Well, it began raining sometime after midnight and it was still coming down fairly strongly at 6 o’clock when I got up – oh joy, a Bangkok morning in the rain.
When it rains, the taxis are immediately seized with the fierceness of the liberated Soviet peasant seizing the commanding heights of the economy. My tactic is to go and wait close to the school at the end of the road – parents take their kids to school by taxi (some do, anyway) and then get out to take them inside. Then, as I lurk, the taxi approaches a few yards away and I leap in like a gazelle. In my imagination anyway.
However, unless it is my imagination, since the petrol prices have gone up so much, more and more people seem to be sharing taxis and just kick their tiny kids out on the street (OK – one parent will get out but the other will continue elsewhere and there are people outside the school anyway to manage traffic and kids).
The rain makes the situation worse because trips take longer as the traffic instantly snarls up and since 7 in the morning (by which time I was standing like a buffalo on Ladprao Road) is a common time for knocking-off and changing shift, a lot of taxi drivers were just evacuating their passengers and going home. I counted six doing this – unless they had very tiny passengers in the back, which is possible, or invisible people or ghosts (which is obviously not possible).
Now that the Bangkok Governor’s election is in full swing, large wooden boards advertising one or other candidate have started to be attached to every vertical object along the streets – lamp posts, telephone boxes, stationary dogs – which makes for a colourful spectacle when driving along but almost impossible to see what is coming from the pavement. Consequently, I had to peer around a board (number five, Apirak, I think) in order to keep an eye on potential taxi-white knights and that left me vulnerable to the drivers who think (or more likely do not think at all, ever) it is a good idea to drive at high speed close to the pavement and soak everyone and everything within several feet of the road.
So, by the time I arrived – and to skip over the anarchic who was here first mind battles that must also be fought – I was soaking wet, covered in mud and in no real mood to do any work.
To arrive at work in Bangkok in a good mood needs the patience of a Bodhisattva. Any of the candidates actually have any idea how to improve the situation? I mean, really?