Getting to Soi Nana, Bangkok
It is somewhere between six and seven hundred kilometres from our village in the north of Thailand to Bangkok. One authoritative German once assured me that it is precisely 644 km to the sign that says the equivalent of ‘Bangkok welcomes careful drivers’.
Be that as it may, it took us six hours at 120kph where possible to get there in six hours including a few stops for refuelling, the toilets and dropping off passengers.
The minibus was comfortable enough, but what annoyed me, besides the crappy music, was the fact that the driver spent at least three hours on the phone. One hand on the wheel and one hand holding his mobile. On three occasions, presumably when he was talking to his boss, he had an exercise book pinned to the wheel and he was reading from that.
However, on two other occasions, he had the phone in one hand and was scratching his head with the other. ‘He must be steadying the wheel with his knee, I thought’, and stood up to look. But, no, his knees were under the dashboard and the wheel was nine inches above his crotch.
So we were rudderless at 120kph on a busy motorway!
Anyway, we survived that, and arrived at the huge bus station pronounced somewhere between Munch It and Moon Shit, except that at this precise moment, it only exists as a memory, because it is being rebuilt. The site, the size of a football field is just dust and rubble.
We looked for a taxi, but he would only take us to the nearest taxi rank – a hundred yards or so away. The first twenty-odd taxi drivers refused to take us because it was ‘too far’, but the next one did.
He was on the phone when he stopped, didn’t get out to help us with our luggage and had not finished his conversation twenty minutes later when we arrived at our hotel. It was bad enough, but at least he had a hands-free set.
However, neither I, my wife nor our daughter had sat in a car before with a man seeming to talk to himself, we are still used to the incessant rabbiting of the driver to us.
Has it got like that where you live yet?
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Podcast: Getting to Soi Nana, Bangkok