Janine and I have been in Thailand for almost three weeks already and we've been so busy, I simply haven't managed to update my journal with all the exciting news about our trip. Over here you just experience crazy stuff on a daily basis that you wouldn't dream of happening in the "western world".
So this post it's all about Taxis.
We had spent two wonderfull days on Phi Phi and yesterday we left with a ferry and had a taxi booked to bring us to the airport of Phuket. The lady at the travel agency had told us the ferry would arrive at 4 pm and it would take about 50 minutes by Taxi to get to the airport. So there shouldn't be a problem catching our flight at 6:25p. Well.. the ferry arrived 4:30 and even though we found our taxi right away.. we didn't hit the road until about 4:40p. Our taxi driver was aware of our timing situation and promised to drive quickly. Well... there wasn't anything he could do about the traffic jam that would occur just about that time of the day. He was racing, still, and we were sweating on the backseat, I've never experienced a ride like that in my life, not even in Bangkok. At 5.45p we arrived at the airport. We checked in, and had even time to have a burger at the gate for a late lunch.
In Bangkok we had planned to go to a tailor first where we had suits ordered before we left Bangkok at the beginning of our trip. We got in a taxi and hit the road quickly. Only it turned out the driver was unable to read the business card the tailor had given us. It had instructions on it writtin in Thai, so any Taxi driver should've been able to read it. Whenever i asked if everything was ok, the answer was "yes, ok" but nothing seemed OK. Our driver just didn't leave the impression of knowing where he should bring us. Still we were driving – somewehere. Suddenly he stopped, got out of his Taxi, to read the business card by holding it in front of his car headlamps, as if he could read it better like that. He couldn't. We decided to give up on the tailor and have him bring us to the hotel, directly. So we gave him the business card of the hotel, with instructions on it... "Ok, ok.".. he seemed to know.
After a while he stopped at a gas station. While waiting in line, he showed our hotel business card to some other guy and it seemed like he was asking for directions. Oh no.. we thought, he still didn't know where to go. We kind of got mad. We'd been sitting in that taxi for over half an hour already and the driver had no clue where to bring us even though I told him the street name multiple times and gave him the hotel's card and all he knew to say was "yes, ok, ok, i know". At least, after asking, he seemed to have a clue and turned around and for a while we were going just were we came from. Anyways.. we made it to the hotel.
That was yesterday.
Today we had to show up at the tailor for the final fittintg so he'd be able to deliver our suits tomorrow, because we're leaving Bangkok tomorrow. After leaving the hotel we got ourselves a taxi to bring us to the tailor and having learned from yesterday we didn't enter the taxi before the driver had made clear to us he knew where to go. That way we had to dismiss the first taxi that apparently didn't have a clue: Are they all illiterate over here? Also I had looked it all up on a map and positioned ourselves at a crossroad that would allow the driver to go the right way immediately. The second driver seemed to know and we got in. But as he starts driving he keeps staring at the card and well... starts going in the wrong direction. I repeatedly told him the name of the road where we wanted to go and he put it in his car navigation.. at least he had one. All that happened while driving in the wrong direction, of course, so the first thing we had to do was turn around, which he didn't seem to agree with. So we went the wrong way again.
After having spent what seemed like another hour in traffic we got to the road we were heading for. It was crossing the road we were on and of course there was the possibility to go left or right. The car navigation said "left" but apparently he had not put the house number in so that information was worthless. I told him to go right and after some short discussion he missed the crossroad and went right on the next street. Of course he didn't trust me and decided to stop after a minute and ask some worker on the street where to go. That guy told him to turn around and go the other way. And so he did and left us cursing on the back seat having the map on our laps. So he went the wrong way again and got stuck in some kind of market. There he started to question more people and we decided to get out of the taxi and find some Tuk Tuk to bring us. Those Tuk Tuk drivers just seemed to know better about local shops than taxis.
Our tailor was just down the road but we didn't quite know how far. After some negotiation we found a Tuk Tuk driver who would bring us for 20 Baht (about 40 Euro Cent). We gave him the business card, he looked at it, read it, and everything seemed fine. The first literate person we met that day. So we got in but.. instead of just going down the road the turned right at the next cross road and I was like what the f...?!. I followed our route on the map and it could've made sense at first but after a while aIthought we were way far off track again. The Tuk Tuk stopped and the driver asked us if we were in the right road and I was about to jump at him. So slowly I explained to him, again, where we wanted to go. Ohhh! he said, and also: That will cost 50 Baht, because we have to go way back. I started to argue and we ended up being kicked out of the Tuk Tuk. Well.. at least we didn't pay for that. :-)
Then we decided to walk. I got the map out again and we walked back. And it just took us like 20 minutes or so. The tailor was almost next to the market where the taxi had left us... oh well.
The suits looked good, btw. They'll be finished tomorrow and be sent to our hotel. nice stuff. Cashmere. :-)