Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuk Tuk Taxi Flat Trackers

December 25, 2014
   Enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve in exotic Bangkok, Thailand yesterday. As we landed on Tuesday, one of my business class seat mates told me to get ready for some great service in the hotels of Thailand. He is an LA boy who lived in Thailand for 25 years and he claims that nobody does service like the Thais, and that a three-star hotel in Thailand would be a five-star in the U.S.

   The Pullman Hotel where we are staying ($75 a night) is elegant and crisp, with a breakfast buffet that is nothing short of extradordinary: sushi, fresh fruit, custom made egg dishes and every coffee concoction known to Starbucks, all served with helpful aides and waitresses. Even the managers, in suits, stop what they are doing to better serve you. it's pretty crazy for an American who is used to the cardboard calories and you're-on-your-own mentality of the typical American road hotel breakfast buffet.

Took my first Tuk Tuk Taxi ride yesterday on the crazy streets of Bangkok. I raced motorcyles when I was younger but nothing I ever did on a TT dirt track ever approached the level of position jockeying and dare devil bluffing of these fearless drivers. It was one of the most hair raising rides of my life. I thought several times, I have worn seat belts for half a century and now I'm going to die. Amazingly, and to my relief, I did not.

The view from the back seat of our Tuk Tuk Taxi, basically a motorcycle hooked up to a hay wagon. That's Kathy and Pattarapan in th Tuk Tuk ahead of us.

Arrived at a huge Buddhist Temple compound and saw some Thai cavalry outside:

Thai Cavalry lookin' good!

   We were warned that it is rude to show your elbows or your knees in a Buddhist Temple and they had a uniformed woman who yelled at the tourists coming in showing either. The tagged tourists had to go into a rental room for a wrap to cover up.

Buddah Temple Tourists on Parade, Flouting the ban on exposed elbows and knees

   We also learned it is considered rude to point your toes at someone while you are talking to them. Likewise, it is rude to show the bottoms of your feet and you must never talk about the King. No, seriously, you can't talk about him. A Euro-trash kid allegely painted a mustache on a poster of the King near the palace and he's doing ten-years in a Thai prison. Or, so said a knowledgeable source who also looks amazingly like my son.

   It's hard not to be embarrassed at some of the tourist behavior in such a place. I encountered one foreign goober (a German!) cutting in line right in front of me. I fixed his wagon. I pointed my toes right at the dude.

"When in Rome. . ."
—Old Tourist Saying