Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In a Bangkok Taxi

I decide I want to see Bangkok at night from up on high. I pick up my friend Tuk and tell her we are going to the Baiyoke Tower, the tallest building in Bangkok and somewhat of a landmark in the great Metropolis of Bangkok.

We jump into a taxi. 'The Baiyoke Tower please' I say to the driver. He looks at me in the rearview mirror, clearly uncomprehending. I repeat the destination and then add, for good measure, it is where the Sky Baiyoke Hotel is. Pause. 'What street?' he asks.

Ummmm.....I have no idea what street it is on, all I know is it is the tallest building in Bangkok!

So, I say: 'sorry I do not know which street it is on'.

Long pause..... distant stars exploded and new galaxies were born....this was a really long pause...


Driver: 'You have map?'
Me: 'No sorry, I have no map'.
Tuk: 'why you no have map honey?'
Me: 'Well honey', I say with a fixed smile over my by now gritted teeth, 'I thought a taxi driver in Bangkok would know where the Baiyoke Tower is, after all it is the tallest building in Bangkok.'

A light bulb magically appears above my head! Maybe that is the solution I think to myself. Instead of saying the Sky Baiyoke I should say 'I would like to go to the tallest building in Bangkok please' and that is precisely what I do.

More distant stars die and new galaxies form as this information is digested.........

There then follows a bit of back and forth in Thai between Tuk and the driver. Tuk again turns to me and says: 'Honey, where is it near?'.

Now Tuk, a dusky beauty from Issan, is a Bangkok resident of at least three years standing, and had professed to having been to that very same building once before and it was not unreasonable of me to think that between the two of them they could have figured out where it was I wanted to go, bearing in mind it is not only the tallest building in Bangkok, but the tallest building anywhere in the whole Kingdom!  But never mind, this is Thailand, and this is all part of the rich tapestry that makes Thailand such an exciting place. So, I needed to be a bit more creative. Where was it near? Well, the day before I remember walking past the Big C department store and observing that the 'tallest building in Bangkok' was very close by.

So, I said: 'Its near Big C'.
Driver: 'You want to go Big C?
Me: Yes, yes I do, thanks.
Driver: 'Big C closed now'.
Me: Ok, but can we drive past it anyway?

Ok, so off we go. A minute or two later I remembered reading in a guide book that the Pratunam market was right by the 'tallest building in Bangkok', so I say to the driver 'Pratunam market!'. Tuk turns to me and says 'you want go Pratunam market?' 'Yes, honey I do!' A minute later and I can see the 'tallest building in Bangkok'. 'Look T', I exclaim loudly and excitedly, 'see that big building? That is the tallest building in all of Thailand. That is where we are going'. She looks at me: 'I know, I go there before, but I thought we go market?'

Thailand, you gotta love it. 

Baiyoke Tower II

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