Monday, December 28, 2009

Cute Taxi

In Thailand, we have an affinity for cuteness. It's common to see middle-aged ladies carrying Hello Kitty handbags and it's normal to see twenty-five year old guys wearing Mickey Mouse t-shirts. Even the gruff 50 year old driver of this taxi who looks like he smokes two packs of cigarettes a day had this cutesy pink bunny keychain hanging in his cab.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Sides to Every Story

The day I rode in this taxi, the cabbie almost ran into someone riding on a motorcycle. According to the driver, his lucky charms hanging from the rear view mirror protected him and the guy on the motorbike from harm. From my perspective in the back seat, however, the reason we almost caused the accident was due to the fact that the cabbie's view was obstructed by all of his talismans and flower offerings blocking the windshield.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Despite the fact that there are many people from Indian descent in this city, it's not very often you run across a Bangkok taxi driver who is Indian. The other day, however, my young-looking taxi driver was half Indian. He made a point of reminding me that Indian culture has greatly influenced Thailand. He talked about how Buddhism, the predominant religion in this country, originated in India, and then he explained how the Thai language is derived from Sanskrit and Pali, two ancient Indian languages. He also spoke about how some Thai food, such as curry, stems from Indian cooking. I then asked him if he prefers Thai food or Indian, but he told me he'd rather have pizza.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

'Tis the Season

Towering Christmas trees adorned with twinkling lights and flashy ornaments, Thai people wearing Santa caps, Jingle Bells blasting in the streets, Christmas Sales in the malls. Take a walk around downtown Bangkok at Christmastime and you'd think you were in Europe or North America. I love that Thai people embrace any holiday that includes good food, music, shopping, and festive celebrations. Everyone around the world should do what Thailand does: combine the best of each religion and throw a party!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Taxi Preen

One way Bangkok taxi drivers like to kill time in traffic is by grooming themselves. When the taxi is stuck at a red light, it's the perfect time for the cabbie to trim his fingernails and pluck his chin with two coins held together to act as a tweezers. Never mind that there are passengers watching in the rearview mirror and hearing the clicking sounds. Heck, if I had a built-in mirror in the backseat, I'd be doing the same thing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Long Live the King!

As I write this, fireworks are going off in the sky throughout Thailand, people dressed in pink or yellow shirts are crowding the streets of Bangkok with lit candles, and every home, including mine, is tuned in to watch the King give his birthday address on TV. Happy 82nd Birthday to His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Feng Shui in the Rear

Evil lurks in every direction, so placing lucky charms only in the front of taxis just isn't enough protection from danger. In this taxi, the driver pinned a Feng Shui leaflet in the back window with a yin yang and a lion to ward off nasty spirits sneaking up from behind. It's a good thing that the placard has both Chinese and Thai writing. Most evil fiends can read one of those languages.