Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Speedy Cabby

Today, my cab driver wildly swerved in and out of lanes and almost sideswiped a guy on a motorbike. So, I politely asked him to "cha cha noy" or slow down a little, but he laughed and kept driving like a madman. Had it been a Nascar race, we may have won, but there are no checkered flags on Thai highways, only checkered patterns on the interior of this cabby's vehicle.     

Monday, October 21, 2013

Think Pink

In Thailand, the color pink doesn't carry the same associations as it does in the West. Here it's a color that everyone seems to fancy, including the King and owners of taxi fleets just the same. Today, the interior of my taxi was coated in pink vinyl with a damascus pattern. If you ask me, this look is straight out of a bordello circa 1973, but for my taxi driver, it represents the ultimate in good taste and luxury. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good Deed for the Day

In Thai culture, providing aid and assistance to others is a surefire way to "make merit", which in turn, will ensure a peaceful existence now and in the future. In the taxi today, the driver told me that I could make merit by donating money to a temple in his village upcountry. Seeing the pictures from his hometown and knowing that I might be helping fund someone's education, bailing a family out of financial trouble, or maybe even helping a farmer buy a cow, I decided to make a donation. As I inserted a wad of cash into his wooden money container, a rush of good karmic energy immediately flowed in my direction. Without a doubt, it's the best investment that I've made in a long time.    

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ad(s) Nauseam

You can't escape advertising in Bangkok. It bombards you everywhere you go. Shophouses display vinyl banners that advertise everything from Coca-cola to new condominiums, department stores hang three-story high signs announcing sales, presenters in malls scream into microphones to promote new products, and the skytrain has monitors that show commercials non-stop. Now, you can't even avoid advertising when you're in Bangkok taxis. Lately, TVs showing only commercials have sprung up on headrests in some cabs. Regardless of the type of ads they show, this in-your-face tactic is annoying, even if they are only advertising things like dog shampoo.