Thursday, November 10, 2016

Things I've Seen Thai People Do While Riding a Motorcycle

It seems that almost everyone here in Bangkok rides a scooter -- young, old, male, female, and even pets go along for the ride. I've compiled a list here of all the crazy-to-me, normal-to-them things I've seen Thai people do while riding a scooter.

Even food stalls are often attached to a bike for easy transport.
To properly imagine each of these scenarios, you need to keep in mind that most people aren't wearing a helmet and many of those who are leave the straps unbuckled, dangling below their chin. All of these examples are on moving motorcycles weaving in and out of cars, trucks, and buses on heavily congested roads.

So, here we go. Things I've seen Thai people do while riding a motorcycle:

I've seen teenage girls riding together, one driving and the other braiding the drivers' hair. I've seen toddlers sitting between their parents' knees, slumped on the handlebars, fast asleep. I've seen a woman carrying a sleeping newborn hop onto the back of a friends' scooter for a quick ride down the block. I've seen moms driving with kids my kids' age -- the little one on her lap, the big one sitting behind her mom, arms wrapped tightly around mom's waist.

I've seen motorcyclists drive on the wrong side of the street straight at me and my car. I've seen motorcycles squeeze through small spaces next to my car that I didn't even realize were motorcycle-sized. I once noticed a motorcyclist trying to squeeze between my car and another while I was stopped in heavy traffic. I opened the window, pulled in the mirror, he nodded his thanks, and drove on.

I've seen people transport large, heavy bags of rice or concrete or who knows what. I've seen people transport fans, blades whirring in the wind. I've seen people transport their Thai iced tea or coffee dangling in a bag from the handlebars. I've seen large dogs sitting on their owners' laps like a child and small dogs sitting at their owners' feet.

I've seen women very dressed up for work in tight skirts and high heels riding side saddle on a motorcycle taxi while texting on their latest model iPhone. I've seen people talking and texting while driving, too. I even witnessed two small accidents where the phone went flying to the ground and hit the pavement in three or four pieces.

Not like the US, right? Though, I think the US is the oddball country as most nations I've been to are more like Thailand. It's fun, crazy, dangerous and someday it will all feel normal.

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