Thailand Grand Prix

Urban traffic, Thailand by Roger Lemoyne

There are many things I like about living in Thailand and my recent return has brought new joys for me—but not necessarily my wife.

Thailand is filled with exotic temples, fruits, beautiful women and scenes that will stay with you all of your life. Of course I missed many of these things while going back to the States for a year, but one thing I’m finding great joy in is driving.

Now if you’ve ever been to Thailand or most any country with few imposed driving regulations you might think I’m crazy. Can’t argue with you there. The lack of enforced regulations is the thing I like and I believe that it keeps road-rage down to a bare minimum. In fact I rarely hear about an incident of road-rage here.

When I first arrived in Thailand it was pretty much ‘anything goes’ on the speedways and small roads. It has improved to a degree but it’s still fun to watch. There is an etiquette to driving here, but it’s aggressive. If you are timid you’ll find yourself pushed to the side of the road and probably in tears. Drivers cut one another off, make their own lane, use the emergency lane—the rough lane on the outside—as a high speed passing lane and of course backup when they miss a turn. It’s crazy but I join in the circus and have a great time. In the cities a two lane–on your side—can quickly turn into a five lane road and no one seems to be bothered.

Talk about a way to relieve personal stresses! I take to the road and my worries vanish as I concentrate on the business at hand. When driving Thai friends and neighbors they always comment on how I drive just like a Thai. To me that’s a great compliment even if it’s not meant that way. People who come to visit from the States usually close their eyes for the first couple of days and the sounds of prayers are sometimes heard after a trip. I’m pretty sure I’m getting a blessing…

If ever you come to visit I’ll certainly provide a crash helmet upon request. And, by the way, I’ve never had a crash in my pickup truck—the motorcycle is another story.

Even with the political turmoil here Thailand is still a very safe place to visit and you will hardly notice any problems unless you watch TV. The people are beautiful, friendly and forever smiling.