Friday, January 26, 2018

Everything Is More Fun In Thailand

Bangkok taxis are most often unadorned Toyotas, the Altis model, but you will often come across one that is, let's say, "personalized." This example is pretty wild, but it by no means the wildest one that I've ever seen. At least he can still see out of (most of) the windshield. 

Very nice man, the owner/driver. We were having a friendly conversation already, so I asked him if I could take a picture. He laughed and said, sure! I asked him mostly because of all of the amulets. Many of these religious amulets are sold for protection against specific misfortune, and they can be very expensive. Take the "bullet proof" amulet, for instance. Protection like that doesn't come cheap! The amulets come with rules, and if you violate the rules the amulet may lose its power. I wanted to make sure that "do not photograph" wasn't one of the rules for the amulets. 

I think that he was happy that I was recording the car for posterity. This is his work of art, and it is his home-away-from-home for between twelve and fourteen hours every day, probably seven days every week. Thais are very hard-working people. 

At the end of the ride I gave him a good tip. He laughed again at that, perhaps in gratitude, and perhaps out of amazement that anyone could be so stupid as to throw away good money like that. (Thailand is not a tipping country, unless I'm around.)  I thanked him for the help, in the form of the ride, and I mentioned the pictures. He gave me his best smile. I'm still doing the work of my old outfit, the Peace Corps. Spreading good will around the world on behalf of my country. This work is even more important now in the age of Trump. 

Incidentally, the driver does not need to worry about getting a ticket for "blocking his view." You can hardly hang sun-glasses on the mirror of your car in California without drawing police attention. No, no, this is Thailand, "The land of the free." (The word Thai actually means "free," or "freedom.") It's his car, and he can do whatever he wants with it. This goes for blacked-out windows as well. Many of the cars that you see on Bangkok's streets have windows that are totally black, or totally mirrored out. Windshield included. Those are illegal in California, too. Here? It's your car, baby. Go for it. 

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