One once described dodging traffic in SE Asia as a great game of Frogger. Well, the game only works here if you attempt to cross the street. Otherwise, you will be waiting on the sidewalk waiting for the safest and most spacious opportunity to cross. And you will be waiting…and waiting…and waiting. The best approach to get across the street: close your eyes and just walk through the middle of the street; don’t worry, the cars, trucks, buses, mopeds, scooters, bicycles, motorcyles, pedicabs, and tuk-tuks will weave to avoid you. Yes, there are that many types going down the street at once. After many hesitations, we learned to watch the Thai cross the street and we picked up on it. Go. Anytime. Without Trepidation.
While we could have taken that picture while crossing the street, we took it as we rode in the back of a bus.
Somehow, the traffic “system” works amazingly well. There is a general understanding that people merge, turn, stop (well, slow down), and everyone else makes do. As Americans, we tend to think that stoplights signal go and stop. I think Thai drivers have a different understanding. Green means go. Go as fast as you want. Red means go too. As long as no person is in the middle of the road.
We have ventured to take in the different modes of transport. The tuk-tuks (three wheelers with a lawn mower motor, as Brooke describes it, and room for people in the back) are nice to catch a breeze. On the other hand, we thought it would be romantic to catch a pedi-cab. The 70 year old pedaler might have weighed 100 pounds and had to get off the bike several times to push the ‘big’ Americans up the road. We had negotiated a rate of 80 Baht ($2.75) from his offer of 100 Baht ($3). Although he did not seem to struggle, we gave him his full fare for the effort.
Tuk-tuks and pedicabs are fun, but now off to get better at Frogger.