Traffic in Bangkok

A guest blog entry from David:

First of all, I’d just like to apologize to everybody for not keeping you in the loop. As you can tell, I made it here all safe and sound, no problems at all. I’ll write about the coup and conditions here in Thailand later but, for the time being, suffice to say that life here seems to be as per normal.

A couple of years ago I visited my parents in Italy, they’ll attest to the fact that the first time I saw three Italian cars share two lanes, I was amazed. Well…the naievete of that reaction is heavy upon me now!

Traffic in Bangkok is…hectic. The thing that amazes me, though, is that it works so well…as we ride along, people are splitting 3 lanes with 5 cars and 3 motorbikes! Motorbikes will slip between cars, trucks, tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis) willy-nilly. So many times I thought a motorbike was just about to get squished between two vehicles and I was going to witness a grisly reminder of how much better things are in America — yet they always squeezed through and everything’s good! Truth be told, it actually gets kind of fun! Like watching a demolition derby, but you’re rooting for the cars to miss each other instead. The odd thing is that I’ve never felt scared or unsure that we or anybody else would survive on the roads…until…

…last night we caught a cab from MBK (a local super-mall) back to the hotel and caught a ride with a cab. This guy drove a taxi but like a tuk-tuk driver (in Emily’s words) he was jerking and weaving. Emily and I shared a lot of nervous glances to one another, lemme tell you! His manual-transmission skills were…limited. Just when I thought that we’d rolled the dice enough times and we were sure to take out one of those hapless motorbikes, we pulled into the hotel…

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