Look Left. Look Right. Look Left Again.

Remember that old video game called Frogger?  It was something like a frog trying to cross a street, while dodging cars in every lane?  That’s kind of what it’s like trying to cross the street in Bangkok.

I mean, I thought getting back to our hotel in Vegas was unnecessarily dangerous.  And truth be told, it still baffles me that walking to one street away from the Vegas Strip required walking in between two directions of traffic, scaling a 60 foot cement retaining wall and searching for sidewalks on well-travelled city streets, all in order to avoid having to cross a highway on foot.  And this was on the Vegas strip, where a good chunk of the population is inebriated at any given time, especially since alcohol is sold day and night from street vendors.  But the craziness of trying to walk off the Vegas strip pales in comparison to trying to cross a street in Bangkok.

You’re on the lookout for trucks, vans, cars, buses, bikes, tuk tuks and scooters, all moving along in a beautiful dance that they somehow know the rules to – though those rules are not readily apparent to someone just passing through .  There are a few stoplights, and for the most part (except for the last 5 seconds or so of the red light) people obey them.  But with that one exception, it’s pretty much every man for himself out there.

You can’t just look left and right.  You must look left and right and left and right and don’t stop looking just because you’ve started to cross, because the drivers, especially the scooter drivers, will come out of nowhere take the right of way because – hey, they’re on wheels and you’re not.  And it’s not like there aren’t other distractions.  Pedestrians, and vendors, hollering and calling to each other.  Tuk tuk drivers trying to get your attention, wanting to take you anywhere for a flat fee that will probably be higher once you get to your destination.  And even the drivers themselves.

There are a lot of things you wouldn’t seen driving along in a major city in North America, the most blatant of which is the scooter drivers with children.  Some so young you can’t even believe it.

I didn’t get a picture of the mother with her six-month old kid tucked into her jacket, riding a scooter, in the rain.  Can you just imagine the outrage in Toronto?


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