Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One of my adventures

My notebook is full of little sketches of maps that I’ve made after glimpsing something exciting from a taxi. I will have scribbled down shop names or soi numbers as landmarks and made cryptic notes like ‘basket shops’ or ‘red Chinese drum things’ to remind me what I’d seen from the taxi that I’d thought worth going back to explore. My Thai doesn’t stretch to ‘Ooh, can we stop for a second? I want to take a picture/see what’s in that shop but I'm not doing a runner and will be back a minute.’

The other day I was intent on going to Mega Bridge to take photos. Mega Bridge is, well, it’s mega; huge so there’s no mistaking it but it’s not a destination in itself. ‘I want to go to [destination]’ is part of my every day Thai but equipped with the new phrase ‘I want to take photographs’ I set off downstairs to find a taxi.

Taxis are plentiful but it’s a lottery what sort of experience you’re going to get. They’ll often refuse to take you (either because they don’t know where it is or because they don’t want to go that way (wtf?) or because your pitiful Thai hasn’t worked.) We have a family tactic to get into the taxi before telling him where we want to go: a sort of ‘bums on seats are nine tenths of the law’ attitude.

Astonishingly the first taxi didn’t tell me to get out. Our conversation (in Thai) went something like this:
Me: I want to go to Mega Bridge.
Him: *disbelief* Mega Bridge?
Me: Yes, Mega Bridge. I want to take photos.
Him: *Grunt*
Me: *squinting, placing imaginary camera in front of face and clicking*
Him *Grunt* Sort of assent.

We set off in silence and I began to doubt that it was a result. As soon as I spotted the bridge, I began to take pictures so he’d get the idea. Very slowly, he began to thaw. He asked me would I like him to go over the bridge; we did and then we came back over to the starting shore. We stopped at the side of roads, in the middle of the bridge (yikes) and under the bridge. When I thought I was being dropped at a destination and I tried to pay him. No, no, he said, not finished.

When I got back into the taxi, he was on the phone. He passed the handset to me to speak to a Thai man who spoke perfect English. “He wants to know where you’d like to go next.” We agreed a route, winding up alongside the river, taking in two more bridges and I passed the phone back to the taxi driver. We set off again, stopping at a park that was shut and he got out and asked the guard if I could go in and take pictures…

He was wonderful. I had the best adventure.

(I'm under no illusions that I'm a photographer. I take pictures for reference only.)


liz fenwick said...

What a fabulous adventure and great pictures too...mega bridge is a good description btw!


Leigh said...

Wow, oh wow! What great pictures/driver/adventure! I admire your determination - you're an inspiration!! x

Jenny Beattie said...

Thanks Liz. It's not my description; it seems to be the nickname. It's officially named after the King.

Leigh, thank you petal. I need to go and see new things otherwise I stop seeing...

Carol said...

Makes me feel a bit homesick!

(Wow that was a one in a million taxi driver!)

C x

Flowerpot said...

What incredible pictures JJ - amazing!

Ragged Thread Cartographer said...

What Leigh said ... and I like your label 'good heart'! Exactly. Lovely.

Jenny Beattie said...

Carol, *grins* I could've been flung out, couldn't I?

Flowerpot, thank you. Pictures weren't great but it's a jolly impressive structure.

RTC, thank you. The notion of 'heart' is very important to Thais - hence my way of thanking him.

Pattaya said...

Who could have thought that the taxi driver you "gruntled at" at first in Thailand turned out to be a nice guy and a thoughtful "temporary tour guide"?;)I can't wait to go to Bangkok and see the Mega Bridge too. I'ts gonna be a wonderful Thai travel!:)

Susie Vereker said...


Luizze Oliveira said...

Great picture of your adventure journey. I really appreciate you for your adventure tour.I have also best memories of my African adventure tour like you.

Le canton swiss mountain resort