Thursday, May 31, 2012

Comic Cabby

Most Thais have a nickname, or cheu len, which literally means "play name". In the past, bynames were mostly in Thai and included such monikers as Lek (small), Neung (number one), Tong (gold), and Ton (tree). These days in Thailand it's quite popular to have a nickname derived from a word in English. Some people have pet names such as Bird and Tiger. And then there's this cabby named after the lazy cat comic strip character, Garfield. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Power of Suggestion

I knew it. Eating Chinese buns with a bean paste filling before hopping in a taxi was a mistake. But there I was with my bean-filled belly in the cab. And this sticker on the dashboard didn't help matters either. If anything, it had a reverse effect on me. As I stared at the "no breaking wind" symbol, all of a sudden...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little House in the Taxi

In the taxi that I took to work this morning the driver had turned his taximeter into a little wooden Thai-style house. I sincerely appreciate the style of this type of home, but to be honest, I don't want to live in this kind of dwelling. Besides being too small, the house costs keep going up. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tokyo vs. Bangkok

I just returned from a trip to Japan. In Tokyo, many of the taxi drivers wear formal white driving gloves. Our cabbies in Bangkok sometimes wear gloves, too: old shabby knit ones that look like they haven't been washed in ages. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No Time Like the Present

It's hard to relax in taxis when you're continually reminded that you're on the clock. As the taxi meter keeps running and the fare persistently goes up, and as some intersections in Bangkok have timers that count down the seconds at stop and go lights, it always feels like you need to get somewhere else quickly. But if you close your eyes for a few minutes and take some deep breaths, you might realize that the here and now is just as good, if not better, than the there and later. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Eight is Enough

Apparently eight heads are better than one. In the center of this magical incantation cloth is the four-headed Brahma, Phra Phrom, and on the outer periphery is a quartet of Phra Lersi, the hermit monk who wears tiger skins.  All of these portrait images are intended to provide luck, guidance, and protection for the driver and his passengers. But for me, I would get disoriented following these characters that peer out from every perspective.