I’m not entirely certain that I’m staying in one of the more reputable hotels in Bangkok. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how many hotels usher you in through a side entrance because they are building a highway out the front. I can think of at least one. Still, I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the staff when I arrived back from Thailand’s recent clash with Australia.
“Sawat dii,” they all said, clasping their hands in unison. “Congratulations on the victory!”
“Thank you!” I replied, smiling jovially and no doubt looking slightly demented. “Mind you, I didn’t actually play myself. I just watched!”
Cue worried faces from the bemused staff.
Nevertheless their demeanour was an improvement on the behaviour of Bangkok’s notorious cabbies. Taxi’s in Bangkok are a bit like elections. There’s always one around the corner, and you just know they are going to be useless.
Catching a taxi after Australia had thumped Thailand proved a difficult proposition.
“Hello, will you take me to the Hotel de Concrete, please?” I would ask.
“Get out,” the cabbie would reply, evidently hoping for a larger fare, although I’m not sure where he expected to go – the planet Mars, perhaps?
My next tactic proved equally unsuccessful. Hailing a cab on busy Ramkhamhaeng Road, I simply sat down and refused to move until the driver took me to my salubrious destination. This had the effect of further grid-locking the capital’s already choked streets, as my cabbie and I locked horns in a tense stand-off for control of the meter. It took the driver behind us stepping out to retrieve what I presume was a baseball bat for me to flee the scene.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been wearing my …