Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 131: Bangkok, Thailand

Due to lack of interest, tomorrow is cancelled, let the clocks be reset and the pendulums held, because there’s nothing at all except the space in between, finding out what your called and repeating your name ………

The day started badly and threatened to deteriorate. Perhaps it was something that I’d eaten, perhaps it was just a case of first day nerves, but the communal bathroom of a backpackers guesthouse had never felt so inviting as it had done this morning. On a brighter note, …. at least it wasn’t raining. It’s fair to say that last evening in order to help me sleep I’d consumed several bottles of local beer but it seemed that this morning, remembering my own name was as much mental exercise as my scrambled brain would manage.

I arrived at the wooden platform close to the market where the taxi boys spent their downtime between jobs, …. I hoped for my own sake and not theirs, that today the ‘down time’ would be plentiful. Sunthon introduced me to his colleagues and to a man whose name I could neither pronounce then nor remember now, ….. but this man was their unappointed leader, top dog on the circuit. Immediately he saw a flaw in an otherwise perfect plan. The ‘Farang’ had no permit to work, no licence to carry passengers and therefore no insurance. I reflected for a moment on how these guys ride their bikes around this chaotic city and wondered which underwriter in his or her right mind would ever cover such a risk. Whatever the answer to that conundrum might be, I was still unable to work. To be honest, at the breaking of this news a warm sense of relief washed over me and for the first time today, the urgent need of a bathroom subsided.

A huddle was quickly formed with much chattering and gesticulation, a huddle into which I was not invited. After several minutes a verdict had been reached. It was impossible for me to legally carry passengers or packages on my weird motorcycle, ….. but if I wished to ‘understand’ their jobs, then I was welcome to follow them for the day. And so it came to be that although ‘Blue88’ could not become a Taxi Bike Boy, he could if he wished, ….. tag along for the ride. They explained that today, Thursday 14th of August, would be a quiet day in Bangkok as many people were still on holiday. Tuesday had been both the Queen’s birthday and ‘Mothers Day’ here in Thailand, .. a holiday for all in a country where the King and Queen are revered. It was agreed that I would follow the first bike to secure a passenger.

The first to secure a passenger, either by design or default, was Sunthon. A large lady of indeterminate age with overly short skirt, high heels and a becoming smile. She mounted sidesaddle, the spare crash helmet crooked into her elbow and into the traffic they shot. I sped forward in pursuit, 50m travelled and already several cars and buses separated us, … this would indeed be a very testing day for the London Courier.

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