Saturday, June 26, 2010

All Ears

Do you know why Buddha's ears are so big? In the case of the fat and happy Buddha, it has nothing to do with the fact that the rest of his physique is large. It's related to his rejection of material possessions. The earrings that he wore in his earlier years left them elongated, symbolizing the notion that his worldly goods once weighed him down physically and mentally. I wonder if his big ears also help him to hear the music in the taxi better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grrrl Driver

Before I jumped into the taxi today I noticed feminine-looking stickers with butterflies on the windows, so I shouldn't have been so surprised to see a female cabbie at the wheel when I got in. As I caught sight of her, I immediately started to remark that I haven't met many lady drivers in Bangkok, but before I could finish half of the sentence, she completed my words. After I thought about it, I realized that she must hear this same phrase all the time from passengers because there are very few women drivers in Bangkok. Maybe they don't last long at the job because they get sick of hearing customers drone on about how they never see girl drivers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ghost of Taxi Present

Some Bangkok cabbies create ghost-like reflections of famous Thai Buddhist monks on their car windows by placing photos on the dashboard and relying on the light and shiny surface of the windshield to produce the image. The drivers believe that the monks protect them from accidents and misfortune, but the effect is slightly eerie. As the moving world outside appears through the translucent image, it's as if the monk's spirit is with you at all times in the cab. The fact that the technique involves likenesses of monks makes it a shade less bone-chilling. I can think of much scarier apparitions that could appear in taxis.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Breathe in...

Deep breathing exercises are a good way to relax. The technique is used in yoga and meditation and can help release tension from the body and clear the mind. The other day, I tried to practice deep breathing in the taxi. But the cabbie was driving like a maniac and I ended up hyper-ventilating. And to make matters worse, every time I slowly inhaled, the toxic fumes inside the vehicle filled my lungs and made me cough uncontrollably.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Typographic Taxi

The taxi driver of this cab should have been a graphic designer. There's nothing wrong with his current occupation, but it's obvious that he enjoyed arranging type on the surface of his cab windows the same way designers organize text in their work. The randomly placed Thai letters on the windows have transcended their basic function of communicating words and have moved into the realm of design where the stickers have artfully created a patterned typographic arrangement.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Taxi Reads

What's a Bangkok cabbie to do when traffic lights turn red or when stuck in relentless traffic? One driver I met the other day spends his downtime reading. Judging from the tall stacks of books on the dashboard and in the rear window, he reads a lot. Most of the publications in his cab focus on the Buddha's teachings or philosophies of famous Thai monks. I asked him if he had a favorite book, and I was completely taken by surprise when he told me that he loves the "Harry Potter" book series translated into Thai.