20 March 2014

Bangkok is a bitch.

It is.

And I am a fool.

A fool for being lulled into a sense of security and calm after three weeks of no traffic, just to be violently jolted back to reality today. At around 8.45pm.

There I was, cruising along, feeling good about myself for leaving the city centre early to drive home, home being just outside Bangkok. I was thinking how smart I was, heading out early. After all, the roads have been so empty the past few weeks. Leaving 20 minutes early couldn’t possibly land me in the middle of Bangkokian traffic.

Ha.

I turned into the expressway, paid the toll fees, then: TA-DA. Rows of red. Red tail lights everywhere. The sight you dread most when you drive onto the expressway, right before my very eyes. And I had to spot the red just after changing into the slowest-moving lane. How very convenient.

Taking the expressway is like flipping a coin. Either you win, there’s no traffic, and you get home in 40 minutes. Or you lose, like me today, and you get home in anything from one and a half hour to two. It’s a real gamble.

Gosh and now I’m so tired. It appears I’ve used up all my adrenaline quota today.

To be fair, it has been quite an eventful day.

On the drive home alone, I already experienced two adrenaline-pumping events.

The first happened while I was stuck in traffic on the expressway. There I was, moving along. Or, rather, not moving along. All the while, I was thinking something was strange. It wasn’t until I saw flashing blue and red lights on the other side of the expressway that I realised what it was: the expressway in the opposite direction was completely empty. The police had cleared the road. Some minutes later, the motorcade arrived. And I’m betting it was someone really important. Police cars, police motorcycles, unmarked sedans, unmarked vans, moving at a speed so fast it should be illegal, in really loose formation. Unlike any motorcade I’ve seen before (and trust me, living in Bangkok, I’ve seen a few). A motorcade worthy of a Hollywood movie. Adrenaline rush number one.

The second was when I had to brake really fast because there had been an accident and all the cars in front were forced to an abrupt halt. Have you ever felt it? That instant after you’ve braked, just in time, when you’re left completely at the mercy of the car behind you. The split second where you’re half-hoping the driver behind has really good reflexes, half-bracing yourself for impact. Luckily, they did. And I brought my car (and myself) home unscathed.

And now I’m completely out for the count. It’s a wonder I managed to write this far.

Let me give myself a pat on the back.

And go to bed.

Good night!

Val

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