After school on Friday, I took a taxi to stock up on some supplies. The driver was one I know well and trust. As we drove off from school I experienced a moment of panic. About a mile from the school, on a main road I saw many cars and lots of people. A large group suddenly ran across the road. It took me a second to realize it wasn't a mob but a group of parents taking their children from the government school. Clearly, the information we'd been given that all schools were closed was incorrect.
We went first to the outdoor Chinese market. It was business as usual. One lady pointed at me and said "Laday", which means beautiful. I gave the symbol for "no" and pointed at myself, then pointed at her and said "Laday". All the vendors nearby laughed and kept pointing at me, saying "Laday". That never happens at Publix.
Our next stop was to be Ocean, the grocery store, to buy flour. I'm baking cookies with the kids next week and needed supplies. But as we approached, it was clear that things were not normal. There were groups of employees standing on the sidewalk, other people milling about. My driver, having been on his cellphone, informed me that every thing was closed.
We drove off, toward the school and it was eerie. Men stood around. Women seemed intent on getting away and I saw a few women walking quickly down the street, sobbing. There was clearly tension in the air.
We stopped at a small store near the other outdoor market and I was able to buy flour. $3 for about 20 lbs. There, the mood was calm and everyone seemed comfortable.
When I got back to school, the principal was talking with a group of teachers at our apartment building. He'd gotten a call from a staff member who lives near the Muslim area. She told him that they'd just had the funeral for the Buddhist man who'd been killed on Tuesday night. They'd paraded his body through the streets, which had increased emotions and tensions. That is why the owners of Diamond Plaza/Ocean and other stores in the are had decided to close. There were fears of increased violence.
I'm safe in the school compound. I know that traffic was very limited last night and this morning, even on the main road that I can see from my window. Internet is limited (normal) so I don't have access to news. I'm planning to stay on the compound for the weekend and anticipate no problems. I hope and pray that things calm down in the city.