Road Rules? Make ’em up as you go

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.

Life in the middle of the road

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.

Pedi-cab driver

Tuk-tuks and pedicabs are fun, but now off to get better at Frogger.

This entry was posted in Chiang Mai, life lessons, Transport and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Road Rules? Make ’em up as you go

  1. Gee says:

    Brooke & Micheal,
    I enjoyed reading your blog and viewed the pictures. Obviously you are in Chiangmai, what you tasted was not real or typical northern food. Please ask the local people to try Chiangmai ‘s food. Basically, sticky rice is a must, then there are paste made of various things include chilles. One of local northern, call “Kaur Soy”, you should try. It makes of yellow noodle, thicker than other noodle, with red curry, and fry small noodle on top, with cabbage pickle, and chille paste, and lemon etc.
    Few more days you will have lots of fun with water festival, do not forget to take lots of pictures and send to us. Till next time, be safe.

    • Brooke says:

      Thanks Gee! We’ll be sure to ask for that. We had mango sticky rice last night and it was delicious!

    • Michael says:

      I have been asking for it the last couple of meals, but it seems to be that I am mispronouncing it–imagine that! In fact, last night, I ordered it. Or I thought. And they brought out a bowl of white rice, which is apparently Khao Soy too.

      But we did find a place today called, “Just Khao Soy”. I enjoyed the Lanna style and Brooke had the Chiang Mai style dish. And you are right, it is delicious. Thanks again for keeping up with the blog.

  2. Tiffany says:

    Soo happy to see you guys are having fun. I always got nervous when attempting to cross the street or ride a motobike in the middle. The Massaman curry is my new fav and no one outside of Thailand has heard of it, so enjoy it while you’re there… until you come home and maybe we can make our own!

  3. Geri Baker says:

    You know as much as I would like to be with all three of you, it’s probably best I stayed home to look after the cats. If you remember when I played frogger Gerifrog NEVER made it past the first vehicle. I’m so glad your’re enjoying Thai food, sounds wonderful! xoxoxoxoxo

  4. Momma Lou says:

    Frogger…do you remember that Seinfeld episode where George attempts to push a video game across the busy street? That’s how I picture the two of you right now!!

  5. vickie says:

    Every time I read one of these travel stories I get hungry.Sounds as if everyone enjoys the food more than any other experience.But I love to eat as well.I would love to eat my way around the world.You kids have fun and please do take a cooking class since I don’t plan on doing any food tours in my lifetime.Love you both,enjoy the trip.

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