The Big Blue Bus

Since Bangkok has returned to its normal state, I have been going around the city like a little mad woman doing errands and getting things done. Things that I should have done ages ago, but just never got around to doing it.

Today I went to the telephone office during lunch and was amazed at their efficiency. I usually have this fear of doing any sort of paperwork in Thailand since my preconception is that it takes a long time, is full of unfriendly people, and filled with a long list of forms to fill so I just keep on postponing it.

To my amazement, it took me only ten minutes to get my bills paid and another ten minutes to fill in some forms to change the name of the telephone line to my name. Wow. Amazing. Things are certainly changing for the better.

Then I embarked on getting myself back to the office. Not knowing my way around, I walked out and spent a few minutes looking around. ( I usually lose my sense of direction when I get out of a building and wonder if I have to go left or right. I think it’s the horse in me.)

I saw a bunch of buses parked at the red light and thought to myself, “Let’s try something new today.”

I’ve taken buses everywhere in Europe and in the US, but I’ve never taken a bus by myself in Bangkok. Buses in Thailand are not like those in Brussels or Vienna where they are on time, park nicely at the pavement and wait for you to get off.

Buses in Thailand are big and imposing. You have to climb up the steps to get in while it slowly moves along. It does not stop exactly at the bus stop nor next to the pavement for you to just hop off. Instead, it parks somewhere in the middle of the lane giving you the added risk that a motorcycle or car might just squeeze by while you’re hopping off. I fear falling off the bus in Bangkok and getting lost somewhere. The city is big and sprawling. There are no clear maps nor directions. All there is, is a few key words on a sign informing us of what sites they will pass along the way.

I looked around at the line of 5 buses parked at the red light. The location written on the signs gave me no clue as to whether or not they would pass by my office. I walked up to the bus to ask them, but they were so worried about me walking on the road, they told me to just hop on and get myself off the road. So I did.

I climbed up the stairs and got myself a seat on the blue un-airconditioned bus. (We have many kinds of buses in Thailand, the normal blue unairconditioned bus, the red unairconditioned express bus , the airconditioned bus, the airconditioned minibus, the unairconditioned minibus, and the new european style airconditioned buses with TV.)

Interestingly, the floor is quite high up for some odd reason, so when you sit you feel a little squeezed. There was a nice raised middle portion which had a big cushion on it next to the bus driver, which I suspect must be where the bus conductor sits.

It’s a simple bus with no furnishings..its painted metal with seating. Simple as that. As functional as it could be. No nonsense.

I actually enjoyed the experience, but I think it’s because the ride was a short one and something new for me. One of these days, I’m going to have to try out the new metrobus and see where it takes me.

It’s actually quite liberating to do something unplanned and unexpected 🙂 I should do it more often. Explore the city from a different perspective.

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