I’m standing on the parapet of the skytrain in Bangkok. I look down to the traffic below and attempt to look for order in its chaos.
The driving in the city reminds me a little of what it’s like to drive in London and yet there are some subtle differences in our culture, which make me feel so much more secure.
U-Turns into oncoming traffic are usual here – in fact they are an integral part of the way the roads work in Thailand. And the u-turn intersections are on major roads.
Last night I asked a local resident about them, as I was trying to figure out exactly what was going on.
“Do they stop so you can go?”
As I looked for the traffic lights, lines in the road or a give way sign to indicate the slowing of the traffic. “No, push your way out.” Was his response.
I had already been on the end of this process when leaving Koh Chang for Bangkok. The mini-bus driver turned his vehicle into the path of a lorry and a car. My hands shot over my face, as I watched them slam on the brakes.
Needless to say – here at this early stage in the country. I did not feel secure!
For a western gal like me it all comes across a little scary, as through the process I observe drivers chatting away on their mobile phones even on steep climbs with sheer drops.
No strict hands free rules here – or if there are, noone adheres to them!
It’s madness – the noise, the fumes, the sounds and conversations. Overwhelming, in fact, when down there on the street and sucked into it. As my taxi driver said, “Bankgkok, traffic – jam, jam. I knew exactly what he meant.
Although as I write – I think I’ve found my sanctity in the craziness of the traffic. I’ve risen above the chaos and come to the place, my very western brain can make sense of -an unopened section of the skytrain.
Here I’ve regained my sanity as I look out to the Bangkokness, going on below!