Monday, July 30, 2012

Forgettable Faces

I never forget a face. Well, unless it's the face of a Bangkok taxi driver. Most of the time, I can't get a good look at their whole mug anyway. From the backseat, I can only see the back of their head and a reflection of part of their visage in the rearview mirror. Then again, the cabbies probably won't remember my face either because most of the time it's hidden behind my camera.        

Friday, July 20, 2012

Air Taxi

If I happen to mention to Bangkok taxi drivers that I used to live in Chicago, the one thing that they usually associate with the Windy City is Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in the '80s and early '90s. My taxi driver the other day told me that he used to be a huge fan of "My-kun Jor-dun" and then he spent ten minutes reminiscing about the pair of Air Jordans that he used to own.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pumpkin Taxi

In Thai, the word for pumpkin is fukthong which can be translated as golden squash. As a result of the reference to gold in the name, pumpkins are a symbol of prosperity in this culture. Occasionally, you can find the little real ones on taxi dashboards as a way to attract money, but in this cab there's a traditional Thai benjarong ceramic pumpkin sitting on the taxi meter. As I rode in this taxi, I imagined that the cab itself could turn into a pumpkin just like in a fairytale. If that were the case, the driver would get rich from all the princes and princesses who would want to take a ride in it.   

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chiang Mai Taxi Meter

In Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand, most of the automobile taxis operate between the airport and the city center. They generally charge a flat rate of 150 baht (about $5.00 US) for this jaunt, so I don't know why they call them taxi meters as they don't usually turn on the meters. At least they're safe according to this sign at the airport. But what they're saving us from isn't clear. Did something get lost in translation or are they saving us from having to walk into the city ourselves?  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wise Guy

The Buddha said, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought." If that's true, does that mean I'm turning into a Bangkok taxi driver?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monk Art

Today, when I took a taxi there was an exquisite yan drawing on the ceiling. Created by a Buddhist monk for the purpose of protecting the driver and the vehicle, this particular yan is composed of finely drawn lines with symmetrically placed dots and gold leaf squares. Yan drawings involve a form of magic, but whether or not they work, they definitely add an artistic touch to Thai taxis.