finally able to get out of my neighborhood and head across town to a less volatile place.  I had no idea that  even now, 10 days later, I still wouldn’t have had the chance to return to my apartment.

The week wore on, I stayed with my buddies Derek and Clay who graciously allowed me to stay with them in their new apartment.  We all hung out, and spent a ton of time at Third Place trying to get some work done; largely trying to ignore the ever worsening situation outside.

Then came Wednesday.

The army finally initiated the crackdown they had threatened for a month and moved into the Red’s encampment.  Hardliner’s were not happy about it, and grew livid upon hearing that their leaders were declaring an end to the protest.

End to the protest, that’s good news right?  Not so much.  The next 24 hours were complete chaos, leading to an 8pm curfew across town.  This was for good reason as the entire city is now in ruins.  Some of the biggest malls in the city were completely destroyed.  There was also damage to the stock exchange, local news station, and city hall.  It was at about 4pm I decided maybe I should head out of town – after all, I had no idea when I would get the chance again once the curfew was put in place – that and I had to leave within the week for visa reasons anyway.

Ok, well where can I go?  Hong Kong? Singapore? Phuket?  How about Manila?

Called up my buddy Dan, said I was thinking of hopping on a plane, and next thing I know its 4am and he is picking me up from the airport. At least now I can also cross #74 off my bucket list – although I certainly didn’t expect it to be due to circumstances like these.

Turned out to be the best move I could make.  The next day I was in our company’s new office and working face to face with the team of people I spend hours talking to everyday.  To get to meet these guys in person was something I’d really been hoping for, but wasn’t sure I would ever be able to pull off.

The weekend came and Dan and I headed down to Puerto Galera to scope out the scene for the Tropical MBA Second Semester (more about that to come).  All I have to say is whoever gets chosen is going to be one lucky guy or girl.  Beautiful scenery, cheap beer, and lots of peace and quiet.  What more could you want?


Beach in Puerto Galera

The office for the second semester

The office for the second semester

Puerto Galera Beach #2

Puerto Galera Beach #2

Not to mention ever since I got here all Dan and I have been doing is kicking around business ideas and strategies, and thinking about how we are going to make our businesses blow up even more than they already are.  There is something to be said for being able to sit back and drink beer with coworkers in person.

And that brings us to today – Monday.  I’m currently sitting on the 33rd floor of Dan’s condo building in Manila with a huge panoramic view of the skyline to keep me company.  I spent all day in our office (call center) working with the team and getting ready to implement some seriously cool business strategies.

Yep, for as crazy as things were just one week ago, I’ve finally settled in and will be getting work done from here for the next few weeks.

There it is, thats my life in a nutshell.

But, that said, I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to get moving on in terms of Location 180.  Now that I’ve got a decent upload connection – expect more videos.  Also expect some of your questions answered that you’ve been leaving in the comments and in emails.  I’m stoked to finally be in a comfortable place again where I can really focus and bust out some high level stuff.

For some further insight into the projects I’ve got going on, and your chance to really help me out with one of them, sign up for my mailing list (over in the sidebar).  Wednesday I will be sending out the first ever Location 180 newsletter, so you better get on it now!

So anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing.  What have you been up to?

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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30 comments on "Deadly Riots, Tropical Paradise, and One Very Dingy City"

  1. Alan says:

    Heck of an update, Sean. Glad to hear you’re doing well and made it out safely. I’m a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason, as messed up as things get sometimes. Looking forward to hearing about what you and Dan-tha-man have been up to!


  2. Dan says:

    Manila is cooler already.

  3. Matt says:

    What an incredible update Sean. Looking forward to reading more from you in the coming weeks. I haven’t been up to anything nearly as exciting but still plugging away on my plans.

  4. G says:

    Sean, so glad you stayed safe through all that craziness. Hope you can get back home to your apt. sometime soon!

  5. All I want to know now is when they’re coming out with a Grand Theft Auto: Bangkok Unrest?

  6. Sharon says:

    Your account was a bit more detailed and harrowing than mine, but then mine was from a mother’s perspective. You are safe. I am happy. Life’s pretty simple really.

  7. Tony Ruiz says:

    Wow, thats some intense stuff. Glad to hear you’re okay and ready to move out some of your biz plans.

  8. Nate says:

    Thanks for the update! Glad you made it through all that craziness in Bangkok ok.

    I’ll be awaiting the first location 180 newsletter 🙂

    1. Sean says:

      @Nate Thanks man, appreciate the continued support!

      @Richard Now that is what I am talking about! I had a similar experience when I woke up last week to find I had made a lot of money very unexpectedly – certainly made it easier to buy that ticket to the Philippines!

      @Tony Me too man, the business plans have been long overdue, but they are definitely moving along, so I am stoked about that.

      @Sharon Thanks mom 🙂

      @Joel Thats what I’M sayin’! Believe me, I wasn’t really joking when I made that reference.

      @G Thanks G! I thought I saw you were going to be in Manila at some point? Let me know!

      @Matt Well they are exciting plans! Will get back to you very soon, we have a lot to catch up on.

      @Dan Umm, yeah.

      @Alan Thanks Alan! Definitely been up to some exciting stuff to say the least.

  9. floreta says:

    beautiful photography! I should go there when I get the chance. Now we’re in the same country!

  10. Lou says:

    Glad to hear you’re safe. Enjoy your time in Manila. It’s beautiful.

    Life should be a series of adventures. It sounds like you’ve just transitioned from one to another. Good for you. Enjoy!

  11. Nomadic Matt says:

    tough life…working from a beach! 🙂

  12. Amor says:

    It’s going to be really hot in Manila. Trust me, I live there. But enjoy the city, it’s bound to give you lots of adventures! Let me know if you need any recommendations 🙂

  13. Sean, been wondering how you’ve been getting on. Life on the front line, wow, you couldn’t make it up. Glad to hear you’ve got to the beach and some cool beers. Also glad to hear you keep work to the forefront, wouldn’t like a revolution to put you off your stride. Have fun and have one on me.

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