Love them, hate them, or just don’t have anything better to do parades have been a source of community gathering dating back to the earliest civilizations.
Every year Chiang Mai has their famous flower festival parade.
Imagine if you will rows and rows of massive, ornate floats adorned with breathtakingly beautiful Thai women and millions of flowers.
Although unique and amazing in its own way the formula of the parade remains the same: floats, marching bands, flare, and wide eyed kids. But it just wouldn’t be a parade in Thailand if we didn’t have this:
In the midst of all the beauty cars and motorcycles attempt to squeeze their way through the festivities simply because they’ve got places to go.
The lesson learned today is that in Thailand, traffic stops for no one.
I must say that riding on the streets of Thailand for the first time is quite the experience. Ours was the cab ride from the airport into Bangkok. We quickly realized that traffic law in this country is…kinda lax. The rule of thumb seems to be that if you can fit you can go. It’s like watching a thousand people running into a concert all at once but somehow nobody touches anybody else.
It’s not surprising that when BC told me he wanted to rent a scooter so we could cruise around the town, I was a bit skeptical.
But I agreed to it…even though it seemed insane to go riding around in this madness; especially since they drive on the side of the road we are not used to. But you learn quickly that a honk doesn’t mean “get out of my way” it means “no, go ahead, you’re good” or if you’re walking it means “I’m a tuk tuk and you should ride me!” Same with turn signals. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the car is trying to get over. Sometimes they are telling the scooter or tuk-tuk behind them that they are safe to veer into oncoming traffic and pass as many people as possible until a car or bus forces you back on to your side of the road. Fun? Frightening? Either way it’s an F-word.
There were about a dozen times I thought for sure we were going to get into an accident. But then it dawned on me: Thais are waaaay better drivers than any of us. Road rage? Non existent. Texting while driving? Only if you want to surely die. It’s kind of amazing to watch.
We now have our own scooter and BC is driving it like he thinks he’s from Thailand. He got a semi-automatic so I might be able to drive it one day but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.
And this is what BC looks like driving it:
Can we say CHiP?