There is something about being on a two-wheeled motorized vehicle that gets me all sorts of excited.
Thailand must have known I was coming; they devised a whole public transportation system consisting of thousands of orange-vested men willing to taxi me from destination to destination on the back of their motorbikes for less than an American dollar.
And when they do, the same scenario unfolds: I hop on side-saddle, grab the back of the seat handle as we speed off, allow a ridiculous smile to smear across my face, maybe shake my hair out like we’re filming a Pantene commercial, maybe give my motorbike driver a sniff to see if he put cologne on that morning, and more often than not, experience true happiness. It’s adrenaline-pumping and weird and I love it.
It’s like a magic carpet ride with Aladdin, except Aladdin is Thai and he may or may not be drunk, his carpet is a jacked-up scooter, and he doesn’t answer to “slow down.” It’s great.
Each ride is unique. The other day, I’m pretty sure a Thai Ted Nugent gave me a ride. Although he was toothless, dressed in leather chaps and drove a Harley – this was a first – I got off his bike feeling nostalgic for America. And then last week’s ride seriously rose my blood pressure – another first in my motorbike adventures – when I caught a ride in torrential rain pour, fearing a slow skid to my death in the drenched streets. Before that, my friend Heidi and I once hopped on a motorbike together. Three people on a bike isn’t a big deal around here. Families of four or more get on bikes together. But we’re American full-bottomed girls, together weighing more than a typical Thai family, and those tires don’t always seem capable. Nonetheless, we reached our Soi safely, and more importantly, batshit excited.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, a risk-taker, or lacking common sense, this is for you.
Back in the States, I’d never turn down a motorcycle ride. Here, it’s a practical albeit exhilarating way to get around. And it’s just as dangerous! Met a guy the other day who said he was going on his fourth motorbike accident.
But in Bangkok, transportation in general is dangerous. There are over 7.4 million registered vehicles in a city which can only accommodate 1.6 million. I could just as likely find my fate in a taxi, or crossing the street, or falling off a boat into a canal of lethally polluted water.
So if I go missing, don’t assume any of the aforementioned fatal occurrences happened. Assume I’ve pursued my dream career, and rest assured I’m OK, happily transporting passengers to their destinations in a city of nightmare traffic.
If I Go Missing: I often find myself in scenarios where I think, “what a great way of life,” or “I could do this for a living,” or “this has retirement written all over it.” For those instances, I’ve created this series in an effort to let my loved ones know where I might be if I disappear and escape ordinary life.