Fun On The Road In LOS
1. Driving on the skyway in and around Bangkok with my Isaan beauty and we come across another one of those annoying Toll Booths. I make a mistake and overshoot by 2 meters. There's a Brownie standing there in front in his extremely tight attire & oversized shades and he notices me reversing the 2 meters back to the Booth. Well, that's just the excuse he needs to pull over this ugly farang. He waves me over to the side & pooying opens the Window, I hand over my International Driver's Licence and my Passport and after a brief inspection he can't seem to find another excuse to detain us any longer but before he hands over my papers, he takes off his shades and a conversation ensues in Thai between him and pooying, he takes out a pen and pad and scribbles some notes on his pad. They keep talking for a while and I'm impatient to take off, finally after lots of smiles and winks he hands over the papers & pooying closes the window. Few! I thought. No fine, no payoff, nothing. Weird? Later, pooying explains he took her mobile number coz he wanted to get his end away! Two days later he calls her "asking her out"! She declines….
2. We stop in Buriram town Center and we are both hungry. Pooying knows what she wants. And she wants it ALREADY! She's tells me that she's never been here before but she seems to know instinctively where she can get what she craves, Papaya Salad. So we stop and park the car and head into the Restaurant and take our seats. She orders and I ask for a small beer. Shit! I left the cigarettes in the car, so over I go. I get to the car and "Oh No!", I left the keys inside the car and all the doors are locked. I couldn't believe it! I go back and tell her I'd be back in a few minutes, just going to buy some smokes. So there I am in Buriram town center looking for clothes shops. I go into about three or four different stores trying to explain in sign language that I need some hangers for my shirts! I finally get through to this guy and he goes round the back and brings forth a big smile and a pack of 20 wire hangers. I hand over 50 baht and he proceeds to get me change but I say "Khop Kun Krap" and leave with a smile. I get back to the restaurant and sit down to eat. I put the pack of hangers on the floor and pooying looks down, then looks at me as confused like a Yorkshire terrier twisting its head. I explain what's happened but tell her "Mai pen rai, we eat first ok, na?". We eat away and the rice & pork is delicious! Finally, we pay up and go over to the car. I untwist one of these hangers and start prodding down the passenger door window. I'm there for at least 10-15 mins but no luck. Suddenly, some Thai man who was eating there with his family comes up and talks to pooying. She tells me "You go with him". So off we go in his car driving around Buriram. We stop next to this store where there's and old woman standing in the doorway. The man talks to the old woman and the old woman goes inside. The old woman talks to an old man inside and old man comes out pushing his moped down onto the road and off we go back to the restaurant. The old man follows on his moped. We get back to the restaurant and the old man immediately gets down to business. He jolts the door open with a long screwdriver and lifts up the lock knob with a specialized, custom-home made hook. He opens the door in 2 minutes flat. I'm amazed! Pooying tells me he wants 200 baht. I give him 500 and say "Khop Kun Krap Maaaaaak" There is not a single scratch to be seen anywhere!
3. We're driving town to Chonburi from Korat to see my pooying's sister on a typical Thai highway. Now I'm cruising at about 110 – 120kph and there are hardly any cars on the road. Now and then, there's the odd flash flood shower so I have slow down to about 80kph and put on the lights and the wipers full speed. Suddenly, its all over. I put the wipers on 'occasional speed' and I go back to 110-120kph. In a while we catch up with this pick-up truck but he's swaying all over the highway, going from the slow lane to the fast lane and back again. I slow down and keep at a comfortable distance behind him for a while, and at this point my lights are still on due to the dark stormy clouds, so I think, he knows I'm back there. I indicate to overtake to the fast lane and as I begin to accelerate he gently pulls over to the fast lane right in front of me. Shit man! What's he doing? I break and keep my distance again for a while, thinking maybe he's drunk or something. He goes back into the slow lane, so I try again, I slowly accelerate and move into the fast lane again. He does it again! He won't let me overtake! I can't believe it. It's like one of those Hollywood road movies! I look at pooying in disbelief and she says "Him crazy!" After a couple of more tries, I give up. We stop at the next gas station.
4. We're in Pang Nga and its about 500k to Hua Hin and we want to get there a.s.a.p. because pooying is sick and there she has friends. It's about 5pm when we leave. Luckily enough she falls asleep so she can't keep telling me to "Slowly, Slowly" every 20 mins. However, every now and again there's the odd bang as we fly over a nasty pothole and she wakes up and complains "Slowly, Slowly"! Then, instantly goes back to sleep. It's dark and the traffic is quite light. On some stretches the road is perfect and I'm going so fast that I feel like Kerouak racing across the States where "The Continent was Unfolding beneath him" (Classic!). Most of the time though, I'm doing 150-160kph and take most of the cars on the road. About a couple of hours into the drive, there are 3 of us doing similar speeds. There's us in our Rentacar, there's one red BMW Series 7 and another flashy silvery Japanese pickup truck. Over the next course of 3 hours or so, we keep over taking each other and although I am not in any particular mood for a race or anything, I feel these other two really want a race. So, I don't race them, but I DO challenge them, and "Boy, they don't like it!". I am pretty certain they are Thai, but with those tinted Windows, it's anybody's guess. We also have tinted Windows, but much lighter. I keep up with these guys and on the odd occasion, when they least expect it, I cheekily overtake them, but as soon as I do, they fiercely speed up again and take me back. This got to the stage where its was become a bit creepy, and I decided, I better slow down and let them go, otherwise I might get a nasty surprise! We stop at a gas station & buy some coffee & some mineral water for pooying. Oh! That was (scary) fun!
5. I need to find a hotel fast because in 1 hour the Rentacar has to be back at the Lumphini Office at 12 noon. I'm heading West on Rama V and I'm thinking of heading North on Wireless so on the next lights I want to take a right under the Belgian
Flyover but then I remembered I'd seen a nice Hotel down Sathorn. Suddenly, I change my mind and switch lanes over onto the middle lane but I've got one more lane to switch and I've got about 3 seconds to get onto the left hand
lane so I can head down Sathorn. I look in the mirror and all I can see on my left is a river of motorbikes racing towards me in the mirror. Fuck it I thought, I finally switch lanes onto the left, and this motorbike slams on his breaks and swerves
over onto my right just missing the car beeping his horn and waving his fist. "Sorry mate, I didn't see you coming", I thought. Now, I'm just onto Sathorn and there he is standing right in front of me, A Big Fat Brownie with
Big Fat Shades. He waves his hands & indicates that I should pull over on the left. I stop the car and open the Window. As he approaches I quickly snap my wallet from the door pocket and check my baht notes. I have quite a few hundreds in
there. He approaches with his black pad in the hand and starts yaking on in Thai. I say "Sorry Sir, I don't know Bangkok. First time I drive in Bangkok, Khort Ort. I take back Renatacar 12 O'clock" showing him my watch. He
demands my International Driver's Licence & I hand it over. He pulls out this list of Traffic Offenses in English and shows me the entry "Driving Cause Annoying" What? In broken English he says "You go Police Station. You
pay money". I try to explain I have 45mins and the car has to be back. He insists "You go Police Station. You pay money". I grab my wallet and open and count the 100 baht notes, I show him my money and say "I have 700 baht.
Sorry Sir! I must take care back 12 O'clock" showing him my watch again, looking as dumb farang as possible. He pulls out his hand and I hand over the cash. He counts the cash and he returns my Licence. He hesitates for a moment, and
on second thoughts, he gives me 100 baht change! Only in Thailand!
A few points to remember while on the road in LOS:
1. If you see any Brownies, slow down, look away, cover you face, scratch your nose, anything but let them notice you.
2. If a Brownie stops you, always have cash ready (not too much though)!
3. If they take your Licence, tell pooying to go pick it up, not you!
4. Never challenge another driver, ALWAYS back down!
5. Speed all you like when they're not watching, just don't get caught.
6. Don't drink-drive, except in pooying's village
7. Watch what gas those kids put in your tank!
8. Check your change at the Gas Station
9. Make sure your spare is ok, lot's of potholes!
10. Fill up at 11pm (if they all still close before 12midnight)
11. If you lock the car, don't forget the keys inside!
Driving in Thailand is a nightmare at first, but after that, it isn't so bad.