September 29, 2012

Much ado about safety

This is how the streets of Bangkok seem to always be able to blow my mind:
What am I getting at, you ask? 
Well…this essentially is a very small soi of a rather busy street. Just like a typical Bangkok street, it is a soi where a few street vendors loom amidst walking pedestrians and moving traffic at about 50 km p/hour. It is also the soi in which I walk every day, at least 2x a day to send my daughter to school. The distance between me, the vendor on my left and the traffic on my right is probably just a couple of inches away.
The truth is, I hate walking along this soi in the day. There, halfway to Spud’s school, stood a vendor who thought that it probably is a good idea to set up stall right on the tiny footpath meant for pedestrians and in front of on-going traffic to sell his fried banana and tapioca balls. Not only that, I am sure that he probably also thought that it is a very good idea to place a wok, filled with extremely hot oil for deep frying. He hardly ever stopped frying, and unfortunately for pedestrians like me, there is no other way but to walk right in front of his mobile cart every single day. It is terrible to be walking there when some other moron decided that they were going to be parking their huge ass pick-up truck right next to the mobile cart with its butt jutting into the street, and especially when it rains!
I shudder every morning I walk there whilst I have Spud strapped to me. I shudder at the thought of any unfortunate accident that might happen to anyone trying to maneuver away from the moving traffic that tend to have no qualms cutting corners and act like they own the road. My heart palpitates each time I walk past his sizzling hot-oil filled wok. (Ok… I am also a paranoid freak when it comes to roads and moving traffic)
I’m sure that the fried banana man is a nice guy and all – he almost always never fail to flash me a smile and acknowledges Spud whenever we walk past him; but, really, his sheer disregard for public safety is appalling. 
And, because this is Thailand, there really is nothing much you can do about it but just grit your teeth and rant.
Here’s a link I found sometime back on 12 Ways To Seriously Injure Yourself on a Bangkok Sidewalk. I think there certainly is room for plenty more examples!

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