One of the things I really value about traveling, is that we have to learn to put our “Americanness” aside. We realize that, while sometimes it does seem so, the whole world does not speak English. The concept of “keeping up with the Joneses” is entirely different in other countries. Safety regulations are wildly different. We find that those assumptions that “everyone know this is how this is done” have to be completely thrown out.
Maybe nowhere moreso, than in Thailand traffic.
For this post, I actually had to decide that things I saw from the car was too broad of a category. I had to limit this post to things I actually saw moving in traffic with me. So here you go…
Pretty quickly we realized that driving down the road with your roadside stand in the open air passenger seat – is just standard operating procedure:
If you look closely at this one, you’ll see there is a person in the produce stand, wearing their apron, ready to sell you a tomato while they turn left:
This dude concerns me. With the big… telescope? Exhaust pipe? Missile launcher? Whatever the big silver cylinder is, he’s gotta wear a mask while driving with it. So I think we should keep our distance. Reminds me a little of Trashcan Man in The Stand.
I still have no idea what this guy is hauling:
That… is trash, my friends. More than twice the height of the truck and held on by a few ropes. I’m sure it’s safe:
I don’t even know where they get this bike-like contraptions. Are these build-at-home things? Do they come in a kit?
Ok, I’m just not at all comfortable with this:
To all the people where I live who complain about safety on a school bus – at least your kids don’t get home like this:
It was incredibly common to see more people that you think should be, on a motorbike, zooming and weaving through traffic. I almost didn’t include this picture because, I mean, this is nothing:
On the right there, see that? Homemade bike contraption so you can carry your family of four! And notice, helmets just aren’t much of a thing here.
Yeah. Kids too. Just sit Suzy right up there on your lap and tell her to hold on! This was the hardest thing to get used to. Part of my Americanized self just wanted to gasp and haul the child off the bike:
Hey! They have helmets! Sort of. Ok, half of them have helmets. And the only two with helmets are the parents. Kids are just cruising along. No worries.
But I think this was the winner. See what is makeshift-strapped on to Dad? Yep, a toddler. A very little toddler, strapped on with (as far as I could tell) strips of cloth. No helmets, no safety gear whatsoever. They passed us in traffic, on a highway.
I really do try to not judge through my American-color glasses. But sometimes it’s hard.