Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Bug

A few weeks ago, I wrote about another insect character on a taxi dashboard, but this time I'm wondering if this goofy still life could be a reference to Jerry Dallman and the Knightcaps 1960's single, "The Bug"? Probably not. Chances are this Bangkok cabby hasn't even heard this song, but anyway, enjoy this video from John Water's 1988 cult classic, Hairspray, that includes Ricki Lake dancing to - you guessed it - "The Bug".  


Thursday, April 26, 2012


According to a Thai saying, there are three seasons in this country: hot, hotter, and hottest. At the moment, we are experiencing the latter. This little red devil on the taxi dashboard should feel at home right about now, except for the fact that the driver of this cab had created arctic-like conditions in the taxi with his air-con blasting on high.   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pain Diversion

Before I started taking taxis in Bangkok, the last place I had seen posters on the ceiling were at my dentist's office in the States. He liked to hang serene or sometimes funny images above his dentist chair to divert patients' attention from the procedure being performed on their teeth. Sometimes I wonder if Bangkok taxi drivers use this same technique of displaying pictures on their ceiling to distract passengers from the grueling traffic snarls of this city.    

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Backhanded Driver

When most people think about sports in Thailand, Muay Thai boxing comes to mind. It's true that this form of kickboxing is extremely popular here, but so is badminton. Many Thais take this sport seriously and the national team isn't too shabby either. Even the driver of this taxi plays badminton in a league. He's obviously a big enthusiast as illustrated by the shuttlecock hanging in the front window of his cab. When he turns corners, it swings and sometimes he even takes practice hits at it with his badminton racket that he keeps under his seat.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cabby Cushions

Many Bangkok cabbies keep an accent pillow or two in the back of their taxi. It's not clear whether anyone actually uses them, but they nevertheless add a bit of color in the backseat or back window. The pillows range in style from classic Thai cushions made with traditional textiles to kitschy fluffs in the shape of hearts or with cartoon characters. The other day I spotted a pillow in a taxi with an image of the Disney character, Dale. It caught my eye because this chipmunk shares the same name with myself. And not only that, but the cab driver looked a little bit like this character with a few missing teeth and one little tuft of hair on his head.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Buddha and the Bug

What does a lady bug have in common with Budai, the fat and happy Buddha? Nothing. But that's why this combination of characters is so perfectly Thai. There's a certain amount of randomness that exists in this culture and some things here make no logical sense whatsoever. This Thai element of unpredictability relates to the casual and care-free attitude in this place, and anyway, it often adds a bit of amusement to daily life.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Open Road

"Let yourself be open and life will be easier." - The Buddha

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Southern Stickers

These figures on the taxi window are characters from nang thalung, a type of shadow puppetry from Thailand's southern region. In the past, these puppet shows were a major source of news, information, and entertainment in villages. The way these two stickers are positioned on the window, it's as if a story or joke is being told. The little character on the right appears to be talking to the other guy and saying, "Your stomach is so fat, your belly button arrives home 15 minutes before you do".

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lucky Charms

When most Bangkok cabbies begin a new shift, they remove the amulets from around their neck and hang them from their rearview mirror in order to spread good karmic energy throughout the entire taxi. This particular driver had two necklaces adorned with lucky charms: one that he wears and the other that he dangles in the cab. In this city of crazy drivers and horrendous traffic, the cabby could use at least two more chains with amulets for good luck and protection.