The Slowest Taxi in the World

I’ve arrived safely after a particularly grueling flight arrangement – or am I getting old?? Missed my Thai connection in Tokyo after 11 hours of flying from Vancouver Canada due to delayed flight, enjoyed instead a long layover in the bare airport hallways of Narita Airport. Finally got on the last flight to Bangkok (and another 6 hours) which had technical problems and we sat on the runway for 2 hours. When I finally arrived in BK after 24 hours of travelling and yearning for the journey to end, I naturally ended up with the slowest taxi driver in the world.’

Thankfully it was 1:30 am so no traffic to speak of which I would have thought to be a great opportunity to scream down the highways which is normally how it’s done here whenever possible, but no. It was not to be. Maybe his brakes didn’t work very well and he wanted to take it cautiously? Which wouldn’t have surprised me. The speedometer didn’t work either. Nor did the gas gauge, the seatbelts, the windows, the driver’s side door (so he got in on the passenger side). Nor did the headlights work but never mind. And never mind that I was brutally tired. What I now really needed was a taxi driver spending the next 10 minutes pondering the pros and cons of my destination:

“Hmmm, Siam Hotel ….. hmm…. Siam….. eeeehhh….. hmmmmmm……. Siam….. Siam??” “Yes, Siam at Siam Design Hotel!!” “Hmmmmmmm, Siam……. eeeeeeh….. Siamm”

Out comes his thick reading glasses (did I mention his eyes didn’t work either?) then staring at my translated hotel directions in Thai: “Hmmmm…..Siam”.

This went on for at least another 5 minutes. May I also mention that he hadn’t yet started his car which meant I was sitting inside a small metal box in 34C and 110% humidity? He then rearranged his glove compartment collection, it seemed, of various reading glasses in small plastic bags, fiddled with his taxi meter for a bit (which lo and behold, DID work), coughed, examined his mirrors, contemplated the existence of various deities (I’m guessing now), adjusted his seating arrangements and then, finally, lift-off!! At 30 km an hour, the world was rushing past me in a blur. No, wait, my eyes no longer worked because I was so tired. After asking for directions from various helpful by-standers including but not limited to street hawkers, off-duty policemen, other hotel doormen, a prostitute (guessing again), fellow night taxi drivers, the entire Thai Olympic basketball team (Ok, I was getting delirious), we eventually made our way to what will from here on out be known as “Hmmmmmmmm……Siammmm……Siam Hotel?” but not until my taxi driver stopped in the middle of the freeway to carefully examine his tires for at least 10 minutes after running something over on the highway – I’m not sure how he could have possibly NOT avoided the obvious debris we ran over – oh yes, his eyes, right!… and the headlights!

So, in the end, after all, I was finally delivered safely to my hotel and after a day like this, the wonderful thing is: you become so intensely grateful. For the smiling staff at the reception of Hotel HmmmmSiam!!Siam??, for taking your shoes off, for a cold glass of water, a glorious soft pillow and for the small miracles in this world.

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