Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Art of Improvisation

Thais on the whole are adept at improvising, and Bangkok cabbies are particularly good at winging it. One cabbie that I met was tired of listening to customers complain about the heat in the back of the taxi, so he strapped a fan to the seats with a bungee cord. Another taxi driver needed to prop up the rear brake light that he rigged and decided that a couple of plastic food containers would work best. Never mind that these contraptions aren't overly pleasing to the eye. In both cases, function takes precedence over beauty.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sound of a Phin

Many Thais are musically oriented which explains why karaoke is so popular in Thailand and why you hear recorded and live music in so many places here. Bangkok cabbies often enjoy listening to music in their taxis, too, and the driver today even had a Thai instrument known as a phin in the back window of his cab. At one point, the cabbie offered to demonstrate how he plays his three-stringed lute from the Isaan region in the Northeast of Thailand, but since he was behind the wheel of his taxi, I told him to wait until after we arrived at our destination. In the meantime, he put in a CD of Thai Northeast Native Melodies and cranked the volume on high.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Taxi Workout

Bangkok has countless gyms and fitness clubs to join, but many locals simply head to public spaces in the early hours of the day to get their exercise. If you're in a park in Bangkok at sun up, you'll most likely see joggers, groups doing aerobics, weightlifters, power walkers, people playing takraw or badminton, and still others practicing t'ai-chi and qigong. Or if you're in a taxi here, you might encounter a plastic toy with a spring that appears to be doing calisthenics in sync with the movement of the cab.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Knit Coverups

Many Bangkok cabbies don't approve of naked gear shifts, unprotected emergency brake handles, or exposed turn signal levers in their taxis. They prefer to clothe their interior parts in colorful knit cozies. And anyway, wives, aunties, and grannies obviously take pleasure in creating them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Barefoot and Driving

Cabbies driving barefoot is a fairly common sight in Bangkok. Considering that many of the drivers here hail from the countryside where shoes are considered optional, it makes sense. And anyway, this is a way the cabbies can feel more relaxed and carefree driving in Bangkok's mad traffic.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top 10 Cartoon Characters in Bangkok Taxicabs

1. Tweety
2. Doraemon
3. Hello Kitty
4. Winnie the Pooh
5. Mickey Mouse
6. Garfield
7. Minnie Mouse
9. Nemo
10. Taz