Saturday, April 26, 2014

Balinese Taxis

On my recent trip to Bali, I took a few taxis, and for the most part, it was unlike taking cabs in Bangkok. First of all, in Bali there are few taxis on the road to hail. Instead cabbies sit alongside the streets holding up "taxi" signs while waiting for customers. The taxis look like regular cars with no emblems on the side of the vehicle, nor special lights to designate that the cars are taxis. And there are no meters which means you need to haggle the fare, unless you don't mind getting overcharged for the ride. Balinese taxis, similar to  Bangkok cabs, however, often have offerings to the gods on the dashboard. Palm leaf baskets filled with flowers and fruit give the Balinese taxis a tropical flair. And to add to the exotic vibe, some of the drivers even tuck small blossoms behind their ears.       

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Uber cool or Overrated?

Despite the fact that Bangkok has an abundance of taxis on the streets at all hours of the day and night, more and more locals and visitors are turning to the Uber mobile app to get a cab rather than hailing taxis with their red wahng, or available, lights turned on. Passengers using the app will avoid headaches with cabbies who decline to give them a ride, drive recklessly, and refuse to turn on their meter and instead ask for a flat rate. Those in need of a cab simply 'pin' their current location on their smart phone or tablet and wait to be picked up, and when it comes time to pay, their credit card is automatically billed. Never mind that the fare is at least double the normal cost or that the taxi will most likely be lacking in the talismans and other decorations that make Bangkok taxis charming and unique.     

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Songkran!

It's that time of year in Thailand to bust out your loudest, most colorful, tropical shirt. Whether you're traveling, partying, or working during Songkran Festival, this is currently the national uniform. And if you're like the cabby in the first picture, you won't forget to wear a towel around your neck. You'll need it to wipe the sweat off your forehead in this extreme heat and for drying yourself off when you get splashed with water from Songkran celebrants.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blowing the Whistle

There are many people in Bangkok who want to "blow the whistle" on the current government and put a stop to their antics, but it's rare to see Bangkok taxi drivers who do not support this Prime Minister. I asked the cabby about his political views and he told me that he isn't in favor of any particular party, but he believes that there needs to be big changes politically in this country. Oh, and he thinks it's fun blowing his whistle at rallies.