Just thought I’d amend my statement from the other day:
NOBODY WALKS IN THAILAND –> THAIS GENERALLY AVOID WALKING AT ALL COST
Because, obviously, I am in Thailand, and I am walking.
Also, the only other guy I saw walking on my way home today was an illegal Shan.
I usually walk home from my university’s (Rajabhat Mahasarakham University) campus through another university’s (Maha Sarakham University) secondary campus, and then down a four lane highway to the entrance of our community. People offer me rides all the time, even if they don’t know me. They stop to ask what’s wrong. As in, did my car break down or something? And do I need a lift to the garage? This can be attributed to:
- The fact that Thai people are really nice
- Quite a few people that know me are driving the streets (although most of the people that stop don’t know me)
- When Thais see somebody walking on the side of the road, they automatically think something is wrong
Your ride is a status symbol in any vertical society, but especially so in Thailand. The social pecking order (not related to right of way, et al.) goes something like this:
People in new or VIP cars –> people in new 4 door pickups –> people in new 2 door pickups or new non-VIP cars –> people in classic cars –> people in old (>3 years approx.) cars –> people on motorbikes –> truckers –> people using public transportation –> people on motorized farm vehicles made by Kubota –> people on motorized farm vehicles, non-Kubota –> people riding donkey pushcarts pulled by water buffalo –> people riding in imaginary sidecars –> bicyclists –> skaters –> and finally, the lowly pedestrians who have somehow reverted to bipedal locomotion.
For me to willingly go from the top of that list to the bottom (many car people think I maintain the best ride in town – my wife’s Cefiro A33 Brougham with VQ30, plus my car, the ’71 Crown) and hoof it in the hot sun is simply incomprehensible to the natives. Some people at work were apparently asking why I was walking home the other day, even though I had already explained I just wanted to walk for the exercise. I must make it clear to them I guess: I AM THE WALKING DUDE.
Maybe I should change into running clothes and a sweatband before I start walking every day. Maybe it’s not so wrong to think that there’s something strange about a fat guy in semi-formal attire sweating to death on the side of the road.