Friday, January 30, 2009

The Bridge

In our quest for completion, our desire to be somewhere else we think we want to be, we sometimes forget about the current time, place, and situation.  Much of our life is spent in a transitional state; we spend a lot of time doing what we need to do to get to the next level, phase, or goal.  But, if we stop and think about the "here and now", we might realize that we have already arrived at the right location.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Out of your Gourd

All I wanted to know from the taxi driver was what the gourd represented and why he had one hanging from his rearview mirror. But, the cabby was reluctant to explain, so, when I arrived back home, I did a little research and discovered that gourds are Buddhist symbols of longevity and they're supposed to ward off evil spirits. They're are also a Daoist symbol associated with Li Tie-guay, one of the Eight Immortals, and represents the power to free his soul from his body. Apparently, being "out of your gourd" not only means you're out of your mind, it also means you're having an out of body experience.               

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mr. Money Bags

If you're a Bangkok taxi driver and you're wishing for money, there are multiple superstitious activities that are supposed to bring prosperity.  I've mentioned some of the "get rich quick" schemes before, but today I discovered yet another way to pray for cold hard cash.  The driver had placed coins inside six bags printed with lucky Thai, Chinese, and Khmer script as a way to multiply his profits.  I asked the cabby if the number of bags had any significance, and he told me that each bag represents one million baht.  He added that he would be satisfied if he had six million in the bank.  I suggested he hang up a few more bags.  After all, the cost of living is going up.           

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Still Life in Moving Bus

As I was standing and waiting for a taxi, the big blue non-air con bus #124 pulled up with my destination as big as life printed on the side of the bus.  I decided to hop on for a mere eight baht, as opposed to the one-hundred and fifty baht it would cost for a taxi.  To my delight, the bus was decked out with a shimmering banner wishing passengers, "Sawatdee Bee Mai" (Happy New Year!), along with wreaths of yellow carnations, a picture of the King, decorative and registration stickers on the windshield, and tinkly wind chimes.  As the ceiling fans whirred and as Luk Thung music blared, I thought to myself, I should be taking this bus home everyday.  

But, after forty-five minutes, we suddenly made a U-turn which seemed very strange. I decided to ask the driver what was going on, and he told me he wasn't proceeding today because I was the only passenger en route to that place. I was very annoyed, to say the least, but I jumped out and got into a cab to go the rest of the way. I guess I'm just destined to take taxis.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Monk Drawings II

In the past, I've written about sacred drawings that Buddhist monks make in businesses and cabs, but the drawings on the ceiling of this taxi have to be the most elaborate I've seen.  Most of the ceiling is covered in white dots and swirl patterns. If the drawings are intended to protect the car, the driver, and the passengers from harm, then this must be the safest taxi in Bangkok.