Death Defying… well, on a good day

If you are on the road in Thailand you are taking your life into your own hands. Which is a really stupid expression since don’t we always have our lives in our own hands and is that so unusual except for perhaps very small children and passengers??? Anyway… The road here is a collection of participants. Two lanes, standard asphalt in the main areas. In Lane One–let’s call it your lane–is you, a driver or passenger on the LEFT side of the highway ala London. Also in your lane is that oncoming bus that is just barely passing the truck going 10 km/hour in Lane Two. Also in your lane is that pedestrian with his back to you just along the edge of the pavement. ALSO in your lane is that motorbike which is just going a short distance on this side but in the opposite direction and really why bother to go to the correct side? And is this all that’s in your lane? Did I mention the two chickens? All participants are moving at speeds varying from 3 km/hr (pedestrian) to 85 km/hour (chicken–they’re not dumb enough to hang around long). It is a melange shall we say of radiator grills, rotting teeth and shit-covered feathers. No one is wearing a seat belt, no one on the motorbikes has a helmet–not the driver, not his wife sitting sidesaddle with a muslim veil in the wind, not the toddler between the two, not the infant wedged against the handlebars by dad’s chest. And how does all this work? you might ask. Well… it doesn’t. Thailand has the highest traffic fatality rate per capita in the world. I read an article a couple weeks ago that they can’t even pick up all the dead bodies fast enough which has lead to a rise in karma-shoppers, people who listen to the scanners to run and snatch bodies and haul them to the morgue to gain good karma for the favor. What the–???

All this being said, today I rented a motorbike. Six bucks per day? Are you kidding???

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