kaiserkuchen: (Community! SO CHANGRY INDEED)
[personal profile] kaiserkuchen
I have been meaning to post about this for ages; basically every time I have to drive the 100kms roundtrip into town I am mentally composing this entry. It certainly does wonders towards centering myself! I was nervous about this ever since I got the car in C'Mai and knew that I had to one day steer it through the streets of the capital but now I can with confidence say that DRIVING IN BANGKOK SUCKS. Ultimately dealable, but oh the frustration!

The actual act of driving is fine if various combinations of the following is true: A) you're on an expressway/tollway/elevated highway, B) you're either driving super early, smack dab in the afternoon or rather late at night or just C) YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY IN BANGKOK BUT EVEN IF YOU ARE YOU THINK YOU'RE THE BIGGEST PIMP ON THE ROAD AND JUST DON'T GIVE A SHIT (and drive a hugeass pick-up or SUV). The roads here are mostly okay and I have been lucky enough not to live in areas where when it floods the roads are totally impassible (as often happens right now, pretty scary water levels up-country in certain provinces, augh), and I rarely actually have to drive IN town because this entry would be much, much more longer and bitter otherwise ...but the biggest problem about driving in Thailand in general remains EVERYONE ELSE ON THE ROAD.

NO LIES. Most people either straight-up bought their licenses somewhere shady, cheated like woah on the tests, which already aren't the most strenous or cost-intensive of things and would probably give all Europeans or at least the Germans/Austrians I know hives re: what you actually learn about traffic rules, or just don't give a fuck, which all means that the quickest thing you learn on the streets is defensive driving to the max. People suddenly veering over into the lane they want to change into, heedless of actually USING THE TURNSIGNALS (NO ONE EVER DOES THIS AUGH FUCKERS) and the other cars, only to then switch lanes abruptly again because ehhhh, that choice wasn't so good after all. Or the ones who just cruise around in the middle of the dotted line, since keeping one's options open about which lane to use is more important that whether you're blocking it for the rest of the people. Or the speed demons who flash their fucking lights at you when you're doing a perfectly legit high speed in the fastlane. Or the crap that happens when there is traffic on the expressway and three lanes suddenly become FOUR and you have to be paranoid that some jackass who is in such a hurry will clip your car in his quest to squeeze past you so that he can be stuck in the standstill of traffic 3 meters ahead of you.

I have learned from experience now that the worst worst worst of offenders are the bus drivers though. The public buses that careen from lane to lane, cutting you off out of nowhere --which of course ISN'T ALARMING AT ALL RIGHT, especially if you're driving a smaller car like moi--, stopping in the middle of the road and just acting like giant dickfaces, and the private tour buses aren't all that better either. The taxis, motorbikes and tuk tuks are equally fuckers though, don't get me wrong and I have yelled many an obscenity (BEST ONE REMAINS: ไอ้เหี้ยยยยยยยยยย!/AI HEAAAAAAA/YOU WATER MONITOR LIZARD if literally translated, but meaning more like you worthless, base, despicable FUCKERRRR) and made hand gestures in the general directionn in the safety of my car. Can't actually honk my displeasure though, as you might get knifed or shot or something (...it has happened to people recently. Ahh, roadrage)

And the parking! Oh the parking! There is nothing more bitter than when you see that you COULD have had a parking space if some dipshit didn't actually park over two spaces because they just couldn't be bothered. GAH.

BUT, that venting aside, I still would take this over driving in Bali or Hanoi any damn day. The traffic there tended to be more than vaguely alarming to me and I have great respect for anyone who succeeds in driving there safely. Anyone have any driving stories to vent about with me? Now that I actually possess this skillset I want to hear other peoples' battle-stories, too :DD

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-24 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] branquignole.livejournal.com

God, that sounds like a nightmare. I really don't think I could drive under these circumstances. The worst I know is driving in Mannheim which, for German standards, is pretty horrible- so many lanes skjdsj;slsk so many jerks on the roads. Don't you just love it when you indicate you want to change lanes, see the person beside you slowing down to supposedly let you file in in front of them and then ACCELERATING ALL OF A SUDDEN BECAUSE SERIOUSLY TWO SECONDS IS TOO LONG TO TAKE TO CHANGE LANES NOW YOU'VE LOST YOUR CHANCE I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU ALL DAY.

I live in a smaller town though, and while driving is really easy-peasy here, people just feel so ~entitled. There is so much honking and general stupidity à la this car is going 2 km/h less than I am, must pass it ~now going on like you wouldn't believe. :D I think they bought their licenses from the same shady places people in Bangkok got theirs from, hee.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-25 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaiserkuchen.livejournal.com
They get pretty huge too, and I will never get over how weird it is to see them in parks downtown (like HERE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzwk4HklYoM) lol the dude going "that's a HUGE fucking lizard...") or in the canals near office buildings. DINOSAURS AMONG USSSSS.

It's weird that I would also be totally nervous about driving in Germany/Austria though-- ignoring the intense confusion the whole switched sides thing re: which side of the road to drive on and which side of the car the driver's seat is located, I think I couldn't help but feel that SOMEHOW the police would just know that I didn't get my driver's license there XDD. That there was some eensy but vital traffic rule that I wouldn't get (also I have the bad habit of driving barefoot, which my German friends tell me can get your license yoinked. BUT I WEAR FLIPFLOPS ALL THE TIME, my way feels much safer). The whole Punkte abziehen thing when the cops catch you fucking up also sounds very alarming. BUT ANYWAYS. I agree that the more lanes on a road= higher chance for mayhem. Changing lanes is an undertaking that always makes me paranoid anyways, and having some dick rush you or change his mind like that just doesn't help things, gahhhh.

I never though I'd have so many opinions about driving, but then I actually got my license and BOOM hear me go XDD

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-28 01:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] branquignole.livejournal.com
Holy frick, that is one huge lizard. o.o

That's not weird at all! I think it's perfectly normal to be nervous about driving in another country, no matter how much the rules do or do not differ. People drive differently everywhere, and I would be horribly nervous about driving anywhere else, gah. Driving barefoot though, SERIOUS OFFENSE. :D I think it's got something to do with the fact that your bare feet don't really have much of a grip on pedals, though I do agree that it's probably safer than driving with flipflops, hee. The Punkte thing is not all that alarming though; you actually ~get Punkte for breaking certain rules, but it's mostly stuff like parking offenses or speeding. It's pretty easy to avoid Punkte. (:

Haha, IKR. I used to be annoyed with my sister for talking about driving so much, but I was exactly the same when I got my license. SO MANY FEELINGS.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-04 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaiserkuchen.livejournal.com
It's like a mini dinosaur! BLAST FROM THE PASTTTT.

Dude, I actually would argue that I feel like I have BETTER grip and control when I drive barefoot-- I can differentiate the feel of the gas/break pedals and nuance the pressure better. Though I guess one would get used to it pretty fast with shoes on in colder climes when one isn't constantly wearing open shoes (also constantly removing shoes could get old after a while, especially in winter lol). The one time I drove with sneakers on felt weiiiiiiiiiiiiiird though *whines*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-24 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qian.livejournal.com
Urgh, I hate monitor lizards. I APPROVE OF THAT INSULT

I'm laughing at your description of driving offences with the happy familiarity of someone who only has to see these things from the passenger seat. (I have a Malaysian driving licence, but have had very little opportunity to use it.)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-25 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaiserkuchen.livejournal.com
It's just so fun to say, too. It's that -EAAAAAAAAAA sound lol, *srs nods*. Speaking of monitor lizards, I am still bitter I didn't get a chance to take pictures of that very memorable anti senate-voting "Just Say No" campaign (ridic message, because PEOPLE SHOULD VOTE) which had the tagline "don't let animals into the senate" and had posters of be-suited men with buffalo/grinning jackal-dogs/monitor lizards/monkeys and etc heads in a very well designed and quite hilarious manner. Very straightforwardly insulting too, which is still quite shocking in mainstream Thai politics, or at least when it comes to their campaign posters.

I am soothed(?) to hear that our Southern neighbours are also such ...delightful drivers lolol. How was the whole procedure for when you were prepping for your M'sian license?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-25 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miabee023.livejournal.com
... I am suddenly very glad I live in the state of Washington, where everyone is a nice driver to the point of absurdity, such as letting someone into standstill traffic even if they've only been waiting all of two seconds. (Well, except there was that guy today who honked at me for going around a corner too slowly. That person was decidedly abnormal.) I dunno, it always amuses me when people come visit us from other states and we'll be driving around crappy traffic in downtown Seattle and they'll suddenly remark, "... nobody's honking!" and we all just look at them like, "... yes?"

I mean, it probably also helps that I live in the US, where everything is ENORMOUS. My sister is taking some German friends of hers on a roadtrip at the moment to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and so on, and we all had a good laugh when we received their postcard, which included the choice phrase of:

Everything is bigger than I thought it would be and I love America.

Best insult ever, though. I will have to start shouting that at people who drive a consistent 5 mph under the speed limit, aka THE THING I HATE MOST IN THE WORLD.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-25 07:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaiserkuchen.livejournal.com
......I actually cannot imagine that, lol. I feel so magnamious when I stop for jaywalking pedestrians already (the only kind we have lol walkover bridges what walkover bridges) instead of being a dick like most other people... Also some of the jaywalkers are ballsy as fuck, eventhough I'm a local I still stick to the tried and true method of waiting for a little clump of people to cross the street with, operating under the idea that while someone might be happy to run one person over and hightail it, a group of more than 3 makes this more unlikely to happen XDD.

Heeee! I can only assume the same thing will happen to me when I eventually make it over to the States as well-- one sees the pictures and all, but I don't think it's quite fathomable unless you've actually been there yourself. Grand Canyon roadtrip sounds excellent though!

Also I am very glad to have shared this vital nugget of Thai language to you then ;D ONLY THE CHOICEST OF INSULTS FOR YOU TO USE, MY FRIEND <33

(no subject)

Date: 2011-08-26 04:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miabee023.livejournal.com
Aw yeah, jaywalking out of necessity. It's a fairly common saying that you know you're from Seattle when you find yourself standing at a street corner at 2 am in the pouring rain with no car in sight, waiting for the walk signal to light up. So as you might expect, it was a bit of a challenge for me to adapt to the Italian method of crossing the street, which, similar to Bangkok it seems, largely consists of boldly stepping into speeding traffic, confident that all the cars will magically stop for you. But! I daresay I got rather good at it, and had a good time leading my parents around Matera this summer and watching my mother have to stifle her natural instinct to yank me backwards whenever I stepped off the sidewalk.

I can only hope you will someday be able to enjoy my country! Do try to swing by the Northwest, where the weather is always mild and there are no insects. And, I mean, we also have dramatic mountain and water views around practically every turn. So that's pretty awesome too.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-04 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaiserkuchen.livejournal.com
Ahaha oh man, the Seattle way is adorable and the Italian way also seems very similar to what I have seen of the German/Austrian way. Though there is also the added fact there that it's because people EXPECT drivers adhere to traffic rules like stopping at zebra crossings and thus stride forth in full confidence when cars are incoming. Which I had the biggest difficulties accepting, much to my European friends' bafflement... but my strategy of always thinking the worst of drivers has been proven well-founded in Asia so I'm sticking with it lol. How did you find the traffic to be in Turkey when you were there?


(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-06 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miabee023.livejournal.com
While the Italian and German/Austrian ways may be similar, I'm pretty sure they arise from very different causes. Namely, while the Germans/Austrians are wonderfully law-abiding people, the Italians are simply so full of an overwhelming confidence that the universe would stand still if they told it to that stepping off the curb in raging traffic, even if there is no zebra crossing in sight, is no big deal.

The traffic in Turkey was fairly composed, actually - like, definitely more of a free-for-all than Seattle (admittedly, that is not hard to accomplish), but there were lights for crosswalks and such, which always makes you feel slightly more secure.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-03 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laulan.livejournal.com
People don't use turn signals?! That alone would give me the vapors! O_O I am in awe of your, O Brave Driver.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-04 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaiserkuchen.livejournal.com
It's like you almost have to practice telepathy on your fellow motorists-- "is that Toyota just drifting towards the lane divider lines because he's an asshole and can't or OH WAIIIIIT he just switched over abruptly yup yup who needs turn signals amirite :///"



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