I've had the misfortune to ride on the back of a motorcycle taxi in Thailand about 5 times..... Not being one for motorcycles, I use them only when necessary.
Having said that, I have a very positive view of the motorcycle taxi / taxi peeps of Thailand.. They are the first port of call if you get yourself in a muddle. For example, should you get a flatty whilst driving, you know there will be a taxi bod somewhere, willing to earn the extra sheckle, who'll take you to the tyre man.. If your car battery flats out - no problem - just find a cabbie, and you're on your way to getting fixed... They always know someone that can help, more importantly, they can take you to them.
But I'm definitely not at home on the back of a motorcycle taxi.. Firstly, I have no experience riding a bike.. I have no idea where my hands go...? The first few rides I took I clung on from behind like a baby monkey.. that's until recently I worked out that there is usually a handle bar grip on the back of the seat you can use to hang on for dear life (looking just that little bit cooler)
Anyway, on my most recent motorbike taxi ride, I was in Pattaya on my way somewhere, when I found myself behind two cops in the middle of an intersection of Sukhumvit.. I couldn't help get this picture of the two of them.
You wouldn't wanna meet them two on a dark Sukhumvit road block would you... WTF is the gun? Is that a dirty harry?
The perfect firearm for Pattaya I suppose... I wonder how many dirty harry's that gun has put out of action?
If you ever find yourself driving though the Big Mango, whilst navigating the speeding taxi's, runaway tuk tuk's, suicidal mopeds and hit and run bus drivers, don't fret, all these Thai road jokers will be kept on their toes by traffic 'scare crows' you see dotted around the capital.
These ingenious inventions scare the beejesus out of the road joker armies for at least 3 seconds, until they realise they are just a lump of plastic, and after which they carry on with their death defying antics.
I reckon they should be introduced in England for a laugh.
Maybe Brown could save himself some cash by hiring some Thai scare crow unit's instead of community police officers.
The scare crow unit could probably give community police a run for their money in terms of cost vs effectiveness.
Only in Thailand eh.
(Pic above: Fear not, Thailand's community police / scare crow unit are always ready).
A visit to the war cemetery at Kanchanaburi is a must do for all Brits who visit Thailand.
Kanchanaburi is the largest central province in Thailand, lying an hour North West of Bangkok. The province is the home of the River Kwai, made famous by the film 'The Bridge over the River Kwai'. Producers of the film are to blame
for giving the river the wrong spelling and mispronunciation (it is in fact pronounced ‘Khwae’ as in ‘way.’
The cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who take care of graves in 150 countries. Upon entering through the large white arches into the cemetery, you could be forgiven for thinking you have stepped into a little part of Europe, a calm, quiet, green field a thousands miles away from the bustling Thai soi's.
The graves are kept immaculately; lots of water sprinklers keep the grass as green as home, and help to absorb the heat from the hot Thai air. There were lots of tourists when we visited, milling around different sections of the cemetery, but the place remains tranquil.
The South Eastern corner is predominantly Dutch soldiers. The East part for Australians and New Zealanders, plus there are sections for India soldiers, and others, but the majority of the cemetery, well over half, is for fallen Brits, around 4000 headstones, lying in dozens of rows of up to ninety graves each.
You would need to spend the entire day there if you wanted to visit each grave and read each individual heart felt message. Soldiers from regiments from all over the UK, Royal Highland Fusiliers, The Royal Irish Regiment, Staffordshire Gunners, Worcestershire Artillery, Devonshire Infantry, Royal Regiment of Wales, Royal Anglican. The list goes on.
Some brief history? When the Japanese joined WW2 in 1941, several hours of fighting did actually take place between Thai and Japanese forces at Chumphon on the East coast of Thailand, close to the Myanmar border. It soon became clear that the Thai government really had little choice but to concede to Japanese demands for access into Thailand so their forces could advance and invade Burma (now Myanmar) and Malaysia.
The Japanese were very successful in over running large parts of South East Asia; once secure, they elected to build a single line railway to connect Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar and Ban Pong in Thailand, to create a more time efficient supply line between the two countries.
The Japs used POW's and civilian labour to carry out the leg work and construction, effectively putting two labour forces to work at opposite ends of the line, eventually meeting in the middle at Konkuita, Thailand in 1943.
In total, the Japanese 'Burma-Siam' railway project cost the lives of 15,000 prisoner of war, and over 100,000 civilians.
Kanchanaburi is home to the largest of three cemeteries on the Burma-Siam railway, and located near to the 'Kanburi' Prisoner of war camp, where many prisoners of the Japanese passed through on their way to other camps.
Kanchanaburi holds the graves of many soldiers transferred from solitary burial grounds from the southern half of the railway, and from other grave sites in Thailand.
It is touching to see how well these graves are maintained, making the cemetery a 'must visit' for all Brits who come to Thailand.