Since the first part of my driving essay was published, I have had more new unique Thailand driving experiences. Some funny, some near deadly!
I've always understood the Thai nation to be a very placid people and not one that reacts with extreme violence towards other people. I know this is the perceived view of the Thai's, I also know of many people both Thai and farang who have suffered the opposite fate.
Whilst travelling on the Express way the other day above Rama VI, I could see the large Toyota Wish MPV travelling at a rate of knots similar to a high velocity bullet coming up behind me. I was given the usual flashing light which I took to get out of the Lane. Being an Englishman I indicated left and began to move over. Luckily I just looked again in my mirror to see the MPV right up my bottom, I swerved back into my original lane and as the vehicle came past, I gave a one fingered salute to Mr. Schumacher. Usually this gesture is a waste of time, as most cars have mirrored glass. This time the sunlight must have been in the wrong place, because the other driver responded.
Should I say Miss Schumacher responded, she pulled in front of my car and proceeded to fly into a rage i've not seen for many a year. The window was wound down, I got a full volley of different hand signs and even her head popping out of the window. Alas this wasn't enough, the Farang had to be put in his place. It was only 9am so The Emporium would not been open for another hour, this gave her plenty of time to fall back level with me, wind her window down again and give me such a bollocking. Again being a gentleman, I put my passenger window down and cupped my hand over my ear, thus indicating I could not hear her. That was it! She went ballistic, she fell back just behind me and began to get as close as possible with lights flashing. My car is a rental car, fully insured and from a company owned by a very prominent member of the Goverment, so a few dings are always overlooked as the insurance will pay.
I dropped off the Express Way onto Ratchapesek on my way to see a supplier right on the far side of Bangkok. The young lady kept following me, then I realised. She obviously likes my appearence and wants my phone number. At a set of lights we come to a halt. You guessed it, she got out of the car and came up to my car, what she had not seen were the red lights only had four seconds till the usual Moto GP start. Much as I would have loved to have stopped and passed the time with the very wealthy looking young lady, I decided to follow the traffic and go. In my mirror I could see this poor female actually jumping up and down on the spot. She was holding traffic up and having a full on tantrum.
I felt it wise to inform my Goverment man about the incident, he told me I had done the right thing, he had had no requests by any burly Thai's for my address. He did however give me some advice. "Dont in anyway give abuse to other drivers". Not out of politeness, but just in case they are carrying a weapon or have major friends who will use weapons. I just agreed with him, this is Thailand not the wild west.
That weekend, his advice probaly saved myself anf my passengers some hurt, whilst near Bang Pa-In, a motorcyclist was driving in the middle of the road, i'm not sure what he wanted to do so I began to undertake him, as I would normally do. Just then a glint caught my eye. He was carrying a very large revolver. I dont know whether he was an off duty Boy in Brown or a local Crim. My respect for anyone who carries a gun is upmost. This incident as made me decide to give way to all forms of bad driving and ill manners on the road. Failure to comply could mean a terminal experience.
I need advice from other road users, when turning right. Do you:
a. Like in the UK go around the driver wanting to turn right onto the main road, and end up on the correct side of the road?
b. Let him pull out in front of you forcing you to undetake him on his left, so leaving you on the wrong side of the road and in more mortal danger?
b seems to be standard pratice, please advise.
Lastly a tip for any road user new to the ways of Thailand driving. When you see some one coming towards you flashing their lights, this does not mean " I'm letting you go out of cortesy young man" This actually means "I'm coming through, i'm not stopping so get out of my way" This is good advice for any motorcyclists or cyclists.