January 12, 2015
According to our hosts in Thailand, there are 20 million people living in Bangkok and they ride around in 8 million cars. By my math, I believe the rest of the population is on motor scooters. I have never seen so many bikes or such dare devil riding in my life, and I raced motorcyles as a hair-brained youth.
A random photo over Tommy Bell's arm of a sea of bikes on the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
And, in case you think that was an exception to the rule, here is another shot taken a minute later:
More bikes than you can shake a stick at.
Born to Be Thai Wild
For starters the Thais drive on the wrong side of the road and they are especially fond of U-turns where long lines of autos and bikes make standing still turns into the high speed lanes of oncoming traffic! Unlike any other place I've been (crazy traffic circles in Valencia Spain, roundabouts in Argentia, tunnels in Paris) the Thais utilize the roadway and slice it into very, very small pieces. In the states you have, say, three lanes of traffic on a busy city street (with three lanes going the opposite way) and everyone pretty much adheres to those lanes, but not in Thailand. In Chiang Mai, I witnessed the standard three lanes, but then the Thais utlize three more lanes of motor bikes, splitting those lanes into smaller pieces, and then, and I'm not making this up—you have a non-lane on the far left of motorcycles going the wrong way, straight at you. I kid you not.
Here is an excellent example of Thai traffic taken with a Go-pro helmet cam on the streets of Chiang Mai. Notice how often the driver goes into oncoming traffic—and no one even flinches!
Take A Hair Raising Drive On The Wrong Side of The Road!
At the end of this video, the driver stops at one of the restaurants we went to with Tommy and Amy. What are the odds of that in a city of 1 million crazy scooter drivers? Anyway, I sure fit in there:
We don't need no stinking boots in Thailand!
Full confession: I had the hardest time getting used to the no shoes in the house rule, but I finally took off my boots and was traipsing around the Pothong house in Phichit, when Thomas Charles said, "Hey Father Goose, come out here and let me take a photo of you on your ride."
"Itchin' for a run in. Head out on the Thai way. . ."
—Born to Be Thai Wild