Sometimes (usually when I'm on the bus and the reality of it hits home) I'm appalled that I make my children catch a bus to school that leaves at 6.30am. But when I get downstairs and see what teeny tiny children are being sent by other parents to schools all over Bangkok and I look at my big thugs....then I give myself a break.
Our bus snakes out into the green route (back roads) and we meet other school buses, coming in and out of different condos; we give way to a Japanese school's minibus and then a guard blows the whistle to signal us in to the entrance to pick up our next child or group. It all appears so carefully choreographed that it reminds me of the dance of the fork lift trucks. (I'll have to look for that on YouTube from home to link it.)
I always think of the person whose job it it to organize the buses and what a massive, horrifying job it is. All the buses come in for the same start time but the finish time is different for kindergarten, from early years and different again for the rest of school. Depending on after school activities you can be on the end of school bus, the late bus or the late late bus. They even accept changes to the system: I just email to ask 'please can you put Daughter on the late bus today?' If I were in charge, presuming I did manage to get it organized in the first place, I'd scream 'NOOO! It's all set in stone NO CHANGES ALLOWED.' There's a huge fleet of buses (100 or 200 I'm guessing) and they wend their way all over Bangkok picking up the kids and taking them to school. If I'm at school for the end of the day when they repeat the whole thing in reverse I'm even more in awe. Just thinking about the whole logistics of such an operation is enough to bring me out in hives.
As we get closer to school I spot other buses with their code numbers on the back window to denote their route, all heading to the same destination. I'm not sure any of my talents are particularly useful but when we arrive at school, get ticked off by the girl with the clip board and slide into our numbered space, I give thanks that someone has the particular skill to work out how to get nearly 2,000 kids in and out of school on time. I can't even catch the right train on my own.
But I do love Bangkok at this time of day. The traffic moves, the weather is tolerable and the monks are out walking barefoot with their alms bowls. Perhaps I should go out more often at 6.30am....