Monday, September 18, 2006
In case you're wondering at home, how we here in Thailand get where we want to go. And, I'm sorry to burst your bubbles, but we don't ride elephants around here. Actually, we use vehicles, just like you do. Though the gas is fortunately a lot cheaper here then it is over there. Lately Eng has become quite keen on the idea of buying an automatic motorcycle. (He isn't comfortable riding Linda's motorcycle which has gears.) He hopes to use the automatic one to get to and from work. Linda is now a long way from when she crashed our helper's motorcycle, bruising her entire leg. Shown left is a photo of Linda on her motorcycle. Behind her, though barely visible, is our car. It is quite old (15 years to be exact), and prone to creaking when going over speedbumps, but it works. People here also bicycle to many places, not simply reserved to their own neighbourhoods, but also to their workplaces and schools. It takes us 10-15 minutes on a bicycle to get to Grace International School where Linda is a Grade 1 Teaching Assistant and where the boys study.
But when those fail, we always have Chiang Mai's public transport system. Usually very inexpensive, it often comes down to a toss-up between taking a songthaew, or taking a tuktuk. A tuktuk (as shown on the left, below) is a motorcycle that has been added on to to allow for passengers. These are usually very fast, smoky, and pleasant if you like the wind in your hair. Songthaews on the other hand, are, if you have been to the Philippines, much like jeepneys, though not as colourful. As you can, hopefully, see from the picture on the bottom right, songthaews are basically pickups, with a roof and seats for passengers in the rear. As I have slowly come to learn from living in Chiang Mai, the red ones are like taxis, and will take you anywhere, while the yellow, white, or blue songthaews follow a route.