Each journey to MKT involves driving through three police checks (usually no problem at all) and one army checkpoint, with at a least a couple of Thai soldiers dressed in full uniform, automatic weapons at the ready. The road is dug up so you have to slow down. We open the windows so they can see inside. There are wooden barriers across the road, which you have to drive around. The poles are painted red and white and there are two messages written in English as well as Thai. One says, “May we apologize for any inconveniece” (sic) and the other says, “Thank you for your patient”. Now we rarely carry patients in the vehicle, so I guess they mean patience. When I can unobtrusively take a photo of these signs, I will add to this post.
The guards are not intimidating, like other army roadblocks I have experienced in Africa, with drunken soldiers demanding bribes. However, a few years ago, there used to be a machine gun trained on the driver. Dr Cindy made a formal complaint, and they agreed to point their gun somewhere else.