Monday, April 23, 2012

Driven crazy by Bangkok

Arriving at Suvarbharmi airport this evening, I cruised through passport control and got outside, where a man offered to drive me to my hotel. I asked him how much and when he said a thousand baht, carried on walking to the taxi stand. If it cost 300 to get to the Lebua last time we visited, I didn’t think prices could have gone up that much in a month and a half.

So I got in a lilac taxi, driven by the biggest Thai man I’ve ever met. This guy was ridiculously huge – as well as being tall he had enormous hands, but unfortunately still had a high-pitched voice that didn’t quite fit his body. Scooched as far back in the car as his seat would let him, he drove me at predictably ridiculous speeds to the city, leaving me in fear of my life at least five times. Why do the seatbelts in these taxis only function for the driver and not the passengers?

The most frightening part was at the end of the drive. Unsure of where the hotel was, he rolled down the street, fishing out his reading glasses with one hand and reaching back to turn on the inside light of the taxi with the other, before consulting some scrawl on a shabby grey post-it note, and then peering through his windscreen, and then trundling on, apparently taking no notice of motorcycles, pedestrians or the odd bus. The very odd bus: this is Thailand, after all. Still, we didn’t run anyone over; I guess this is just one of those common occurrences in Bangkok. At least he wasn’t reading a broadsheet newspaper while driving me along the motorway. The drivers save that for the boring drive to the airport, not from it.

My taxi driver couldn’t write me a receipt, which annoyed me slightly, but that’s for claiming back 400 baht: not so very much in the general scheme of things. I do love paperwork though, so that got me in a bit of a foul mood. This was dispelled once I got into the hotel, a lovely paradise of dark brown wood and complimentary espresso shots (why in heaven’s name did they give that to me at 9pm? Thais are clearly cruel, cruel jokers.)

I could have gone out to sample all that Bangkok has to offer, but this is my fourth time in town, and I discovered the spa menu, so rather than go for a run this evening I’m going to spend an hour having my face massaged. I’d take a photo to show the before and after, but I fear my technical abilities are not up to it…


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